The lights of the arena are turned on for the first time, players lace up their shoes and try to get back into their routines and coaches yell while drills are run – all of this can mean only one thing.
The NBA season is upon us.
Last season ended with perhaps two of the greatest performances in finals history as LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers and Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors went head to head, with Curry carrying the Warriors to their first title and earning himself finals MVP.
After a flurry of moves in the offseason that saw a lot of teams upgrading rosters in hopes of dethroning the likes of the Cavaliers and the Warriors from atop their respective conferences, some teams regressed, such as the Portland Trailblazers, who lost LaMarcus Aldridge to the San Antonio Spurs in the offseason.
A lot of anticipation surrounds Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant as he comes back from shoulder surgery that cost him all of last season. Los Angeles’s other team, the Clippers, made some headlines in the offseason, as they signed Paul Pierce, but none were as big as DeAndre Jordan spurning the Dallas Mavericks at the last minute to resign with the team.
There will be a lot of really good games the first two months of the season. Ones I will be keeping an eye on will be:
- October 28: The Minnesota Timberwolves @ Lakers. The top two picks from last year’s draft, Minnesota’s Karl-Anthony Towns and the Lakers’ D’Angelo Russell, square off. Russell has called himself the best player out of this year’s draft class. ESPN is broadcasting the game, so the whole country will see if this rings true under the lights at Staples Center.
- November 11: Clippers @ Mavericks. Deandre Jordan comes to Dallas for the first time since backing out of his deal to sign with the Mavericks. I’m sure fans will give him a warm reception.
- December 5: Cavaliers @ Miami Heat. Sports fans remember back in 2010 when LeBron left the Cavaliers to take his talents to South Beach in “The Decision” and then resigned with the Cavaliers two seasons ago. This game is always highly anticipated and this year will be no different.
- December 25: Cavaliers @ Warriors. Christmas Day basketball always has great games and this year is no exception. No doubt the Cavaliers will be out seeking revenge as they try to avenge last season’s final loss.
Now it’s time for my way early NBA Finals predictions. Last year was the Cavaliers and the Warriors and based on what I have seen in the offseason, I believe we will have the same two teams in again in 2016. Both of these teams are just too talented. Watch out for sleeper teams such as the Clippers out of the Western Conference. Also, Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, and Deandre Jordan are as good a trio as there is the NBA and if Derrick Rose can stay healthy (and that’s a big if) the Bulls can make a run at a title.
The NBA season kicks off Oct. 27 as the Cavaliers and the Bulls open up the season at the United Center in Chicago.