The 71st season of the National Basketball Association is just around the corner and will begin on October 25 beginning with a game between the defending champions Cleveland Cavaliers hosting the new-look New York Knicks. This season promises to be more exciting with the formation of a nearly unbeatable super team, the retirement of several Hall-of-Famers, and up and coming youngsters who are ready to take over. Here are the top storylines for the season:
1 The Warriors Reloaded—Being the first team to lose a 3-1 lead in the NBA Finals didn’t sit well with the Warriors and they upped the ante. The only team to win 73 games in a season acquired one of the league’s most potent scorer in Kevin Durant. On paper, this is arguably the best team ever assembled with reigning league MVP Steph Curry, super shooter Klay Thompson, and the versatile Draymond Green. Expectations are very high for this team and winning the NBA title is the only goal. Anything else would be considered a failure. They have their work cut out for them since everyone will be gunning for this super team.
2 The Return of the King— LeBron James may have reached the pinnacle of his career by bringing home the Cavaliers’ 1st ever title. The Cavs don’t have any serious competition in the Eastern Conference and if they stay healthy, they can easily help the King reach their 7th straight Finals appearance. The only problem with the Cavs is that their bench is razor thin and they would need to give minutes to below average players to keep their starters fresh.
3 Legends Gone—For the very first time in two decades, you won’t hear the names of Kevin Garnett, Kobe Bryant, and Tim Duncan being announced in any stadium. The three have announced their retirement and the NBA seems a little empty since they impacted the game in so many ways and influenced generations of players who came after them. They have a combined 11 titles, 48 All-Star appearances, and a whopping 60 playing years.
4 Not so Rosy—Former No.1 draft pick and MVP Derrick Rose is getting a shot at redemption with his new team the New York Knicks. After years of injuries and playing well below expectations, Rose looks to regain his old form under legendary coach Phil Jackson. However, Rose is being dogged by a civil suit for sexual assault and this may impact his performance as well as the team. The case is expected to go on trial on October 4.
5 Young Blood—This year’s draft is one of the richest in recent memory. Some of the rookies are potential franchise players namely Ben Simmons, Brandon Ingram, Dragan Bender, and Kris Dunn. Due to the high level of talent, comparisons are already being made. Simmons for instance has been compared to LeBron James due to his overall versatility and skill-set. Ingram, meanwhile, can shoot the lights out like Kevin Durant. This will definitely be an exciting year for the league’s young talent.