Sports Illustrated's annual NBA season preview issue is here, with four different covers to help tip off the 2013-14 campaign.
This year's national cover bears the headline "The New Tower Of Power" and features Dwight Howard in practice gear, flanked by Rockets coach Kevin McHale and the franchise's legendary center, Hakeem Olajuwon. After leaving Los Angeles to sign with Houston as a free-agent this summer, Howard has been tutored by the two Hall of Famers. Senior writer Lee Jenkins explores that budding relationship and its potential impact on the Western Conference hierarchy.
Supplementing the national cover are three additional regional covers that feature: 1) Bulls guard Derrick Rose, 2) Warriors guard Stephen Curry, and 3) first-year Nets coach Jason Kidd, who is surrounded by his starting lineup.
Rose is pictured in Chicago's red road uniform as he's about to take flight, next to the headline, "The Joint's Going To Be Jumping." Staff writer Jenny Vrentas documents Rose's comeback from an ACL injury that cost him the entire 2012-13 season, and offers a hint of what fans can expect from the 2011 MVP now that he's back on the court.
Curry is shown in Golden State's blue road uniforms as he passes a basketball under the tagline "The New Showtime." Senior writer Chris Ballard gauges the Warriors' title chances aftar a great run through the 2013 playoffs, exploring why Golden State is one of the most fun teams to watch in the league:
“If (Klay) Thompson is a classic NBA type, Curry is an outlier. While many stars are considered blueprints for the next generation—seven-footers who shoot threes, linebacker- sized point forwards—Curry is a throwback. No GM would scour the college ranks for slight, 6' 3" guards who fit the “Curry model,” because there are none. You could call him a small, scoring, hybrid point guard, but that’s not accurate. What he really is the best long-range shooter in NBA history.”
Kidd, dressed in a black suit and tie, appears in the center of the cover with Brook Lopez, Deron Williams, Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Joe Johnson posing from left to right in their home white uniforms. The headline reads: "Brooklyn's New Look Nets: Who Wants a Piece of Them?" Staff writer Chris Mannix puts Brooklyn's upgraded roster -- and its $100+ million payroll -- under the microscope.
In addition to those four stories, this year's season preview issue also includes scouting reports for all 30 NBA teams.
Larger images of each cover can be viewed in the gallery below.