You know the regular season is upon us when the TNT crew starts sharing their thoughts on who is primed to succeed and what teams will be most relevant in the upcoming season. Charles Barkley, Shaquille O’Neal, Steve Kerr and others had plenty to say about a number of topics with USA Today, and that’s where we’ll kick things off in today’s blog.
Story of the day:
Which team is good enough to take on the Heat this season? Barkley shared his thoughts on the matter with Sam Amick of USA Today:
“There’s a very short list of teams that can actually win the championship. I think Brooklyn is interesting. You have to wonder how much Paul (Pierce) and Kevin (Garnett) have left in the tank. I think that’s going to be a great story line to watch. I think the Pacers — the Pacers are legit. The Pacers are flat out legit. I think you’ve got to figure out how well (Oklahoma City Thunder point guard Russell) Westbrook is going to come back to see what Oklahoma City has. But I think the big question marks — what we’re talking about — to me is going to go down to the Dwight (Howard) story, which is fascinating, but the big key to me is going to be the Blake Griffin/DeAndre Jordan (story line) and how they got better as players. (The Clippers have) all the other pieces, they just don’t have inside guys who can get their own shots and dominate. That’s all they’re missing.”
Perhaps not too surprisingly, Kerr is going with the Chicago Bulls as the favorites to overthrow the Heat. Here is his logic:
Kerr: ”It kind of feels like it’s all teed up for this to be (the Bulls’) year, with Derrick (Rose) coming back (from the ACL tear that kept him out all last season) and then they’ve got Luol Deng in the last year of his deal. (With) he and Jimmy Butler on the wings, you have two guys who can really guard. Guarding (Miami’s Dwyane) Wade and LeBron (James), you’ve got to have a couple of good defenders, and the Bulls definitely do. And they’ve just always given Miami trouble, just with their style of play.”