IT's that time again - The NBA is BACK
this time it’s more difficult than ever to predict how things will turn out.
IT'S BACK BABY!
It’s that time again. The NBA is back. Finally!
Last night the 76th season in league history has begun, celebrating the 75th birthday of the National Basketball Association. And this time it’s more difficult than ever to predict how things will turn out.
This LA squad almost looks like an NBA retirement home, but the biggest questions surround the on-court chemistry. The balance in this roster is difficult to find.
THE WESTERN CONFERENCE
OLYMPIC DONCIC WARNED THE WEST
Especially in a Western Conference where injuries already have taken their toll on a lot of teams. The Clippers will be without Kawhi Leonard, the Nuggets without Jamal Murray, the Warriors will be missing Klay Thompson at least until Christmas and Zion Williamson is still recovering from surgery on his foot. So who do the Lakers have to fear in the first months of this regular season, in their chase for a top spot? First of all, there’s Utah. The number one team in the entire NBA last season and desperate to make up for their playoff failures.
Donovan Mitchell and Defensive Player of the Year Rudy Gobert still lead the way and if they ever really want to compete for a title, this has to be their year. There’s Phoenix, the defending Western Conference Champion. They run it back with the same team and should be better, having the experience from going to the NBA Finals the past season. And of course, you can never rule out Luka Doncic. He almost single-handedly led Slovenia to the Olympic final in Tokyo and looks sharper than ever. The NBA should be warned.
THE EASTERN CONFERENCE
ALL EYES ON THE NETS?
In the East all eyes are on the Nets. And that makes things really comfortable for the defending champions Milwaukee Bucks. Nobody really expects them to go back-to-back, but winning a championship often does really good things to a team. Giannis Antetokounmpo seems to have found something extra in his already mind-blowing game and Jrue Holiday and Khris Middleton added an Olympic gold medal to their NBA chip. Don’t be surprised when this team blows everybody out the arena.
The number 1 in the East after the regular season last year, the Philadelphia 76ers, are still strong on paper, but they have the Ben Simmons drama. After his no-show against Atlanta in the playoffs last year, he got fed up with the Sixers and decided he never wanted to play for the team again. But now he’s back, being totally uncommitted, according to reports, and thus being a real distraction for everybody. His saga has the chance to hang over Philly as a dark cloud and impact what type of success they will be able to have. Don’t expect him to finish the season as a Sixer.
THE BATTLE IN THE EAST
For Atlanta things looks way sunnier. They surprised everybody last year and made it all the way to the Eastern Conference Finals. They still have a very deep roster and with Trae Young emerging as a real superstar and John Collins as an awesome second banana, the Hawks could keep going on that momentum and thrive. The Bulls have tried to shake things up and now they have an interesting line-up with Zach LaVine, DeMar DeRozan, Nikola Vucevic and Lonzo Ball. But whether that will work is something entirely different. The Celtics have a new head coach, but the same lead characters and the Heat added Kyle Lowry to their culture. The battle in the East looks to become more interesting than ever. And it seems they have caught up to their foes in the West.
What else do you really need to watch?
Cade Cunningham (Detroit), Jalen Green (Houston), Evan Mobley (Cleveland) and Jalen Suggs (Orlando) are the biggest names, but this draft class could be one of the most talented we’ve ever seen. They’re not going to be winning a lot of games from the start, but their potential and style of play makes it a must-see in the first months of the season.
The bad teams are going to be fun to watch. No, Detroit, Cleveland, Orlando and Houston won’t be competing this upcoming campaign, but they will be really interesting and entertaining as hell.
Keep an eye on the Knicks
Can the New York Knicks do even better? They were the biggest surprise last season, finishing fourth in the East. Now they tried to improve their roster, adding the likes of Kemba Walker and Evan Fournier. Was it a fluke season or will the Garden be rocking again?
LaMelooooooo! The League Pass darling and Rookie of the Year last year. Will he be having that known sophomore slump or is LaMelo the real deal? Anyway, it’s always must-watch. Jason Williams 2.0.
Point Zion. If Zion Williamson recovers from his injury, the Pelicans can go even further with the Point Zion experiment. Rookie Head Coach Willie Green will give the former number one pick the green light and everything New Orleans does has to be centered around him. IF he get’s healthy..
Are the Spurs still the standard? What will Greg Popovich do with the worst team he has had since 1997? The legendary coach just led Team USA to the gold medal in Tokyo, but may have the biggest challenge of his career, leading this squad.
What kind of Warriors will we see? Stephen Curry had a season for the ages last year, but his team just wasn’t good enough. Now they have two lottery picks in Jonathan Kuminga and Moses Moody and they hope to get more out of former number two overall pick James Wiseman. But a lot more depends on Klay Thompson. When will he really come back? And what version of Klay will we get? It may determine everything for Golden State this season.
A lot of topics, a lot of interesting things to watch and to consider.
But the main thing is that the most beautiful competition of the world is back!
And this time, it’s anyones game!