I can hear thunderous dunks on the horizon. I can see celebrations with three fingers in the air. I can hear the crowd screaming and booing, and at the same time I can hear them holding their breath when the game comes down to the wire. Over the last few weeks, I started to feel like a kid waiting for Christmas so that he could get the latest video game console. Now, it’s Christmas! Well….you get the point.
So, here are a few stories and players that I’m looking forward to this season:
1. Can OKC and Kevin Durant bounce back?
The general consensus of the public, or basketball twitter, is a huge “yes” to this question. Personally, I believe they can do it as well. Here’s what we know, with Kevin Durant missing 55 games last season, the Thunder just barely missed out on the eighth seed. Russell Westbrook turned into a triple-double machine, and they gained some more offensive firepower in Enes Kanter. In case you guys forgot, the last full season that Kevin Durant played, he happened to win the MVP award while averaging 32 points, 7 rebounds, and 5 assists per game. He was my early pick to win this year’s MVP, and Westbrook forced his name into the MVP race last season. You do realize that means this team potentially has two MVP’s, right? Need I say more?
2. Welcome to the league, Rooks!
So far, this looks like it’s going to be an interesting rookie class. The top three picks in Karl Anthony-Towns, D’Angelo Russell, and Jahlil Okafor look like they’re going to get a lot of chances to show out this year. Also, we have the forever growing legend of Kristaps Porzingis in New York, as well as the man some called the Croatian Kobe in Mario Hezonja. Then, we can’t forget the potential first round steals of the draft in Emmanuel Mudiay, Stanley Johnson, and Justise Winslow. They all have great potential and came into the league with a lot of high praise. Experts thought last year’s draft was going to be one of the deepest we’ve ever seen, but this new class, to me, looks like it could be deeper. The names of a lot of these draft picks are pasted all over basketball websites and podcasts. They’re being talked about because of the ways that most of them are in positions to help their teams instantly as well as later on down the road. So, let’s see what you got cookin’ rookies!
3. Rise of the Milwaukee Bucks
Milwaukee played well in the beginning of last season, made a trade, played well some more, and pushed the Chicago Bulls to six games in the first round of the playoffs. We knew the Bucks wouldn’t be a bottom feeder again, but not many people predicted the kind of season they produced. Young, lots of length, athleticism, and a promising young coach are all signs that point to the Bucks improving this season. Ok, you got me, Jason Kidd isn’t all that young, but his coaching career is still very young. There’s this one player that the Bucks drafted last season who only played 25 games. His name might be Jabari Parker, you know, the Jabari Parker who was looking like the sure fire rookie of the year until he got hurt.
“Wait, so you mean to tell me that Milwaukee took the Bulls to six games without their star player of the future?!”
Yes, that is exactly what I’m telling you. Oh, they also signed Greg Monroe from the Detroit Pistons and re-signed Khris Middleton too. So, let’s add that all together into a starting five, shall we? Michael Carter-Williams, Khris Middleton, Giannis Antetkounmpo, Jabari Parker, Greg Monroe. “Art thou feeling it now, Mr. Krabs?”
4. Wild, Wild West
What hasn’t been said about the Western Conference already? Has anyone made any jokes that dealt with the Will Smith movie? Probably. Anyway, we all know the Western Conference is easily the better of the two these days. Even a team that didn’t make the playoffs was over .500 last season. The East had three teams were .500 or under that actually made the playoffs. The point guard battles are crazy, the rivalries are getting more and more heated, and the playoffs in the West are a roller coaster of emotions. The Trail Blazers and Mavericks are the only two of the eight playoff teams that look like they will sink this season, but others are rising to take their spots. The aforementioned Thunder are looking to get back to form, the Utah Jazz is the popular “sleeper” pick to make the playoffs, and the Kings and Lakers have gotten better from last season too. Steph Curry and the Warriors had one of the best seasons in NBA history, but this time around they’re going to run into even stiffer competition. The Rockets gained a great piece in Ty Lawson, the Spurs signed LaMarcus Aldridge, and the Clippers addressed their biggest problem in depth. Of course there’s always the monster that is Anthony Davis and the rough-and-tough Memphis Grizzlies are looming to grind their way to a title. One word to sum up how the West will be this season: fun!
So, here we are NBA fans, the season is here and it’s time to get excited! I leave you with Will Smith, or should I say, Captain James West: