Photo Credit: Yahoo Sports
It’s never too early to start thinking about the next NBA season. With Olympic basketball starting to heat up, you might find yourself wanting a dose of the NBA. Here are some NBA storylines to watch for in the upcoming season.
1. Old Faces, New Places
Many big-name players caught the free-agency bug this offseason and decided to take their talents somewhere new. What makes these moves interesting is that a lot of the players that took part in free agency left franchises that they had been associated with for years. Players in this category include Dwayne Wade and Kevin Durant. One free agency move that will probably make the most impact is the Kevin Durant move. With the Cleveland Cavaliers winning the title last year, Durant could be what the Golden State Warriors need to neutralize the Cavs’ momentum. Also, the former Chicago Bulls dynamic duo of Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah is headed to the Knicks, where they can make a big run in the weak Eastern conference if they can remain healthy. This Knicks team has a high ceiling, but they will have to rely on players with untapped potential if they want to make a run in the playoffs.
2. Will anyone be able to stop the two “superteams”?
The short answer to this is, probably not. Due to retirements and the previously mentioned free agency happenings, there is most likely too much parody in the other 28 teams to have a reasonable chance at taking down either of the 2015-2016 finalists. Because of the wild offseason, teams that have been legitimate title contenders in the past, such as the Thunder, Spurs, and Heat, are probably one piece short of being able to make a title run this year.
3. To Rest, or Not to Rest
Similar the Hack-a-Shaq controversy, sitting players out of games for the sole purpose of conserving their energy brings up the classic “strategy vs. entertainment value” argument. With players like LeBron racking up more minutes than ever, it seems wise to sit stars like him out to preserve them for the future. However, as a fan who has experienced this first hand, it is not enjoyable to go to a game only to have your star player sit out. The league has seemed hostile towards this valid, albeit annoying, strategy in recent years, so we’ll have to wait and see what action, if any, they take against it.
4. Fresh Blood
One final storyline to watch for in the upcoming NBA season is the youth presence. It will be exciting to see if new rookies can lift their teams out of the cellar, and if the Minnesota Timberwolves can live up to the hype after being dubbed “The Warriors of the Future” by many. Some young players to watch for would be Karl-Anthony Towns, Ben Simmons, Brandon Ingram, Jaylen Brown, Andrew Wiggins, and Dragan Bender.