Baseline Season Preview: Too Early Predictions Last 5-on-5 we asked our running mates some questions about the teams they cover. Let’s broaden that scope and see how they feel about how the 13-14 season will pan out. 1.We realize the NBA season is a marathon, but who MUST get out to a fast start to be taken seriously as a title/playoff contender this season? Blaza, KnicksNow.com: Indy. They play in arguably the toughest division in the Association (Central) and will have to keep pace with the loaded Cavs and Pistons who have started off red hot in league play. The Pacers roster is extremely talented, but extra games versus Rose, Jennings, and Irving will mean that they MUST win their out of division games to stay in the race. Dru50, ClipsNation.com: I'd have to go with the Pacers, the talent is there but can the new coaching staff mold them together and take advantage of the rosters defensive strength in a loaded Eastern Conference. Paul George and Roy Hibbert are a great 1-2 punch, but does David West have another season in the tank and can the new additions of Chris Copeland and Luis Scola put them over the top in the division when they'll have to deal with a revamped Pistons team, the up and coming Cavs and the Bulls returning a former MVP? sonn, GoldenStateOfMind.com: I'm going to stay close to home on this one. After the success of last season the expectations will be great for the young Warriors and getting off to a quick start will go a long ways to settling the nerves of both the players and fanbase. Someone on the team will have to step up and take up leadership void with Jarret Jack's departure in the offseason; whether that is a returning player like Stephen Curry or a newcomer like Iguodala remains to be see. JrRawlins, DetroitBadBoys.com: The East Winner. Specifically the winner of the central will need to get out to a very fast start. The return of Rose the Bulls are the favorite. The Cavs are the young guns looking to take over while the Pacers have all the talent needed to make a deep run. JFace907, FearTheSword.com: The Indiana Pacers. They really rounded out their roster and come into the season already pretty confident after taking the Heat to the brink for the second straight year. However, this season the Central is loaded with the Pistons, Cavs, and Bulls all ready to strike. Don’t sleep on the Bucks either. The Pacers MUST get out to a fast start to get a head start on their division foes. 2. We all know LBJ, KD35, Melo and D-Rose will all be in the MVP conversation, but give me a darkhorse that could possibly take home the award this year. Blaza: In the Western division, I'm gonna go with Blake Griffin. Coach Dru is not usually known for a post play style, instead opting for a more wing oriented up tempo style. Luckily for him, BG is not really a post player (yet) and will thrive on faceups and slashing plays. Griffin is a monster in transition and has arguably the best point guard in the game in CP3. Griffin can also work the glass and should average mid 20s with double digit rebounds. Out East, I'm going to mention Andrea Bargani. Not because I necessarily think he will be MVP of the league. But I think he could have a major impact on the way the Pistons play ball. Its no secret that Coach JR likes to spread the floor, and with Bargs he now has a 7 foot matchup nightmare who can hit any shot on the floor. Bargs excels at the Euro style basketball that JR enjoys and can pass the ball very well for his size. Look for Bargani to get work at the 3-5 positions and open up the floor for Drummond and Monroe on the block. Dru: I'm gonna give you two guys from outside my backyard, one from each conference. In the West watch out for Steph Curry, he showed in the playoffs that he has the big game chops to show up when it counts, the only question there is can he stay healthy again? In the East, I think Kyrie Irving in Cleveland makes the "jump" this year. He's got young talent around him, and Andrew Bynum looks like he had bionic legs reattached and might channel his form from his last season in Los Angeles. Sonn: James Harden is my pick to win MVP. He was great last year in his first season as the number one option and the arrival of Dwight Howard will only make things easier. Sam Presti and the Thunder will rue the day they traded Harden who's on his way to becoming the next superstar in the League. In the East I think Melo has the best chance to pickup up the honours (fuck you Raj). His size and shooting make him an extremely difficult guard and the coaching staff in New York know how to get the best production Anthony. Jr: A darkhorse for MVP this year... Monta Ellis... If Coach Ryan can get the Mavs to the playoffs it will be on the back of Monta... a couple of honorable mentions.... Ty Lawson and Steph Curry. Especially watch Curry, he could really be a problem. JFace : Paul George. The straw that stirs the drink in Indiana. He literally had a growth spurt coming into last season which also turned into a growth spurt in his game. I’m thinking he continues to grow (hopefully just his game this time), becomes a true leader, and really develops into an elite scorer AND defender. 