The online sports book experts did not have to make that much of a stretch to predict that the Miami Heat and San Antonio Spurs would meet in the NBA finals this season. But it is also not much of a stretch to say that there are several other teams in the NBA that will be pressuring the Heat and Spurs next season. The teams that had high expectations in 2012-13 will appear on the betting sites in this offseason as favorites to shake things up in 2013-14.
The fact that the Pacers put a huge scare into the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference finals is not a fluke. Indiana has been building up to becoming a contender for the last few years. Now it looks like the Pacers have the roster and the experience they need to be even stronger in 2013-14. It is not a huge stretch so say that the Eastern Conference could look very different next season with the Indiana Pacers at the top of the standings all season long and going deep into the playoffs.
Oklahoma City Thunder
The sports betting sites never really considered what would happen to the Thunder if Russell Westbrook or Kevin Durant was injured. When Westbrook was hurt in the playoffs and knocked out of the competition, the Thunder fell like a stone. It was a wakeup call to Oklahoma City that it needs that third piece to become a legitimate championship contender. The fate of the Thunder will depend on what player the team gets to fill in that missing piece.
There is a lot of speculation around the Atlanta Hawks for next season and much of it is good. If the online betting sites are correct, then the Hawks could have Chris Paul and Dwight Howard next season. When you add a motivated Howard and the talented Paul to the young core the team already has, then you have a very strong team. Even if Atlanta does not pull in both Paul and Howard, there are still plenty of moves the team can make which will improve its fortunes next season.
Anyone who was surprised by the success of the Denver Nuggets last season has not been paying attention to what the team has been doing for the past few years. The Nuggets made the playoffs last season after an extremely strong regular season. But it was the lack of a big man in the middle and the experience needed to win in pressure situations that held Denver back when it really counted. The Nuggets have the experience now and it is up to the team to bring in that big man which will help the Nuggets to move to the top of the ladder in a very crowded Western Conference.
Read more about the coming season in the NBA and the teams that are primed to compete for a title.