So now that Major League Baseball is finally winding down and with the NFL finding itself in mid-stride, the NBA tips off its 2015-2016 season. There are plenty of uncertainty around the season. If, but and maybe is the narrative around the roundball this season. So here’s oour take on the new NBA season demonstrated in five observations.
One and Done
Don’t expect a repeat from the Golden State Warriors. Smallball, with MVP Stephen Curry and his Splash Brothers backcourt mate, Klay Thompson, was a great storyline last year. It played out pretty well as the Warriors ran circles around everyone on their way to beating LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers to claim the NBA title. The Western Conference is stacked with talent-loaded teams, but Curry and the Warriors will have their moments where they will shine.
However, this is a new day. The Los Angeles Clippers, San Antonio Spurs and Oklahoma Thunder have re-stocked the shelves of their rosters to try to rip away the Warriors championship belt. In so many words, as great as Curry and Thompson are, the Warriors are One and Done as champs.
It’s been a good run. Now it’s time for the fantastic finish. It’s crazy to think that this could be Kobe Bryant’s last season with the Los Angeles Lakers. But this is where we’re at. The last couple of seasons have been forgettable for the Lakers and the Black Mamba as Bryant have been sidelined with an assortment of season-ending injuries.
And there are some folks who have written off Bryant because of his age and those injuries, fearing that we have seen the best of the Black Mamba already. I would beg to differ, and would like to think that Bryant will come back and finish strong to remind everyone why he is called the Black Mamba. Expect to see No. 8 and the Lakers in the postseason.
Calling down the Thunder
This may be the last act for Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. The super duo may have one last run in them to claim an NBA championship. If they do, this is the year. Durant has been basically written off because of the foot injury that kept him off the floor last season.
The former league MVP will more likely come into the NBA season on fire, burning with the quiet inferno of hearing critics over the past year. Westbrook is the most unstoppable player in the NBA. I expect Durant and Westbrook to be on a season-long tear, kicking butt and taking names along the way.
The Los Angeles Clippers are in a must-win or bust season, whether people say it or not. The Clippers were essentially 14 minutes away from moving to the next level last season. But that forgettable 3-1 semifinals playoff series meltdown against the Houston Rockets has turned this season into a “get it done and no excuse” season for the Clippers.
Doc Rivers went out and upgraded his roster where, if you review on paper, is the deepest bench in the NBA. There is a sense that anything less than an appearance in the NBA Finals will not be a good look for the Clippers. That is how high the expectations are for this team. Blake Griffin, Chris Paul, DeAndre Jordan, Paul Pierce, Lance Stephenson, Josh Smith, Jamal Crawford and J.J. Redick sounds like an unbeatable force. We’ll see how it all plays out.
And the MVP will be…
Until someone knocks him off his mantle, Stephen Curry is still the best player in the league. But either Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook=or both-will make a strong push for the MVP title this season. If Kobe Bryant stays healthy and decides to go on a rampage one last time and takes his team to the playoffs, don’t be surprised if the Black Mamba is in the middle of the conversation.