Sorry if you hate me now (well not that sorry)
The NBA is suddenly in a state of transition.
Three teams that dominated the past decade for the Western Conference (Lakers, Spurs, Mavericks - these were the only Western conference champions in that span) are aging. The Mavericks probably have the most time, but they were always the least of the three, and are still old with Nowitzki at 32, KIdd at 38, and Terry at 33. Their decline is imminent--I concede that Nowitzki and Chandler (28) may be able to keep this thing going, but they'll need some good role players.
The Eastern Conference is a very different picture. Since 2001 there have been 7 different conference champions. The only teams that appear twice are the Nets, the PIstons, and of course, the Celtics. Of the three, the only team still relevant is the Celtics, and their decline and age is very well documented. I will not belabor the point.
Obviously, we cant ignore the Heat. Lebron is 26, not too old. Not young either, especially considering his early entry into the NBA. Wade is 29. The beating that his body has taken because of his style of play will most likely diminish the length of his career. Time will tell. Bosh is 27. Time is ticking on the Heat, but they are the outlier in my narrative. This is a championship contending team, close enough to their prime, that will be hard to deal with for several years.
The story is this: the old guard is on it's way out, and there is a vacuum of power with several younger teams vying for position. In the west there are the Thunder, the Grizzlies, and the maybe the Nuggets (ok, that's a stretch.) In the east you have the Bulls, certainly, and then maybe the Knicks? I'm unsure here (I realize the Knicks aren't young.) I somehow don't believe the Hawks will ever get over the hump, and Otis Smith has proven incapable of getting quality talent that complements Dwight Howard.
Ok, so this isn't groundbreaking, and maybe you've read it before, but my point is, for a true fan of the NBA, this is a very interesting time.
I cant remember a time when the field was this open. No one really knows what will become of the Bulls or the Thunder, or the Grizzlies, or [insert preferred team], but there are a few teams with really good pieces that will have the opportunity to step into greatness in the wake of these older teams. It takes a combination of talent, coaching, mental toughness, and luck to have a dynasty.
Can any of these teams do it? Will the Heat dominate the 2010s? How many more years will we really have to deal with the Lakers? When will DRose get his first one? Comments.