3. Seed em for me. Who are your 8 playoff teams in each conference right now before we even play a single minute of regular season ball? Blaza: Eastern Conference 1. Cavs 2. Pistons 3. Knicks 4. Bulls 5. Nets 6. Bucks 7. Pacers 8. Magic Western Conference 1. Clippers 2. Thunder 3. Warriors 4. Nuggets 5. Kings 6. Rockets 7. Blazers 8. Spurs Dru: Eastern Conference 1. New York 2. Cleveland 3. Detroit 4. Miami 5. Chicago 6. Indiana 7. Brooklyn 8. Boston Western Conference 1. Golden St Warriors 2. Oklahoma City Thunder 3. San Antonio Spurs 4. Houston Rockets 5. Portland Trail Blazers 6. Dallas Mavericks 7. Los Angeles Lakers 8. Sacramento Kings Sonn: Eastern Conference 1. New York Knicks 2. Cleveland Cavaliers 3. Detroit Pistons 4. Miami Heat 5. Indiana Pacers 6. Brooklyn Nets 7. Chicago Bulls 8. Toronto Raptors Western Conference 1. Houston Rockets 2. Golden St Warriors 3. Oklahoma City Thunder 4. Los Angeles Lakers 5. Portland Trail Blazers 6. Minnesota Timberwolves 7. San Antonio Spurs 8. Sacramento Kings Jr: Eastern Conference 1. New York Knicks 2. Miami Heat 3. Cleveland Cavaliers 4. Toronto Raptors 5. Detroit Pistons 6. Chicago Bulls 7. Indiana Pacers 8. Orlando Magic Western Conference 1. Golden St Warriors 2. LA Clippers 3. San Antonio Spurs 4. Portland Trail Blazers 5. Sacramento Kings 6. Dallas Mavericks 7. Houston Rockets 8. Oklahoma Thunder JFace: Eastern Conference 1. New York Knicks 2. Miami Heat 3. Indiana Pacers 4. Detroit Pistons 5. Cleveland Cavaliers 6. Brooklyn Nets 7. Chicago Bulls 8. Milwaukee Bucks Western Conference 1. Golden State Warriors 2. Houston Rockets 3. OKC Thunder 4. LA Clippers 5. Portland Trail Blazers 6. Sacramento Kings 7. Denver Nuggets 8. Dallas Mavericks 4. You all know this question has to be asked, but is this LeBron James last season in Miami? Blaza: LeBron stays in Miami. As coaches get their hands wet to start the season, I see Miami winning quite a few games this season. The Heat won’t win the title, but they will have a solid season James has built a small (ok, large) empire on South Beach. He will re-up with the Heat and retire into the Miami Sunset. Dru: Yes. Contrary to what he is saying, I think LeBron has already decided that he is going to opt out of his contract and look for greener pastures. This will lead to epic attempts to clear cap space in several cities. Sonn: Sorry everyone, but there won’t be a Decision Part 2 and LeBron will stay in Miami. However, one of the big 3 will be moving on after this season. I predict Dwayne Wade will head north to finish his career in Chicago. Jr: No it isn’t…He will retire with the Heat…No elite player really wants to play for more than two teams. Typically they like to play for 1, but 2 is still acceptable. JFace : This is his last year in……………..his current contract. LBJ is in fact opting out, but he will only re-up for another 3 to 4 guaranteed years in Miami. It pains me to say that as I personally would love to see Kyrie and LBJ play together, but that’s only gonna happen in the summer of 2016 in Rio. Sorry fellow Cavs fans. 5.You’ve seeded them, now tell me who’s winning the Finals, who are they going against, who did they beat in the CF to get there, and how many games are the Finals going? Blaza: In the East, I've got the Pistons taking care of the Cavs in 7. In the Western conference finals, I'm taking Nuggets over the Clippers in 6. In the finals I see Detroit taking out the Nuggets in 7. Dru: In the Eastern conference I'm picking New York to beat Cleveland in the conference finals, and then win the title against the Golden St Warriors in a series that will shatter the record for 3 pt attempts. I'll take the Knickerbockers in 6. Sonn: Clippers beat the Warriors in 6 and in the east Detroit wins in 7 over New York. The Pistons will bring happiness to a city that badly needs a pick me up and brings the Larry O'Brien trophy to the Motor City. Jr: In the East, The Knicks will beat the Pistons in 7 games. In the West, the Clippers will beat the Blazers and in the Finals, the Knicks will beat the Clippers in 6 games. JFace: Out East its going to be an epic struggle between the two New York teams where the Knicks will move on to play the winner of an all California WCF in the Clippers vs the Warriors. The Knicks will bring the Larry O’Brien trophy back to MSG and Melo takes home Finals MVP. That’s a wrap for this edition of 5-On-5.