Last Year’s Champs
Justice wouldn’t be allocated fairly unless first mentioning the tremendous run of last year’s title winners—The Golden State Warriors. Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, and company put on a show throughout the entire 2014-2015 season and deservedly won the title in June, over LeBron’s Cavs in six games. It would be foolish to overlook them as potential suitors to lift the trophy again in this season.
Revamped Rosters and Exciting Teams on the Rise
This summer was filled with a multitude of players changing scenery. The biggest names to change teams include LaMarcus Aldridge, who packed up and ditched Portland for San Antonio; Greg Monroe left Detroit for the Milwaukee Bucks; and of course Sacramento took the baggage from Dallas and snagged Rajon Rondo in a deal that went under the radar for a while.
Out west, Rondo joining the Kings has allowed great potential for the Kings to shake up NorCal and make a strong push for a playoff spot. Boogie Cousins and George Karl seem to be headed on the right track, and the Kings could be a surprise team this year.
Out East, it’s hard to overlook the Heat as a team that could make a comeback. Yeah, it’s difficult to remember that they actually missed out on the playoffs last year, but this year has the makings of something different. The Heat had a sneaky good offseason, adding Justise Winslow and Gerald Green, while having a healthy Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade could make the Heat a top four team in the East this year.
It could perhaps be a few seasons before the Jazz are competing for a championship but they are looking like a team to be reckoned with in the Northwest division.
Teams Looking to the Future
No team can compare to the Portland Trail Blazers, when talking about a more implosive offseason. Losing four of five starters is something that cannot be overcome easily. It’s hard to envision Portland getting more than 30 wins this season after winning 51 last year. Teams in the Big Apple are also causing some to scratch their heads. The Knicks have built a team surrounding middle aged role players and the Nets have destructed their billion dollar project of aging stars, and no one knows where they're headed. Other teams stuck in limbo are the Orlando Magic, Philadelphia 76ers, and of course the Lakers - all teams that seem poised to rely on the draft for the future.
Potential MVP candidates
If Steph Curry had anything to say about it, the MVP would have his name on it again, but it’s an uphill battle to win MVP in back to back seasons. Other suitors are the always constant LeBron James, who has nothing to prove to the voters anymore. Teammates Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, who undoubtably have a title on their mind and not some petty piece of consolation hardware, are valid candidates as well. James Harden and his beard also have a say in the matter, but the two big names that have everyone talking are Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins. The former has the making of someone who could be winning this thing for years come, and the latter has to prove that his team can do something past the lottery in order to sniff the trophy.
Despite being less than a week into the season it’s hard to not practically look at the league and not at least make a guess as to who might be winning the title this year. It’s a complete logjam in the Western Conference, with 6-7 teams having legitimate potential at winning the title this year. The Warriors, Spurs, Clippers, and Thunder have “title or bust on their radars”. The Rockets and Grizzlies, however, are sure to push them for a top spot in the west. Out east, the Cavaliers and Bulls are sure to vie for the top spots with the aforementioned Heat trying to claw their way back into contention. The Raptors, Bucks, Hawks and Wizards are all teams with high hopes as well. Can the teams on the rise catch any of the tried and true teams?
This season is sure to provide a healthy dose of revamped rosters with the old faithful teams. Old teams with a new feel and new rosters with excitement are sure to shake up the league this year. Lace up the shoes because the NBA season is back and better than ever!