By Jamaal Greenwood
Dallas Mavericks: Beginning the season without Dirk Nowitzki is a foreign concept to the Mavericks, but they started the season on a high note with a key win over the Los Angeles Lakers. The Mavericks made a bundle of acquisitions during the offseason with key additions in guards O.J. Mayo and Darren Collison and forward Elton Brand. The Mavericks will always be top competitors due to owner Mark Cuban, so expect nothing less this year.
Denver Nuggets: The Denver Nuggets started the season off on the wrong foot with a loss to the Philadelphia 76ers, 84-75. They have a lot of new talent on the floor with the addition of all-star forward Andre Iguodala and drafting of college standout Quincy Miller. With these two key additions in the fold, the team will still be led by point guard Ty Lawson. In the season opener, Lawson led the team with 16 points and seven assists.
Oklahoma City Thunder: The Thunder have developed a reputation as one of the best teams in the league, and they will be a force to be reckoned with again this season. They have two all-star talents in forward and reigning scoring champion Kevin Durant, and point guard Russell Westbrook. They have a strong frontcourt in Serge Ibaka and Kendrick Perkins, so look for the Thunder to make another strong push for a championship ring. They suffered a key loss with James Harden being dealt to the Houston Rockets, but they have several promising rookies in guard Jeremy Lamb and forward Perry Jones.
Los Angeles Clippers: The city of Los Angeles has high expectations for their NBA teams. The Clippers are one of the most exciting teams in the league due to the high flying talents of forward Blake Griffin and center DeAndre Jordan. Also, they possess one of the best point guards in the NBA behind the scoring and spectacular passing of Chris Paul. With a strong supporting cast in Lamar Odom, Caron Butler, and Eric Bledsoe, the Clippers will be a team to watch out for in the west.
Los Angeles Lakers: Expectations are even higher than usual surrounding the Lakers organization with the acquisition of powerhouse center Dwight Howard. He is a dominant and physical force in the paint while forward Pau Gasol is more agile and elusive. With these two in the frontcourt, the Lakers will be a force. In the past, they have been criticized for their weakness at the point guard position, so this offseason, they picked up veteran Steve Nash to lead them. With the scoring talents and closing skills of Kobe Bryant, the Lakers are poised for a deep playoff push.
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