With the first official NBA game eight days away, it is time to get the basketball talk fired up again.
It’s a new year, and the Golden State Warriors will have the tall task to repeat as NBA champions.This is the year where I think every NBA fan will see the decline of LeBron James. With Kyrie Irving out until December, at least, more weight will be put on his back, knees, and legs. While he plays in the weak Eastern Conference, the Cleveland Cavaliers are going to face stiffer competition throughout the entirety of the season.
They won’t Waltz their way through the schedule like they did in the second half last season. Miami, Indiana, Charlotte, Milwaukee, Chicago, Atlanta, Toronto, Boston, Orlando, and Washington are all a bit better. Tristan Thompson and the front office haven’t worked out a deal on a new contract and Kevin Love is slowly working himself back into form after dislocating his shoulder in the first round of the playoffs.
This team still has James, but it also has a lot of problems.
Speaking of problems, Derrick Rose. He suffered a facial fracture a couple of weeks ago, and may not be ready to go on opening night against Cleveland. It’s nothing new here, though. Rose has played in 100 regular season games the past three seasons.
He isn’t the only thing for new head coach Fred Hoiberg to worry about, though. The aging of Pau Gasol is starting to take effect again, and everyone knows Joakim Noah is going to get injured and miss time this season. The Bulls have seven players on their roster who are 30 years or older. Jimmy Butler will have to take another step in his development, and I look for Bobby Portis to start at the power forward at some point in the season. Hoiberg loves offense, so Noah might be moved to the bench in December or January.
The Bulls are not the only team with issues. The Los Angeles Lakers might have some problems brewing, even though no one knows about it yet. With Kobe Bryant back in the fold and Metta World Peace is on the roster, so how soon will it be before either one goes after Roy Hibbert? Also, will Bryant being back, as will Julius Randle, hurt the growth of D’Angelo Russell?
Anthony Davis should have been named MVP last season, in my opinion, but I think he is a lock to win it this year. He does too much on both ends of the floor to not deserve immediate consideration. Again, he will lead a mediocre roster, but will have a new coach in Alvin Gentry, who just won a title with the Warriors.
Speaking of the Warriors, I think they will be the third best team in the Western Conference. The Oklahoma City Thunder gets back Kevin Durant and the San Antonio Spurs signed LaMarcus Aldridge. However, I would like to see which Spurs team will show up on most nights. I still think it’s embarrassing they lost to the Los Angeles Clippers in the first round.
Onto the Clippers. Their owner Steve Ballmer got the team new uniforms this offseason. The new jerseys look stupid.
Speaking of jerseys, how many players will the Minnesota Timberwolves have suited up by the end of the season? Hopefully more than seven. Ricky Rubio returned to action for the first time in seven months. That was also the last time he made a jumpshot. No, I’m being serious.
I expect a lot out of Karl-Anthony Towns, but he is just a rookie. I hope he does well, and I hope he and Andrew Wiggins can become a very good 1-2 punch.
That’s it for now. I should have more later this week.