As we stand on the cusp of the beginning of the 71st season of the NBA, this seems like as good a time as any to assess just how do the teams measure up. We lost 3 legends in Kobe, Kevin Garnett and Tin Duncan last year, and their presence will be massively felt by their teams. How well they’re able to fill up that void will go a long way in determining how far they go. Pop will look to rebuild around Kawhi Leonard, especially with Parker and Manu also nearing their farewell. This just might make GSW even more of the favourites on the Western front, with no team seemingly able to match up to their might last year. To add to all of it, they went out and got Kevin Durant as a free agent, which just might prove to be one of the all-time blockbuster deal. Though it would be interesting to see how Kerr settles in KD, in an already very well set lineup, with Curry, Klay and Draymond complimenting each other perfectly. But on paper, they’re the overwhelming favourites for the Conference and the Championship, with their obscenely strong roster. But the transfer of KD from OKC means their direct rivals Oklahoma City Thunder have suffered a massive blow, although they have been strengthened significantly by robbing Orlando of Victor Oladipo. It’ll be interesting to follow OKC like it always is, and one shouldn’t forget that Russ singlehandedly carried them with KD injured 2 years ago. Apart from these 3, the once legendary LA Lakers will be hoping for some sort of miracle to lift them out of the last place and thus get rid of the title of the laughing stock of the league. They’d look to build around D’Angelo Russell. Also, never underestimate the Clippers with Griffin, Chris Paul and the retiring Paul Pierce in their ranks.
On the Eastern front, the Cavs still look like the high school bully who’ll be having fun at the expense of others. The Conference is embarrassingly favoured in their favour and their real challenge will come in the Finals. Other than that, the once great Celtics are rebuilding again, and are starting to wear the look of a team that can make a dash for the Conference if things go their way, and with rumours that they’ll most likely be Russ Westbrook’s next destination, things are really looking up for the Celtics’ faithful. The addition of Al Horford and Jaylen Brown will be something to keep an eye out for. Apart from these 2, there will be the perpetual almost there Pacers and the Raptors, and these 4 look like a safe bet for the last 4 teams in the Eastern Conference. Raptors did well to re-sign DeMar DeRozanand adding Jared Sullinger. Another team to look out for in the East will be the Chicago Bulls with their duo of Rajon Rondo and Dwayne Wade. The Hawks did reasonably well to compensate for the loss of Horford to Celtics by getting Dwight Howard who can settle into a rim protector role. Apart from these few, expect the other teams to settle into their positions with not many surprises expected.
Watch out for the 76ers draft pick Ben Simmons, who has been highly touted all over. Oh, and in non-NBA things, watch out for the Kaepernick protest, named after Colin Kaepernick, the NFL player who decided to sit on a knee during the national anthem in protest of the racial injustices and police brutalities in America, and with the season about to begin and the protests catching up, many NBA stars have decided to join in and show solidarity to the movement.
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