After waiting the whole summer for where Westbrook will end up, the reality isn’t surprising. Signing a 3 year/$85 Million contract extension, Westbrook is telling the world that he is the new face of the Thunder and will put the team on his back for the seasons to come. It’ll be entertaining to watch Westbrook as he’ll most likely fill up the stat sheet each night without having to worry about sharing the spotlight with KD. However, nothing has gotten easier; the most difficult stage of Westbrook’s career has just begun, and it just happens to be that his former teammate is standing right in his way with his own super team. Being the hero of the current situation, Russ is being viewed as a savior for the Thunder, and is highly respected amongst all in the community and across the NBA. Loyalty is gold, and it’s what will make Westbrook the hero, and Durant the villain.
The outcome of last year’s NBA season was none other than shocking to most people. A record breaking 73 win Warriors team fell short against the Cavaliers, who finally found their groove after game 3 and went on to win in game 7. As entertaining and epic last regular season and postseason was, teams have drastically changed coming into the 2016-2017 NBA season. The emergence of multiple super teams is what’s new. The Warrior’s addition of Kevin Durant, the Maverick’s pickups of Barnes and Bogut, and also the Bull’s addition of D-Wade as well as the Knick’s new playoff-bound team have caught lots of attention.
For the dubs, expectations have risen drastically ever since the Durant trade. A championship is expected for next season since the team has two MVPs playing with each other (three if you count 2 time Shaqtin a Fool MVP Javale Mcgee). However chemistry along with sacrifice remain huge obstacles that the Warriors are going to have to overcome in order to fulfill their expectations.
Despite the dominant Warriors and the constant powerhouses in the West, the Eastern Conference has taken a huge leap in its competitiveness. The road to the finals is no longer a cake walk for the Cleveland Cavaliers; teams like the Bulls, Knicks, and the developing Pistons and Celtics squads now oppose a serious threat. All in all, the NBA will be looking much newer and unpredictable next season.
Kobe Bryant has done things in this world that seem humanly impossible, and, as one might put it; insane. Putting 5 world championships in the Laker’s history book is one of many achievements that stands out throughout his career, but on a long scale, the level of performance he has been able to put in a night in and night out basis is what shocks everyone. After playing for about two decades in the league, Kobe’s on court show has never gone away from drawing the “oohs” and “aahs” from the crowd. It seems as if his fadeaway jumpers, long threes, and clutch scoring games never seem to fade. Nevertheless, his critics are always questioning his capability season after season. Will Kobe come back from the injuries and make a statement? Can Kobe lead his team to the playoffs? These doubts go on and on, but what we do know is this; when he’s on the floor with a great supporting cast, the playoff picture will be looking great. And that’s exactly the story this year.
The Lakers have had an amazing offseason in which they signed Lou Williams, Brandon Bass, and Roy Hibbert- who would possibly elevate one of the worst teams in the league last year to being a playoff contender. Kobe said it himself to questions of whether or not the Lakers will make the playoffs; “absolutely”. Last year was a learning process for the Lakers, who were made up of mostly a young and inexperienced squad. This year is a complete change, and there’s a perfect combination with young, athletic, and experienced players. As for making the playoffs, anything can happen when you’re in the Western Conference. The answer to whether or not the Lakers will make a playoff appearance lies in the upcoming season, and whether or not they overcome the adversity.
It was all said and done after the 2014-2015 NBA regular season. Stephen Curry would be named the league’s most valuable player after leading his team to the number one overall record. Nevertheless, his runner-up James Harden had different feelings as to who should’ve taken home the award, some feelings in which Curry had felt were a bit “aggressive”, but fortunately for him, a second chance came about.
The NBPA’s award ceremony was not only a time to recognize players through a variety of awards, but was a time to show the media the true opinions of the NBA athletes and how they vote for the awards. As usual, the MVP award is what draws the most attention out of any, and this time, it all went to James Harden. After what many thought to be Curry’s award, seeing Harden hold up the trophy was shocking to a lot of people. Although Curry may be the best player on the best team in basketball, it’s hard not to recognize Harden and the load he’s had to carry throughout the season.
It is fairly reasonable that the players voted for Harden as the MVP. With an injured Dwight Howard half the season and with a support cast not so efficient as one Curry was accompanied by, James Harden led the Rockets to the number 2 seed in the West, and took them them far in the playoffs in which they reached the Western Conference Finals. His consistency on the court kept the Rockets alive throughout the season, and therefor, it was well deserving of him to achieve the NBPA’s MVP award.
