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Post All-Star Break NBA Season Preview, Storylines and Guide

February 19th, 2014

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1. Can Kevin Durant win an MVP over LeBron?
LeBron has finished #1 in ESPN’s PER ratings for seven straight years. Apart from how dominant that is, what’s even more outrageous is the player finally making a run at overtaking him is a SG/SF in Durant. “KD” is currently #1 right now, two whole points over James. Point being: Durant is the likely MVP if the season were to end right now. It’s an interesting storyline if anything because LeBron hasn’t had a true nemesis to elevate his game  — this could be it.

2. Are the Pacers for real? 
Indiana has the #1 record in the entire NBA. And it isn’t close. But they’re still surprisingly under the radar. The reason for that is obvious: they have the two-time defending champs in their way in the East in Miami. But, Larry Bird and the Pacers have been stockpiling talent in the same way that Miami did when they picked up Bosh and LeBron three years ago. And as we all remember, Indiana took Miami to seven games just 9 months ago in the Eastern Conference Finals. The caveat? This year, that seventh game against Miami will hypothetically be on Indiana’s home floor. 

3. Will the league’s two best players face off in the Finals?
Yup, we’re talking about Durant and LeBron again. OKC currently occupies the top spot in the West, and that’s without Russell Westbrook. All signs point to the Thunder heading back to the Finals (they lost to Miami in 2012), and unless Indiana can keep it from happening: we’ll be looking at a marquee match up between James and KD. If LeBron ever needed some motivation, here it is.

4. Post All-Star MVP, where is Kyrie Irving’s career headed?
Irving came into the league looking like the next Iverson/Marbury — a combo guard that can score at will on just about everyone. It was assumed he would figure the “team” part of basketball out sooner or later, but the “later” part is starting to show up and doubts are setting in. Irving was just crowned the All-Star Game MVP after an incredible performance against the league’s best, but if anything that only solidified his critics’ opinion that he’s too worried about himself and his “brand.” One of the brighter young basketball stars in the world, it will be interesting to see if Kyrie can start turning his statistics into wins.

5. Can the Clippers make something happen, finally?
A quick look at the NBA’s stats leaders shows no less than three of six of the top stats categories in the league dominated by Clippers. DeAndre Jordan leads the league in rebounds and field goal %, and Chris Paul is #1 in assists (and just a hair outside the leader for steals). The Clippers will likely pull another top four seed in the loaded Western Conference, but the jury is still out on wins and team success. Chris Paul has still never passed the second round of the NBA playoffs, and the clock is ticking on the world’s best point guard.

is a Sports and News Blogger for Dish Network and multiple sports blogs. Follow him on Twitter @TheAlecLepage

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