Question of the day: If there is a season, who's going to win next year's NBA title?
Writers from around the Tribune Co. discuss the topic following the Dallas Mavericks' victory over the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals. Check back throughout the day for more responses and feel free to weigh in with a comment of your own.
Broderick Turner, Los Angeles Times
It would be easy to say that the Miami Heat, loser of the 2011 NBA Finals to the Dallas Mavericks, will be the favorite to win the 2012 title.
It would be easy to say that the Mavericks will repeat as NBA champions because they now have the know-how.
But in reality, it will be a wide-open race for the championship.
The Heat, if it can get over losing in the Finals and over the disappearance of LeBron James, will be among the favorites.
The Lakers, despite losing retired coach Phil Jackson, still have a chance at winning it again.
The Oklahoma City Thunder gained experience from losing in the Western Conference finals, and will be a force again if Russell Westbrook improves his point-guard mentality and gets past the criticism.
The Chicago Bulls, with MVP point guard Derrick Rose, will be tough again if they can acquire a better shooting guard.
The Orlando Magic, Boston Celtics and of course the Mavericks all will be in the mix.
So, that’s why it will be a wide-open, fun race to the title next season.
Whether the season is 82 games, 50 like the last lockout-shortened season or less, the Miami Heat will win the 2011-12 NBA championship.
Rarely has such a successful team been so scrutinized and criticized. Of course, the Heat brought some of that vile on themselves with their championship celebration before the 2010-11 preseason started.
But think about it: The Heat came within two victories of an NBA title in their first season together after landing James and Chris Bosh in free agency. James and Dwyane Wade will figure out how to play better together. Erik Spoelstra will continue to demand them to defend. And Udonis Haslem will be healthy.
James and Wade are too talented not to win a title together and certainly will be motivated by failure. If you can call winning 58 games and an Eastern Conference championship that.
Photo: Oklahoma City guard Russell Westbrook makes a pass during a playoff game against the Memphis Grizzlies on May 1. Credit: Mark D. Smith / U.S. Presswire