The recent trades in the offseason have completely changed the picture going into the 2015-2016 regular season. Deron Williams departs to Dallas, Lance enters LA, and Rondo urges his way to the Kings, hoping he can help to re-shape the team. Drama including Deandre Jordan and his choice to abandon the Mavericks at the last second and re-sign with the Clips is perhaps just a glimpse of how powerful they’ll be next season. Along with the addition of Lance Stevenson and a possibility to re-sign Jamal Crawford, the Clippers certainly have a lot of pieces to make a run for the ‘ship.
Nevertheless, the Clippers are in the Western Conference, which in fact, is the most dominant Conference in the league and includes the reigning champions Golden State Warriors alongside a consistent Spurs squad and a hungry Thunder team with their two superstars who both are contenders for the MVP award each year. Speaking of OKC, frequent injuries among Durant and Westbrook has been the only reason holding them back from emerging into finals appearances. However, next year isn’t just an easy stroll towards the Finals on the West Side. San Antonio has proven to be a title contender every year, and with the addition of LaMarcus Aldridge, their limits look higher than ever. Furthermore, Dub nation has proven to overcome every obstacle they faced for the last 45 years after winning the title, and their ambitions lead towards a thought of a two-peat next season.
One can look at LeBron’s brilliant performance in the NBA Finals and say it was unbelievable, and most Cavs fan can conclude that the title would’ve been theirs if Irving and Love had been healthy. With all these ideas swarming around after the finals, it’s realistic to state that the Cavaliers will make their way to the finals next season, but only reality will reveal whether they come out on top or fall short once again.
The upcoming NBA season is going to be full of surprises and drastic moments. Above all, the run to the championship will be something special to see.
The city of San Antonio holds the top first-class NBA organization in the league. There’s arguably no other team in the NBA as strategic, tactical, and experienced as the Spurs. It’s been a year by year tradition of winning for the Spurs in the past decade, and signing Lamarcus Aldridge for another 5 years brings them back to a stronger championship contending team. The Splitter Trade with the Hawks was an extremely huge risk at first, but became a huge relief once they had gotten what they wanted. Nevertheless, Popovich will be around with the organization throughout Aldridge’s 5 years, which ensures that the Spurs will be a long way from not over. Overall, the focus is clearly on Aldridge. How will he perform? Will he bring championship spirit/mentality to the team? The list of questions go on and on for the Spurs and their upcoming season with Lamarcus, but the main question lies; will the spurs contend for another championship?.
It’s been 12 years since the T-Wolves and their beloved “Big Ticket” (Kevin Garnett) shared memorable moments in the playoffs. Until then, there was absolutely no daylight. The rebuilding process for the Timberwolves has been a hassle. Although having star players such as Ricky Rubio and All-Star Kevin Love, it has still been a tough task to even reach the playoffs. This team has surely been through a roller coaster ride for perhaps the last decade. From frequent injuries to switching coaches, it seemed like the whole T-Wolves team couldn’t hold a grip of themselves. All this adversity the state of Minnesota has gone through could some how vanish this upcoming season, as there lies a legitimate chance for a playoff birth.
Bringing back Kevin Garnett to his initial team and sending Kevin Love away was perhaps the first step towards finding daylight to a playoff run. And to add on, acquiring Karl Anthony Towns and Tyus Jones from the NBA draft was another vital addition. Although rookies, Towns and Jones do add up some value to the Timberwolves’ team, in which they both bring great efficiency towards the offensive side, as well as a mental mindset of winning. Nevertheless, you most certainly can’t forget about Andrew Wiggins and Zach Lavine, two young players on the urge of becoming stars.
The T-Wolves have struggled for the past decade, but now there lies a chance in which they can spring into the playoffs. But however, it’s not that easy when you’re in the Western Conference, considering that 80% of players from the First Team All-NBA mark their spot there. The list of teams that the Timberwolves must face in order to make a run towards the playoffs start from facing a rising Pelicans squad with a soon to be best-player-in-the-world Anthony Davis to the NBA champions Golden State Warriors, who seem to demolish any team that stands in their path with their flawless offensive style and rigorous defensive efforts. The names of the elite teams in the Western Conference go on and on, but perhaps the true competition the T-Wolves will face against are the teams who fell short to make the playoffs last season. Despite not making it to the playoffs, teams such as Phoenix and OKC are no joke to deal with, and had a close chance of clinching a spot last year. Overall, in order to make the playoffs, a tremendous effort must be put forward by the Timberwolves throughout the regular season, since even reaching to this stage is a hard task to accomplish.go