The NBA season starts one day from today and some teams are looking great in preseason. There have been precautions to certain players including Lebron James, preseason basketball tends to be a lose-lose situation most of the time. Teams like the Golden State Warriors look pretty sharp while the Los Angeles Lakers seem to be in for another bad season. Here are five things to look at in the NBA season.
1. The Golden State Warriors Are Confident On Making Another Run
The talk throughout preseason is the Warriors being lucky last year winning the NBA championship, but they think differently. Any championship team needs luck, health and great players, which shouldn’t be taken away from the Warriors. They have arguably the best chemistry in the league, complementing each other on the court. The top four players, Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Andre Iguodola and Draymond Green all play at the highest level in their primes.
The reigning MVP Curry will continue to prove the doubters wrong and be in the conversation for his second MVP trophy. Thompson may accomplish career high stats again and compete with others shooting guards as the best in the league. Iguodala coming off the bench dictates the team’s success moving forward and Green, after signing a max contract wants to be an all star and helps his team go back to the Finals. These four players combined with a great supporting cast give the team hope and can win the western conference yet again.
2. Lebron James’s Health Determines Cavs Success During The Season
ESPN Reports reveal Lebron James taking an anti-inflammatory injection and missing the rest of the preseason. James has done this before last season taking two weeks off and coming back at full strength, pushing the team into the finals. But the wear and tear on a basketball body can take so much. He played in five straight finals and is dealing with injuries. Even with Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love coming back, they are injury prone players that can get hurt at any given moment.
James is important based on what he does on the court and is a guarantee eastern conference finals berth. They might be by default the number one seed in the team regardless of the offseason moves made by the Miami Heat, but they aren’t going far without James. He is a coach on the court and the leader of the team. If he goes, they all go. If he doesn’t play, expect a first or second round exit with the roster they assemble.
3. Clippers and Kings Soap Opera Begins
As if the NBA season can’t come closer to the two teams, which might have the most impact on and off the court. The Los Angeles Clippers and Sacramento Kings made offseason moves. Kings signed point guard Rajon Rondo to pair up with Demarcus Cousins and Rudy Gay, coached by George Karl. Clippers not only sign back Deandre Jordan, but acquired Paul Pierce, Josh Smith and Lance Stephenson. They will all be coached under Doc Rivers. Pierce won a championship with the Boston Celtics with Doc Rivers being the head coach back in 2008. But can both of teams, “chemistry wise”, be formidable in a competitive western conference.
Talent can only take a team as far as their coach. Although both of these head coaches had success in past dealing with stars, they also came across failure. Rivers in the postseason is 77-71 and one championship with the Celtics. Karl is 80-105 with only one appearance in the NBA Finals. They are going into a dysfunction environment with their teams heading into the season. They know most of the players reputations and what they do in locker rooms and huddles. Only time will tell on what they can be in the western conference, but expect an up and down year for the Clippers and Kings.
4. Miami Coming After Cleveland For The Eastern Conference Crown
Last season the Miami Heat missed the playoffs at 37-45 after Lebron’s departure. Based on what they did the year before, one player can make a difference. Dwyane Wade is still a great player, but only when he’s healthy. Chris Bosh ended his season with a life threatening injury and the addition of Goran Dragic in a mid-season trade gives them stability at the point guard position. The surprise coming of Center Hassan White combined with a deeper team gives the winning formula to compete against any team, including the Cavaliers.
Arguably on paper, the Heat may have the second best team in the eastern conference by default. Teams such the Wizards, Raptors, Hawks and the field don’t pose a threat against Cleveland. But Miami with their players coming back, more depth on every position and a confidence in Wade, who gets the best out of Lebron can reclaim their Crown. The team won’t rely on Wade as much and will have Bosh/Dragic leading the way. They can have one of the best benches in the league and can possibly be facing the Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference Finals.
5. Divisions Don’t Guarantee Home Court Advantage
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver announced this year that top eight teams in each conference with winning records are in the playoffs. There are no more guarantee top 4 seeds in each conference, which could cause team their chances of getting into the playoffs. This announcement gives teams a focus on wanting to finish strong and compete for home court. In the past losing records can give a team hope, but this structure puts more competition and weaker teams out of the conversation. When the season starts, look out for winning records that make the playoffs more attractive for the audience.