It’s that time again. The NBA is back. Finally! – Bouncewear

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.

Most people who follow the NBA know who the clear-cut favorites are: Brooklyn and the Los Angeles Lakers. At least, that’s what we all thought. But things have changed a little bit. Especially with the Nets. Kyrie Irving refuses to get vaccinated and that means he’s not allowed to play in his home state (it’s not the NBA who prohibits this, it’s a New York mandate). And because of that the Nets have decided Kyrie will not be part of the team, until he can be fully operational. That means the Big 3 turns into a Big 2, with only Kevin Durant and James Harden. Still really good, but not the unbeatable team the Nets look to be with Kyrie on it. 

The Lakers are star-studded as well, but the more people think about it, the more they seem to be doubting how things will work out, especially after the pre-season. 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. Nevertheless, they still have LeBron James and Anthony Davis and if those guys are healthy, nothing prevents them from helping Russell Westbrook and Carmelo Anthony chase that elusive ring.

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?


The rookies! 

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.


What about golden state?

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!

Dennis is the NBA expert for Bouncewear. From presenting his own X and O's podcast, commentating Belgiums' Euromillions Basketball League games to presenting at Play Sports, he shares his view on all NBA actualities.
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