The 2014-2015 NBA season officially kicks off today! Let’s take a look at my top story lines going into the season.
Health is always a key concern for NBA teams. Not just with its superstars, losing a key role player can have a similar affect on a team. After all, we’ve seen the results of team’s that don’t have a solid bench and the physical toll extensive minutes can have on players.
Obviously all eyes will be on Chicago Bulls star Derrick Rose. After missing two seasons, the point guard had a chance to shake off the rust this summer with USA basketball. The East is ripe for the taking with LeBron leaving Miami. Of course his Cavs are looked at as the top team in the East, but there’s a lot of chemistry in the mix with a new head coach, the introduction of both LeBron and Kevin Love, oh and Kyrie not being the team’s leader anymore. And, Kyrie hasn’t been one of the most durable players either.
The Miami Heat need Dwyane Wade healthy in order to be competitive. Chris Bosh will resume the role he had in Toronto as a focal point of the defense. Let’s just point out that it didn’t work out too well in the court with that plan. Perhaps there will be a different result in Miami this season.
What can we expect from Rajon Rondo this season with the Celtics? Rondo is another guy whose been absent from the court for awhile. He’s also not excited about being part of the Celtics rebuilding phase. Will we finally see him traded this season?
It’s season number 19 for Kobe Bryant. When the Black Mamba made his debut in the NBA in 1996. Tupac had just been murdered on the Las Vegas strip, but “California Love” was still at the top of the charts. Kobe’s prom date Brandy was another chart topper with “Sitting up in my room,” and Kobe’s head coach Byron Scott was his teammate.
Kobe’s health is of primary concern, but the Lakers didn’t make a splash in free agency last summer. They’ve also lost Steve Nash for the season again. Le sigh, Kobe is an automatic lock Hall of Famer, but it doesn’t appear that his final two seasons will live up to his standards. But, you never know. Nobody thought the Detroit Pistons would’ve won that title in 2004.
Kevin Durant is out for the start of the season. That means its Russell Westbrook time in Oklahoma City. We know Russ ain’t scared and will go for his, but what happens if KD is hot for longer than expected? In a crowded West, do the Thunder have enough weapons to get the job done. If the Thunder flame out again this year, will management keep the core, and Coach Scott Brooks in place?
The Indiana Pacers are without their All-Star Paul George. Lost a key piece in Lance Stephenson to free agency last summer. And now guard George Hill is injured. Sounds like a LONG season for Larry Bird and Pacers fans.
Most teams will say that the goal every season is to win an NBA title. Regardless as to if that is realistic, they have to say it. But what about those real life scenarios we’re checking for:
DeMarcus “Boogie” cousins is a gold medal winner now. Can he keep his anger in check and stay out of the refs cross hair?
New York Knicks:
Can Phil Jackson work his magic in the front office?
Is Derek Fisher ready for the bright NY spotlight as a rookie head coach?
Can JR Smith learn the triangle and develop a team first attitude?
Year two of the Dwight Howard – James Harden tandem. Did Chandler Parsons leaving have any affect on the team. Will they miss Jeremy Lin? Can they make it to the second round of the playoffs?
Golden State Warriors:
Was letting head coach Mark Jackson walk for Steve Kerr the best move for the team?
Will Klay Thompson get a max extension?
Can the Warriors finally get out of the first round.
Anything less than the finals won’t due. The core of the team is the same. Doc is one of the best coaches in the game, and Sterling is gone. No excuses.
They’re coming. A lot of youth and speed in the Suns backcourt. The Suns could easily move the Memphis Grizzlies out of a playoff spot in the West.
San Antonio Spurs:
Can the San Antonio Spurs work their mojo once again to return to the NBA Finals.
Have the Hornets finally turned the corner in the Michal Jordan era? Are they ready to snatch one of the top 5 spots in the East?
There are three games on tonight, with two being featured on a special Tuesday broadcast on TNT. That means EJ, Chuck, Kenny and Shaq are BACK! Inside the NBA is ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING. Happy we’re back to the hardwood.
- Orlando Magic @ New Orleans Pelicans at 8:00 p.m EST
- Dallas Mavericks @ San Antonio Spurs at 8:00 p.m EST on TNT
- Houston Rockets @ Los Angeles Lakers at 10:30 p.m EST on TNT