The Aerial View
With the fascinating homecoming narrative of Lebron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers already in the books, the 2016-17 NBA season promises a very different set of tantalizing threads.
The action tips off on October 25, as the revamped Knicks travel to Cleveland on championship banner night and the loaded Warriors host the Tim Duncan-less Spurs. After that, it’s full steam ahead until June and a Finals matchup that seems preordained.
The drama begins of course with The Golden State Warriors and their new superstar Kevin Durant. They will go into the 2016-17 season hungry to avenge last year’s devastating Finals loss to the Cavs. They would love nothing better than to rip through the regular season and get another chance against to take on Lebron and the defending champs. And to many observers, the rematch seems inevitable. But whether Warriors-Cavs becomes a trilogy or not, there’s plenty of action on the undercard to keep us entertained.
The Eastern Conference
Is there anyone in Eastern Conference that poses a legitimate threat to the Cavaliers’ dominance? Many experts don’t think so, not with Lebron regaining his status as the league’s best player and the continued improvement of Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love. The Cavs have always had incredible talent, but last season saw them develop a chemistry that might just make them unbeatable in the East.
There are plenty of great story lines in the middle of the Eastern pack this season, but only a few teams seem capable of pushing the Cavs in the playoffs. Fresh off the Olympic Gold Medal that cemented his elite status, Paul George finally has a capable supporting cast in Indiana. The additions of Jeff Teague and Thaddeus Young will give the Pacers the offensive versatility they’ve lacked for years.
The Toronto Raptors might have a say in who comes out of the East this year as well. The Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan alone should net them a top four seed, but with a decent supporting cast and No. 9 draft pick Jakob Poetl, coach Dwane Casey might be able to coax another Conference Finals appearance out of his group.