At last, the long wait is just about over, as the NBA’s regular season tips off Oct. 28 with three games on the schedule.
For those of you who haven’t had your fantasy draft — and even the many of you who have — here is a rundown of all the latest happenings around the league that you need to know.
We also zero in on the big fantasy targets on all 30 teams — factoring in average draft position as of Oct. 22, breakout potential and injury history — to come up with our safest bets, biggest risks and best values for this season.
The Heat won their first NBA title with the Big 3 last season and while they have the best odds to win it again the new-look Lakers will be in the mix as well as the young Thunder, who lost in the finals last season. Let’s take a look at some of the teams that have good odds to win the title this season.
The Heat (3.25) won it all last season and it is no shock they will still be led by the Big 3 of James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh they may be a better team then they were last season. Yeah, the Heat do not have legit big man or point guard, but they picked up a couple of solid free agents in Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis. Both of these guys can knock down the long ball, which will space the floor for LeBron and company and each took less money to come to South Beach. Udonis Haslem does the dirty work and is key play this season. He missed a lot of time this season and the Heat need to stay healthy, as they are not a deep squad.
The Lakers (4.33) had a busy off-season gearing up for another title run by trading for Dwight Howard and Steve Nash. Howard is the newest member of a long list of L.A. great big men and Nash gives Kobe Bryant a solid PG, which they have not had in many years. Pau Gasol stayed with the team and they made a solid off-season move picking up Antwawn Jamison. He had Jodie Meeks will be solid bench players and they need to play well since the Lakers do not have a lot of depth. The Lakers are not a young team and they need to impress Howard this season, who is in the last year of his current contract.
The Thunder (5.50) won the West last season and have a great young trio in Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, and James Harden. Serge Ibaka is a great defender and Kendrick Perkins is the muscle in the middle. Perry Jones III fell to them with the 28th pick in the draft and he may be a steal. The Thunder will not look much different than last season, but they will now be facing a tougher Lakers’ team in the West.
After the Heat, Lakers, and Thunder oddsmakers have all the other teams as long shots to win the title.
The Bulls (17.00) have a solid core of players with Derrick Rose, Luol Deng, and Joakim Noah. The big question for the Bulls is when will Rose come back. He tore his ACL in the playoffs last season and he needs to be on the floor and playing at a high level for the Bulls to have any chance to come out of the East.
Do the Spurs (21.00) have one more title run in them? Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili, and Tony Parker are no spring chickens any longer, but they did have a great year last season. Stephen Jackson was solid mid-season pick up last year and Kawhi Leonard had a solid rookie campaign, but the Spurs will only go as far as their big 3 takes them.
The Clippers (29.00) made the playoffs last season and Chris Paul and Blake Griffin will be joined by solid pickup Lamar Odom, who may get back to being a great 6th man after last season’s disaster in Dallas. They also picked up Grant Hill and Jamal Crawford, but they are not a good team on D and that will hurt facing the Lakers and the Thunder, who they will likely have to get by to make the finals.
Like the Spurs do the Celtics (29.00) have another title run in them? They lost one of their Big 3 with Ray Allen bolting for Miami, but Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett will have a lot of new talent with the likes of Jason Terry and rookies Fab Melo and Jared Sullinger. Jeff Green will also be back after missing last season with a heart condition.
The Mavs’s (34.00) window may have closed and while Dirk Nowitzki is still a star the team lost super 6th man Jason Terry. The Mavs will have a new look with the additions of O.J. Mayo, Chris Kaman, Darren Collison and Elton Brand. Jason Kidd bolted for New York and the new guys will have to step up and Dirk will have to have a MVP campaign for Dallas to go all the way.