“NBA Season Opens-Taking 3 Point Shots”
It’s here. The beginning of the NBA season on Tuesday night, and the dawning of the next era of Lakers basketball. The Lakers and the LeBron James era begins, as we wonder if it will rival Shaq & Kobe, Magic Johnson and Showtime, or the West-Baylor-Chamberlain era of decades ago.
Here’s a look around the NBA-and talking points.
LAKERS…LeBron James is the greatest player in the league right now, equal to all things Michael Jordan in terms of productivity. He walks in the door with the challenge to grow a team around him. Will be fun to see his impact on the growth of Lonzo Ball, and budding young stars Brandon Ingram and Kyle Kozma. The bench has experience, but some volatile personalities. And they seem to have a void at center. This will be a fun basketball season, considering what the Buss family gave us for 5-straight seasons.
WARRIORS…All hands on deck, a unique mix of star players, minus ego, playing together to get rings, not worrying about getting max-contracts. And now you add DeMarco Cousins on a 1-year deal, trying to rally off an injury riddled season. Curry-Klay-KD-Draymond, a very special mix.
BOSTON…They built this with tons of young players, good draft picks, and now the sprinkling of free agents. Gordon Hayward, who came from Utah, got hurt opening night and missed the season. Then Kyrie Irving got hurt and needed surgery, and yet they were there at the end of the season. Brown-Tatum-Horford rounds out a star group staring five.
76ERS…They lost forever, had lots of crippling injuries, and now they believe it is the time to be great. Embid-Simmons-Fultz-Saric. Very good, but very young still-do they have enough depth.
TORONTO..Kawhi Leonard joins a talented roster, and could be to the Raptors what LeBron is to the Lakers. We shall see if this is the NBA version of ‘1-and-Done’ for Leonard, headed to free agency, or whether his unique personality is a perfect fit in a foreign country. The other question, does Kawhi’s quad injury return?
OKLAHOMA CITY…Firepower everywhere, in Russell Westbrook, Paul George and Andre Roberson. Big concern, a lot of miles on Westbrooks’ surgically repaired knee. How long can he keep this pace of playing tons of minutes every night, up?
HOUSTON….It’s about firepower, with James Hardin and Chris Paul, and now you add Carmelo Anthony. Wow. But who plays defense, and does the loss of some defense to free agency hurt Mike D’Antoni’s team?
MINNESOTA…Explode with all that talent, or implode with all those personality issues? A bad preseason with Jimmy Butler making noise all the time about wanting a trade, and the questions about chemistry problems with Karl Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins. Some soap opera season ahead of us in Twin Cities.
WASHINGTON…The Wizards have John Wall and Brad Beal, and now they add Dwight Howard, the soldier of fortune center, who changes teams yearly, and an underrated shooter in Austin Rivers. Lots more talent. Don’t know if this works or not. The key word, team chemistry.
SAN ANTONIO…Life after Kawhi now begins. They’re all gone, now, Leonard-Ginobli-Parker and of course Tim Duncan. Gregg Popovic will be coaching the youngest team ever had.
NEW ORLEANS…Anthony Davis has become a beast of a big man. They lose DeMarco Cousins, but add Julius Randle, the ex-Laker, and still have Jrue Holiday.
PORTLAND…Firepower every night from Damian Lillard and CJ Mccollum, but who else is there to help. Young pups Anfernee Simmons and Gary Trent bear watching.
MILWAUKEE….A superstar no one knows much about, Giannis Anteokoumpo, gets help now with the addition of shooter Brooke Lopez and Ersen Ilyasova. See if they have enough to compliment their star.
MEMPHIS…Grit and grind basketball has gone away with all the injuries to Marc Gasol and Mike Conley, but now they get help from Kyle Anderson and others. Don’t know if it will be enough.
CLEVELAND…King James came home, got them a ring, and now has left for LA. Kevin Love, JR Smith, Larry Nance, but not much else. It will be a long winter in Cleve-town.
DALLAS…The hot Euro rookie Luka Doncic might be the next Dirk Nowitzki, and DeAndre Jordan comes in to play the paint, and the kid Dennis Smith is now a second year player. This is an intriguing roster.
INDIANA…Victor Oladipo became a star last year, and the rest of the young players followed him in a fun season. Holiday-Bogadanovic-Turner all return to the Pacers fold.
UTAH…What a good season, led by Donavan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert. Ricky Rubio fit in and was the glue in the backcourt. The Jazz play team basketball, in the spirit of Jerry Sloan.
MIAMI…Josh Richardson, Hassan Whiteside, Goran Dragic, make up a good starting group, but salary cap problems continue to plague this team, and seem to stop the Heat from adding an additional key part.
CHICAGO…The injury history to Zach LaVine seems to take the shine off what could be a good young team. Jabari Parker joins a front line anchored by Lauri Markkanen, dealing with his own injury issues, but Kris Dunn, budding star is back again.
DETROIT….Blake Griffin and Andre Drummond, but not much else in what has seemed to be a forever rebuilding job in Piston land. The Bad Boys were a long time ago.
CHARLOTTE…Michael Jordan hired Mitch Kupchack to try and get more talent there. It still seems to be Kemba Walker against the world.
LA CLIPPERS…The rebuild is underway. Tobias Harris is a budding star, and Shai Alexander could have a fascinating rookie year, but all the stars are gone, and it will take free agent signings to fix the franchise next summer. The Clippers seem ready to fall of the radar.
DENVER…The Nuggets have young talent, led by Nikola Jokci and Jamal Murray, and they have defense and leadership in Paul Millsap, but they don’t appear to have enough firepower.
ATLANTA….Trae Young-Mikel Bridges-Dennis Shroeder are really good young players, but this is the NBA not the ACC, and the Hawks don’t have enough veteran players.
NY KNICKS.. .David Fizdale inherits a mess. Star Kristaps Porzingas is out till midseason with surgery. They just waived Joakim Noah, taking an 18M salary cap hit. Kevin Knox could be an upcoming star, but the ownership-leadership-roster makeup is a mess.
SACRAMENTO….Marvin Bagley, it’s your turn to lead the Kings out of the abyss. DeAndre Fox, Buddy Hield, and forever losing in Northern California. Don’t know how Vlade Divac keeps his GM job, but then again, the ownership doesn’t know what they’re doing. Cowbell Hell days of Chris Weber are a long time ago aren’t they?
BROOKLYN…..All the oil money of Russian owner Mikhail Prokhorov hasn’t made a bit of difference. The team is either a dumping ground for bad contracts, or stocked with too many kids. Who helps DeAngelo Russell?
PHOENIX…Dysfunction-Junction, the ownership of Robert Sarver. Firing coaches, GMs, front office scouts, bad trades, questionable contracts, bad drafts. Yes, they have top pick DeAndre Ayton and Devin Booker, but what else. You name it-the Suns have done it recently-wrong. Once upon a Jerry Colangleo time, this was a special place to play. And you thought Donald Sterling or Ted Stepien were bad guys?
ORLANDO….A franchise that once had Shaq, Penny Hardaway, and GM-Pat Williams, doesn’t have much nowadays, does it?