The opening tip-off of the National Basketball Association regular season is less than two weeks away already.
On Tuesday Oct. 25, the Cleveland Cavaliers will begin their title defense against the revamped New York Knicks. The game will be at “the Q” and will be the night of the championship ring and banner rising ceremonies.
The offseason was full of big -ticket moves and the Knicks were among the busy teams.
New York has seen its’ fair share of miserable seasons as of late. Carmelo Anthony is now joined by Brandon Jennings, Joakim Noah and Derrick Rose in hopes of giving the East, as well as the rest of the NBA, a run for their collective money. Another team that was busy, to say the least, was defending Western Conference champions, the Golden State Warriors. After blowing a 3-1 lead to the Cavs in the finals, the Warriors were determined to not let it happen again. Golden State had the best record in a regular season in NBA history (73-9) but still couldn’t get the job done against LeBron James and Cleveland. With an already stout lineup of Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green, as well as a once impressive bench, the Warriors landed superstar Kevin Durant this offseason. Now, most of that bench is gone and Durant is likely to be the most hated man in the NBA.
The Cavs and Warriors will meet in a Finals rematch/preview on Christmas Day.
Of course there were other moves made, more money to chase during the offseason.
Dwight Howard has been important since Orlando and is now in Atlanta with the Hawks. Roy Hibbert, after having to suffer with the Lakers, is now a Charlotte Hornet. Rajon Rondo continues to bounce around the league to try and be the player he was back with the Celtics. Dwayne Wade left the team that he had made his career with in Miami to join Rondo in Chicago. Wade will retire in his hometown, and richer than Miami was going to make him. Jeff Teague, an integral part of previous Atlanta Hawks’ success, is now lacing up for the Indiana Pacers alongside Paul George. Pau Gasol went to San Antonio and I still don’t like him. Golden State’s bench ended up all over the NBA. If you see a team play on television, chances are someone on that team was once a Warrior.
Over the offseason, there were also some legends that said goodbye to the game. Kobe Bryant’s retirement was well documented and covered by the media. I never liked you Kobe, but there is no denying what you meant to the sport. See you in the Hall of Fame ‘Black Mamba’. ‘The Big Fundamental’ Tim Duncan was always a favorite of mine to watch. He played the game with such ease and always carried a sense of stoicism. Duncan will also be enshrined in the Hall someday. Kevin Garnett, ‘The Big Ticket’, ‘The Kid’, etc. also called it quits. Garnett entered the league with the Minnesota Timberwolves and then left just the same. Sure, a few teams and some rough times in between but KG, like Kobe, spent his entire adulthood as an NBA superstar.
Predictions? I’ve got a few.
There will be a huge divide between top teams and bottom feeders in both the Eastern and Western Conferences. Sure, this happens every year, however this year will be even crazier. The Cavaliers will be unable to defend their title and go back-to-back. Sorry, I know that that stings and I don’t like the truth either. The Warriors will not win the title either. Kevin Durant will get booed everywhere except at home. Dwayne Wade will get booed in Miami. The young teams, Minnesota, Philadelphia, etc…will struggle again but will be very entertaining to watch. First overall pick Ben Simmons (76ers) will have an atrocious season yet still have an impact for the team. These are all very general, I know. I haven’t watched any preseason action yet, not that it is indicative of regular season play.
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