Game: 2014 NBA Finals
Location: New York City, New York; Houston, Texas
Date: June 2014
Teams: Brooklyn Nets, Houston Rockets
Championship odds for both the Brooklyn Nets and Houston Rockets have changed dramatically since the Miami Heat wrapped up their second title. The Rockets have since acquired superstar center Dwight Howard and the Nets took on half of the Boston Celtic's starting lineup. Combine the new arrivals with the growth both teams have gone through in recent years and you have two sexy picks for a championship matchup.
How Brooklyn gets there
It did not take long for Brooklyn to emerge behind the Knicks as the city's new counterpart. The projected starting lineup of Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Brook Lopez looks like a team that could make an easy deep playoff run in just it's second year in a new city.
How Houston gets there
The biggest question mark for the Rockets will obviously be their biggest offseason acquisition. Will Howard thrive in a new city, a smaller market, and a different offense? Or will he continue to solidify his growing legacy as an immature bust? Only time will tell how the Dwight Howard experience will play out in Houston, but a change of pace with players like James Harden and Chandler Parsons could be just what the big man needs.
Were there ever two teams with so much speculation surrounding their success? The beginning of the playoffs next spring could start would both teams scraping their way in or with both teams dominating and people would feel equally the same. The Nets are either a veteran team or an old team, and the Rockets are either dynamic or way too overly hyped.
A best case scenario with both teams in the Finals though is just that possible despite all of the doubts though. Despite 82 regular season games and a long playoffs, the fates of both teams will still most likely depend on whether they can get past the Heat or Spurs, who look just good enough to make it back to the championship for a rematch.
But say they do overcome their biggest obstacles, whether that be their opponents or themselves, Brooklyn should be the go-to pick. They are the Lakers from last year without the combustibility of the Lakers, with just enough pressure to solidify Brooklyn as a basketball hotbed. Dwight Howard could be standing tall a year from now as a Finals MVP, exorcising countless ghosts of teams spited in the past. But he could just as easily be heading into another offseason, coming just short in the Finals against a more well-rounded team.
Brooklyn in 7