Top 10 NBA Stories For The Season
The NBA season is upon us! As we get ready for the tipoff, let’s take a look at the 10 stories to watch this season. These are not in any particular order:
LeBron and the Lakers– LeBron was once again the talk of the NBA offseason as he became a free agent. There were many teams who were believed to have a shot at landing the best player in the NBA, but when all was said and done, he took his talent to Los Angeles to play with the Lakers. The move makes sense in terms of the biggest name in basketball playing in one of the biggest markets. The interesting part will be how this Lakers team actually comes together on the floor. They are an interesting mix of young talent, outlandish veterans, and LeBron. On the one side, you have Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma, and Brandon Ingram. They are considered the future of the Lakers organization. On the other side, you have Rajon Rondo, Lance Stephenson, and JaVale McGee. This leaves LeBron to bridge the gap that seems to be wide between those core players.
2nd Year Stars– There is always concern about players hitting a sophomore slump. This year’s group will look to avoid that. The main trio of Jayson Tatum, Donavon Mitchell, and Ben Simmons will look to further prove they are the future of the NBA. Tatum was the lowest scoring of the three with 13.9 PPG. However, he was the best in terms of 3-point shooting percent at 43.4%. Simmons, the rookie of the year, almost averaged a triple-double with 15.8 PPG, 8.1 RPG, and 8.2 APG. That leaves Mitchell who led this trio in scoring with 20.5 PPG.
Rocket Science- The Houston Rockets had an interesting offseason. They lost two of their better defenders in Trevor Ariza and Luc Mbah a Moute. In turn, they managed to retain Clint Capela. They also were able to sign Carmelo Anthony. That last move has caused many questions about what this season will have in store for the Rockets. There is concern that Anthony will tear apart the team’s chemistry. However, the Rockets are convinced that this is the move that can get them past the Warriors.
Darkhorse Contenders- There are plenty of favorites when it comes to championship teams, but two teams that surprised the league last year were the Indiana Pacers and the Utah Jazz. The Pacers finished with a 48-34 record as they earned the 5th seed in the East. They took the Cavaliers to 7 games and missed a few opportunities to put the Cavaliers away. The Jazz also finished 48-34 and earned the 5th seed. They were able to beat the Thunder in the 1st round. They were beaten handily by the Rockets in the next round, but have plenty to build on this season.
The New Spurs- The Spurs are going to have an odd look to them. They had already been without Tim Duncan last year. This year Ginobili retired, Tony Parker went to the Hornets, and Kawhi was traded to the Raptors. They will now be led by DeMar DeRozan and LaMarcus Aldridge. This will be a true test of just how good Coach Popavich really can be.
The Tank Race- It is rare that teams start the season with the intent of doing poorly, but it is likely that a race for the 1st pick will evolve within the first couple weeks. A couple of the likely candidates are the Magic, Knicks, Suns, and Grizzlies. We will keep an eye on this race as it unfolds.
Free Agency- There are plenty of big names that will hit the Free Agent market this summer. However, a lot of the top names have already expressed that they prefer to re-sign with their current team. The biggest questions currently surround Kawhi Leonard and Jimmy Butler. Kawhi seems to have no interest in playing more than one season in Toronto. Butler seems to have no intentions of even playing in Minnesota this season. We will have updates as they come on these and other potential free agents.
The Lowly East- The Celtics are the heavy favorite to come out of the East. There is not a lot of hope that the East can even contend with the West. The other teams that figure to round out the top-4 in the East are the Bucks, 76ers, and Raptors. The Pacers figure to be able to contend for one of those positions as well. After that, it is unclear as to which team could emerge as the final three seeds.
Giannis Development- The star of the Milwaukee Bucks is widely thought to be a future MVP and one of the best young players in the league. When he is attacking the hoop, he is almost unstoppable. If the Bucks can get Giannis to develop any sort of consistent jump shot, he could become the most unguardable player in the league.
Rookie Saviors- After the success of last year’s rookies, there is a lot of pressure on this year’s class to match that. The Hawks will look to Trae Young to be their franchise. Mo Bamba will be relied on to make the Magic relevant again. Marvin Bagley III will look to turn around the fortunes of the Kings. Luka Doncic will look to take the torch from the great Dirk Nowitzki in Dallas. There may be more pressure on this rookie class than on any other one in recent memory.
Have any other stories that you think we should look at? Let us know!
Malachi David is a Sports Writer at MFST. You can follow him on Twitter: @SportReportMD