The 2017/18 NBA season is starting soon and, after a summer full of blockbuster trades and an exciting new pool of rookies , basketball fans have a lot to look forward to this year.
Here are the four teams to keep an eye on this season:
1 Golden State Warriors
The defending champions and possibly the greatest team the world has ever seen, the Golden State Warriors have more talent than any other in the league by a large margin. They have two top- three players in Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant, and two more top-15 players in Klay Thompson and Draymond Green.
With their fast-paced, run and gun play; and a knack for making the most outrageous shots, the Warriors are heavily favoured to win it all again this year. They’ve also shored up their bench with 11-year veteran guard Nick Young (also known as Swaggy P) from the Lakers, and forward Omri Casspi, who can also consistently hit three pointers.
As great as this team is, that is a lot of pressure to carry on their shoulders. We’ll see if an injury or a possible clash between mega stars Curry and Durant derail their seemingly inevitable title run.
2 Cleveland Cavaliers
They still have the man who has been the consensus best player in the world for almost a decade – LeBron James. But at 32 years old, there are a lot of questions about how much longer he can keep that title. There have also been reports of him leaving his home team for the second time – this time for the Los Angeles Lakers. He was recently spotted in LA looking at schools for his two sons.
Their jaw-dropping trade with the Boston Celtics this summer also saw the departure of their second best player, Kyrie Irving. While they got a good return with Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder and draft picks , there are doubts about whether LeBron, who has made an incredible seven consecutive finals, will be able to make his eighth.
Thomas became a superstar for the Celtics last year despite being just 1.75 metres tall. But after suffering a serious hip injury, it is uncertain how much game time he will miss.
3 The Boston Celtics
The “green team” didn’t just obtain Irving; they also signed star free agent Gordon Hayward, nicknamed “G-Time”, this summer. Hayward was coached by Celtics’ coach Brad Stevens at university, so the chemistry is already there.
With a host of quality players and having made the Eastern Conference Finals last year, there are hopes that the Celtics can become the first Eastern Conference team to defeat LeBron in a playoffseries in eight years. Fun fact: they were the last team to do it way back in 2010, which prompted LeBron to leave the Cavaliers for the Miami Heat. Are we about to see history repeat itself?
4 Houston Rockets
The other “super” trade this summer was the one which sent Los Angeles Clippers’ star point guard Chris Paul to the Houston Rockets to team up with last year’s MVP runner-up James Harden. Paul and Harden have a lot in common – they are both top 10 players, immensely talented and arguably the two smartest players in the league. They are incredible passers, both having led the league in assists in their careers, and they can both score efficiently.
However, there is something else they have in common. Both like to have the ball in their hands – a lot. They are talented dribblers and decision makers, and enjoy calling the shots.
Will the two smart players find a way to make it work? Or will they be fighting among themselves to decide who will be Batman , and who will be Robin?