Players Expected to Have Breakout Seasons
The Brooklyn Nets’ offseason was the envy of every other team in the Eastern Conference. General Manager Sean Marks secured the signatures of superstars Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant as well as ex-Knicks center DeAndre Jordan. While many predict the Nets to be one year away due to Durant’s recovery from an Achilles tear, Irving is one to watch. The former Celtics point guard had a tumultuous season in Boston but says he learned about leadership in failure and joins a playoff team that won 42 games last year.
D’Angelo Russell broke out as the starting point guard for that Nets team but was moved in a sign-and-trade to Golden State for Durant. Russell was the number 2 overall pick in 2015’s draft for the Lakers but only found his groove last season in Brooklyn. The 23 year old will share a backcourt with two-time MVP Stephen Curry.
Durant’s exit and All-Pro shooting guard Klay Thompson’s ongoing recovery from an ACL tear suffered in the Finals have many predicting the Dub’s dynasty is over. Golden State has +1200 odds to win their fourth title since 2015 but players are relishing in their long odds. Forward Draymond Green said he “missed that [underdog] chip.”
Pelicans Reloaded with Youth Talent
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A nascent dynasty could be forming in New Orleans. The Pelicans’ revamped front office parlayed number 1 overall pick Zion Williamson with a trade for the Lakers’ young core of Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart and multiple draft picks. The move saw superstar Davis leave for LA but the basketball future appears bright in the Big Easy.
Williamson is the favorite to win the Rookie of the Year Award despite a multi-week absence to start the season with a lingering knee issue. Former Duke teammate RJ Barrett is another rookie with big expectations in the Big Apple as is number 2 overall pick Ja Morant in Memphis.
The championship potential of this NBA season is more spread out than years in recent memory. While the odds favor the Larry O’Brien Trophy to return to LA, if there’s one thing we learned from last season in Toronto – nothing is guaranteed.