Basketball is back folks!
It seems hard to believe being that the World Series hasn’t even begun yet and we’re only a third of the way through the NFL season. As much shock as we may have over the myriad of injuries in the NFL and MLB’s Houston Astros inching closer toward their first potential championship, the NBA is even more of a frenzy to make sense of.
Literally every NBA team has a different roster this year outside of the Golden State Warriors, a team that every other franchise is maneuvering to take down. Remember the LeBron and Kyrie years? Well, those no longer exist. How about the Chris Paul to Blake Griffin lob city connection? Yeah, that’s over with too. How about the upstart Jazz with star forward Gordon Hayward? Yep, he’s no longer there. Melo’s left New York for OKC and Paul George is there too. Dwayne Wade skipped his hometown in Chicago to see what’s going on in Cleveland, while Isaiah Thomas somehow ended up on the doorstep as well. All of a sudden, the western conference is stacked and there’s a maximum of three teams competing against each other in the east. Even that may be an overstatement.
As tip-off gets underway on Tuesday, not only are there some juicy match-ups on hand to kickstart the season, but it’ll be fascinating to see which new rivalries form over the course of 82-games. To get things started, LeBron and Kyrie will go at it in the very first game as Boston travels to Cleveland for what’s sure to be a drama filled 48-minutes. Shortly after, Golden State will host Houston in a game which features new point guard Chris Paul for the Rockets. Had the NBA known that Carmelo Anthony would be part of the Oklahoma City Thunder, we’re positive that the Rockets wouldn’t be facing the Warriors in the season opener.
The Boston Celtics and Oklahoma City Thunder are perhaps the most improved teams from last year. We look for both of them to not only make the playoffs, but potentially knock off one of the ‘big dogs.’ The Los Angeles Lakers are the upstart darlings to watch as they now employ the services of slick rookie Lonzo Ball, but we encourage everyone to pay attention to what’s going on in Philly as Ben Simmons will finally step on the court after missing all of last season. For all intents and purposes, he’s still a rookie too. Andrew Wiggins and Karl-Anthony Towns look like they have a good thing going in Minnesota and we expect them to build off of last season. While Lonzo may be the brand name player, it’ll be interesting to see rookie De’Aaron Fox set a new path for the Sacramento Kings. The dark horse team that everyone may have forgotten in all of the offseason hype is Milwaukee. The Bucks feature a stout front with Giannis Antetokounmpo and Jabari Parker, backed by Greg Monroe and Thon Maker.
While the Golden State Warriors may not have made any splashy moves during the offseason, the development of Patrick McCaw and addition of rookie Jordan Bell provide more depth than most people think. Forward Omri Casspi is a player that many haven’t even heard of, but he’s a deadly scorer that can spell Klay Thompson and contribute to the second team. With a shifting tide in the NBA, the Warriors will certainly need to keep one eye open while sleeping in order to continue their excellence.
All in all, this NBA season is going to be as exciting as we’ve seen in years. Let’s hope for good health all around and the formation of new, fierce rivalries.