You should already know what time it is, but if you are unaware, the NBA is back and I couldn’t be more excited. The return of flopping, outrageous foul calls, and Rudy Gobert getting exposed in the playoffs is here once again and the games have been in full flow. Get ready NBA fans, the drama of it all is back again.
Led by Steph Curry, the Golden State Warriors are the defending champions looking to reclaim the Larry O’Brien trophy once again. I have to admit the path to the championship looks as long and treacherous as it’s ever been, with team trades and familiar faces looking to make a run for the gold this year.
Now before we continue, we have to address the elephant in the room once and for all to set the record straight— The Los Angeles Lakers will not win the championship this year (quote me, @ me, I’m all for it).
I am here to tell you Lakers fans, Russell Westbrook is not your saviour. The 37-year-old Lebron James, who has saved many franchises before, unfortunately, is also not your saviour. And, Mr. Anthony Davis, the so-called chosen one, should be that guy to save this franchise but alas, we all know he is not your saviour (don’t even get me started on Patrick Beverley).
The city of LA may have to settle for the B team (aka the Clippers) making serious noise once the playoffs come around because the team with the purple and gold — they are not him and it’s not looking good bruv.
The Summer Highlights
With the simple pleasantries out of the way, we can look at how teams are shaping up this season. As for an update on players moving around the league, Rudy Gobert now plays for the Minnesota Timberwolves (I still have no hope for them), Donovan Mitchell will be rocking a Cleveland Cavaliers jersey and Jalen Brunson signed with the New York Knicks (Knicks you guys still suck, don’t worry).
Jordan Poole signed a lucrative extension for the Warriors and it looks like the passing of the torch for “best light-skinned franchise player” has commenced already (truly a beautiful thing). Poole earned his contract extension and I’m excited to see him grow and develop as a player becoming a household name in San Francisco.
While we could address the Draymond Green situation for drama and views, focusing on a bigger highlight for the upcoming season would be the ideal alternative for us to enjoy this article, and it starts with one name… Zion.
Mr. Williamson has lost a tremendous amount of weight and I am overjoyed with the progress he has made in taking his NBA career seriously and becoming one of the greats. The potential for not only Zion but the New Orleans Pelicans as a whole has a compelling and exciting aura around it. While it may not be as hush hush as people think, they have quickly become one of the dark horses for this year and many more years to come.
With the core of CJ McCollum, Brandon Ingram and Zion Williamson, the pieces around them couldn’t be more of a plus as some of their young talents have improved immensely over the past couple years. Herb Jones, Trey Murphy III and Jaxon Hayes all look like they have something about them that can contribute to a championship-winning team in the future.
With solid role players such as Larry Nance Jr, Jonas Valanciunas and Jose Alvardo, look out for the Pelicans this year. Barring injuries, they’ll be an extremely annoying team to play against for years to come. Believe that.
The Eastern Conference Will Be A BloodBath
I saw all the tweets and comments about the Raptors not making the playoffs and I just had to laugh. It’s like the disrespect evolves every single year and the creativity behind it is honestly impressive. If you think adding Dejounte Murray to the Atlanta Hawks throws the Raptors out of the playoff standings, you simply don’t know Basketball (don’t @ me, thanks).
The eastern conference will be highly competitive this year where in my eyes, nine realistic teams can make the playoffs, with the play in games having more meaning than ever.
The Celtics, Bucks, Heat, Bulls, Raptors, Nets, Cavaliers, 76ers and Hawks all have a chance to make a name for themselves in the eastern conference. The seeding will be interesting as I do think the gap between these teams has closed significantly enough to allow for an entertaining and competitive regular season.
All eyes will be on the 76ers as the roster has been reconstructed to suit James Harden’s play style and allow Joel Embiid to replicate an MVP-like season. While I do enjoy seeing Doc Rivers’ teams fail in the playoffs (I am a chronic hater of this man’s team, it does bring a smile to my face), winning the championship is the obvious answer to how their season must finish.
It’s championship or bust for this squad and if James Harden wants to solidify himself as one of the greatest SG’s of all time, he needs to play at an all-time level this season.
It’s still too early to say but from the few games played so far, Harden looks like his old self (except that loss to the Raptors of course). Let’s wait and see if he can keep it up when it matters most.
Who’s Winning The Chip?
Please, let’s all be realistic. There are not eight teams who can win the championship (don’t let ESPN or your barber lie to you). The Nets are not winning, Memphis is two years away with their current squad, and don’t even get me started on the Phoenix bums. Realistically, there are two teams per conference who have the puncher’s chance to take the chip for ultimate bragging rights — the Warriors, Clippers, Bucks and Celtics.
When you have someone like Steph Curry and the system Golden State has, it’s hard to bet against them. But the roster and personnel the Clippers are equipped with are extremely scary.
Look at the amount of depth on this squad. Healthy (and I mean every single person on the team healthy) on paper, the Clippers should be able to dispatch every team within a seven games series. While it is easier said than done, they do have champions on their squad who have been there before (Kawhi, Norm Powell, Coach Ty Lue). Ultimately, it all falls on Kawhi Leonard and if he can play at 100%, it wouldn’t surprise me to see him in the finals once again.
For Milwaukee, it comes down to their role players and Khris Middleton playing at the highest level during the playoffs. I have learned to not doubt Giannis, but like all the great ones, a supporting cast is needed, and having a healthy Middleton is the main factor in the Bucks securing another ring.
The Celtics experienced a level of pain last season that, amongst other things, taught them what it takes to be the best of the best. While Jayson Tatum is young and becoming one of the best players in the league, experiencing the pain of losing in the finals, while not ideal, could be exactly what he needed to ascend his game and take the Celtics to the promised land.
Boston is talented, disciplined and well-coached, and with everything they have at their disposal, there’s no harm in thinking this may be the year for them to win it all.
With all that being said, I still feel a healthy GSW squad will repeat and be the NBA champions once again this season. Their chemistry, competitive young guys and strong bench, plus the core group of Steph, Klay and Draymond, have all the ingredients to be the best team when it matters most.
There are enough weapons with Poole, Wiggins, and Wiseman that their core group can have an off game and still come out with the W. The strength-in-numbers mentality looks like it’ll live on for many years to come and if another ring is added to Steph Curry’s collection… we all need to have a serious chat about his legacy moving forward.
More to Come
Thank you for reading, more will be on the way soon. I have set up a schedule for myself to upload more regularly so please bear with me. Further timeless thoughts are on the way. Share this post with a friend and answer the question below!