Stefan’s Sports Wrap

October 18th, 2017 by The Professor

The NBA season is finally upon us! After months of crazy and unpredictable moves during free agency and through blockbuster trades, the squads have been finalized and ready to fight for a championship. Unless you are the Golden State Warriors of course, as you basically have nothing to worry about. Let’s jump right into some predictions and storylines for the 2017-2018 NBA season!

Let’s start with the lowly Eastern Conference. Despite the transactions made by the Cavaliers and Celtics to vy for the top spot in the conference, the Eastern half of the NBA is still leaps and bounds behind the Western Conference in talent and interest. The best overall player in the game, King Lebron James, is still with the Cavs, which automatically puts them in contention for a fourth straight Finals appearance. But, the #1 seed for a season ago, Boston Celtics, have made some monster moves themselves to try and catapult themselves into the discussion of teams who can take down the juggernaut that is Cleveland. The opening day roster for the C’s only has four…let that sink in…four returning players from last year’s 53-win team. This is unprecedented in the history of the NBA, but the players gained over the summer months may have made up for their significant losses. In the trade of the summer with the rival Cavaliers, the Celtics lost their leader and star point-guard Isaiah Thomas, small-forward Jae Crowder and the Brooklyn Nets pick for the upcoming draft pick (which will probably be a good

considering the Nets are paying Timofey Mozgov almost 20 million dollars a year.) This was extremely surprising, as general manager Danny Ainge was stubborn with giving away his top future asset in previous deals that ultimately fell through (for Jimmy Butler and Paul George.) After Thomas’ MVP-caliber season, giving him away to a competitor was a shock to Celtic fans everywhere. But who’d they get in return? A taller, stronger and better all-around player in Kyrie Irving. Although it took a few key parts of the organization to get him, the C’s got the best player in the deal, and with Thomas’ questionable injury history, including a hip injury that will keep him out until at least Christmas, the Celtics look like they stole a superstar for a undersized All-Star and streaky role player in Crowder. Along with the big free agent signing of former Utah Jazz star Gordon Hayward, who played under coach Brad Stevens at Butler University, this Celtics team is, plain and simple, better than last year. Those two huge acquisitions, coupled with the growth of second-year guard Jaylen Brown and rookie Jayson Tatum, the team in green looks poised to pose a much greater threat than the one did just a few months ago. In the end, though, the greatness of Lebron will push the Cavs to another Finals appearance, but it’ll take six or seven grueling victories to get there. Once Lebron retires, the Boston Celtics look to become the next king of the East.

As for the West, it’s much more of a toss-up. Or rather a toss up for who comes in second. The Warriors looked destined to reach the Finals again, as they were able to retain basically the same exact roster as the championship team from a year ago. The 400 million dollar contract will keep Steph Curry around for the foreseeable future, and Kevin Durant is still one of the top three players in the league today. But, besides the dominance the Warriors will present to the entire league, the Western Conference is chock full of juicy storylines. Just as the East had drama, the West had even more. First it was Chris Paul, who was traded to the Houston Rockets to join James Harden and Co., who look to take that next step in competing with the unbeatable Dubs. It will be interesting to see how a great passer like CP3 and a terrific scorer like Harden will matchup with the Warriors, but it will ultimately fall short due to the superteam effect that Golden State has created. Houston also seemed like the destination for Carmelo Anthony, but to much surprise, he was traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder for a bag of potatoes. Just proves the genius of Phil Jackson. Sarcasm if you couldn’t catch on. But Melo, who wore a hoodie throughout the summer while playing pick up with other NBA stars, joins reigning MVP Russell Westbrook, and ex-Pacer Paul George, who looks to make a run at a title before jumping off the OKC train and playing for his hometown Lakers (at least that’s what he said he is destined to do.) This team, not the Rockets, has the best shot at challenging the Warriors in the Conference Finals, which will be much more entertaining than the actual Finals series. Westbrook is much more physical than Curry, George can match up with KD, and Melo can be a huge X-factor in close game situations. I’m looking forward to seeing this matchup, as Westbrook will still be fueled by the betrayal Durant pulled on him last offseason. He might also be motivated after signing his lucrative $205 million extension in September. The Spurs are still there, as Kawhi Leonard continues to confirm himself as the best two-way player in the league, but he doesn’t have anywhere near enough help around him to have a realistic chance at beating the Warriors in a seven game set. Unless Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins can turn superhuman and dominate the glass and paint like they are capable of, there is no team in the West, or in the league, that equipped with talent and depth like the Warriors. Golden State will reign supreme once again this year, and for years to come.

Leave a Reply

Download Our iPhone App Download Our iPhone App