As NBA training camps are set to begin on December 1st, it is officially time for a NBA season preview. With the draft and free agency in the rear-view mirror, most rosters are practically set.
Here are ten things we are so excited to see this upcoming NBA season.
The NBA champions retool
The Los Angeles Lakers are coming off of a rather dominant playoff performance last year. The scary part is that they may have actually gotten even better. While on paper that may seem like they lost some key guys, they were able to greatly upgrade their talent..
The addition of Wesley Matthews gives them a solid Danny Green replacement for a fraction of his price. They snagged last season’s Sixth Man of the Year in Montrezl Harell from the rival Clippers and added the runner up in Dennis Schroder.
They re-signed Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and to top it off, added NBA champion and former Defensive Player of the Year Marc Gasol.
The Lakers retooled around LeBron James and Anthony Davis by forming possibly the best roster in the league. It’s hard to pick any other team as the favorite heading into the season. This team won the offseason, and thus stand firmly first in our NBA season preview.
The Nets are finally healthy
The Brooklyn Nets won last year’s offseason by signing Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant. The only issue was that Kevin Durant was coming off a torn achilles and missed the entire season while Irving only played 20 games.
The Nets supporting cast led by Caris LeVert and Spencer Dinwiddie were still able to get them into the playoffs.
With both superstars expected to be fully healthy at the start of the season, the Nets pose a threat to any team in the league.
Any team with two superstars like Irving and Durant deserves to have their name as a contender. The only question that stands is whether or not they can stay healthy.
Steph Curry is back
Stephen Curry is unquestionably one of the league’s best and most exciting players. His return should have vaulted the Warriors back into the title conversation, but Klay Thompson’s torn achilles tendon greatly hurts those odds.
We may get the chance to see a fully unleashed Curry this season. He is the only proven consistent scoring threat on the roster and with Curry only playing in five games last season, there’s no doubt he will be hungry to get back on the court.
Will the Rockets implode or improve?
The Rockets seemed to be on the verge of completely breaking up. James Harden and Russell Westbrook both reportedly want out. Mike D’Antoni is now an assistant coach in Brooklyn and longtime GM Daryl Morey is in Philly.
They also traded away one of the most useful defenders in the league in Robert Covington.
However it may be possible that the Rockets actually improved this offseason and thus in our NBA season preview. The signing of underrated big man Christian Wood and new head coach Stephen Silas should bring about more balance to their iso-heavy offense. And new, younger energy to a team that desperately needs it.
If the Rockets are able to get anything from former all-star DeMarcus Cousins, they will consider that signing a success. At this point it seems more likely than not that Harden and Westbrook will be in Houston this season. If they are able to buy-in, the Rockets could be a problem for other teams.
Is this Giannis’ last season in Milwaukee?
One of the biggest storylines of the NBA season’s preview and upcoming season will be whether or not the Bucks will be able to convince the back-to-back MVP to re-sign long-term. The team made a huge trade to bring in Jrue Holiday.
They almost signed sharpshooter Bogdan Bogdanovic, but the deal fell through. Still, a big three of Giannis Antetokounmpo, Khris Middleton and Jrue Holiday is one that can easily be seen holding up a championship at the end of the season. If Giannis takes his game to another level in the ‘offs that is.
Did the Clippers take a step back or a step forward?
The Clippers were able to solve two of their biggest issues this offseason by trading for the versatile Luke Kennard and signing big man Serge Ibaka.
Kennard adds a much needed playmaker and Ibaka gives them a big who can protect the rim and spread the floor. While they lost Montrezl Harrell, Ibaka is a much better fit for this team around Kawhi Leonard and Paul George.
Many fans may be down on the Clippers after last season’s playoffs, the talent level they can put on the court keeps them in the title conversation.
A fun and exciting rookie class
There are a bunch of rookies this season that will be in prime position to perform. LaMelo Ball, James Wiseman, Anthony Edwards, Obi Toppin, and Killian Hayes are all expected to have large roles almost immediately.
This year’s draft may lack a clear-cut superstar, but it makes up for it in how deep it was. Expect a few surprises to come from those drafted in the late first round and second round.
Which stars will get traded this season?
James Harden? Russell Westbrook? Bradley Beal? Victor Oladipo? Blake Griffin? These are all names that have been linked in trade rumors.
In today’s NBA, if a player wants out, they usually get their way. It’s easy to envision a scenario where any of these players get shipped to a new team. The only question is who and to where?
Are the Sixers legit?
There’s no question last season’s Sixers were one of the biggest disappointments of the league.
They signed questionable fits Tobias Harris and Al Horford to massive contracts. They changed that around this offseason by acquiring the number one thing they were missing: shooting.
Al Horford is now gone and the Sixers brought in proven shooters in Seth Curry and Danny Green and veteran big man Dwight Howard. These pieces fit their franchise cornerstones Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons much better. However the question remains, are the Sixers for real?
Teams that can surpass expectations
There are several teams that will be looking to take the next step. The Phoenix Suns added Chris Paul after their undefeated run in the bubble came up short. They are poised to make the playoffs next season.
The Atlanta Hawks added some proven talent around all-star point guard Trae Young. Danilo Gallinari, Bogdan Bogdanovic, Rajon Rondo and their strong frontcourt should push the Hawks back into the playoffs.
The Blazers had one of the best offseasons. They added Robert Covington, Enes Kanter and Derrick Jones Jr. They re-signed Carmelo Anthony and Rodney Hood. Health permitting, expect the Blazers to have a strong season.
Ultimately, there is a bevy of things to be excited for this upcoming season. That is why our NBA season preview comes dripping with intrigue, salivating with excitement, and exploding with questions.