Crowning champs, blockbuster trades, free agents finding new homes, a secret pick-up game, hoodies, burner twitter accounts, new uniforms and one LaVar Ball thrown in there to top it all off. A wild and highly interesting NBA off-season only seemed fitting for the highly anticipated beginning of the 2017/2018 NBA season.
Set to kick-off this Tuesday, hungry NBA fans will get their fix with a pair of games featuring four of the most intriguing teams coming into the season.
The new look and revamped Boston Celtics will take on LeBron James and the reigning kings of the East, Cleveland Cavaliers, in the first game, while fans will get their first taste of the new dynamic backcourt that was assembled in Houston, with Chris Paul and James Harden taking on the defending champs Steph Curry, Kevin Durant and the Golden State Warriors in the latter game.
As the NBA season gets under way next week, we will finally get to see how all these roster moves and plot lines that were developed in the off-season will play out as games start meaning something and teams battle it out over the grueling 82 game season.
Below, I look to dive into some of the bigger story lines and potential side plots that were brought forth during the off-season.
If there was one thing this off-season didn’t fall short of, would be the list of big names packing up and finding new homes. In the what seems like the new trend, the quest for a “super-team” hit fifth gear during the off-season as marquee names like Chris Paul, Paul George, Carmelo Anthony, Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward have left ship in search for greener grass, the opportunity to play with fellow all-stars and improve their bid for a championship.
With the Golden State Warriors sitting atop the West with their cast of all-stars which include former MVPs Curry and Durant, regaining Defensive Player of the Year Draymond Green, Klay Thompson and a slew of role players that fuel the engine that’s run by coach Steve Kerr, the Warriors are in position to hold their spot as the team to beat for years to come, which is leaving the rest of the NBA scrambling to load up their rosters in hopes to contend with the all-star fire power the Warriors have been able to stockpile.
This term of “super-team” has been the talk of the off-season with the Warriors being the model definition of such, though several NBA franchises have taken measures to create their own version of a “super team” by bringing together top tier players together.
The Houston Rockets and Oklahoma City Thunder were the biggest buyers during the off-season in efforts to keep pace with the Warriors. The Rockets were able to sway Paul, one of the most formidable pointguards in the NBA, away from the Los Angeles Clippers with a trade in June to form what looks to be one the most dynamics backcourt’s in recent history with the ever tantalizing lefty, James Harden, who finished second in MVP voting.
The Thunder on the other hand, were able to add not just one but two perennial all-stars in Paul George and Carmelo Anthony to play alongside last years MVP, Russell Westbrook. Bringing in George from the Indiana Pacers and Anthony from the New York Knicks, both via trades, will add star power along side the most explosive player in the NBA in Westbrook, something Westbrook has surely missed last season with the departure of Durant in the previous off-season.
In arguably the biggest move the off-season, Irving shook up the NBA and the landscape of the entire Eastern Conference when requesting for a trade from the Cleveland Cavaliers in July and was shipped up to Boston in a trade for the ages which saw the face of the Boston Celtics franchise, Isaiah Thomas, getting swapped for Irving and sent to join forces with LeBron and company in Cleveland.
This was all after the Celtics already made the big signing of free agency with bringing in former Utah Jazz forward, Hayward, to bolster the offensive load in the front court.
Outside of the fury of trades and signings, this year’s off-season was one the more interesting ones to date. We discovered that the use of a fake twitter account to defend yourself is a real thing when Durant made the mistake of not switching from his real account and taking aim at his former team and organization, the Thunder.
The internet was blessed with an inside look at a secretly organized pick-up game which included Durant, LeBron, Anthony, J.R. Smith of the Cavaliers, and Enes Kanter of the Thunder.
Anthony and his wearing of a hoodie while playing and practicing has earned him self a new identity as, “hoodie Melo”. And finally, the world has either fallen in love or found their new favorite person to hate with the ever eccentric personality of LaVar Ball, the father of second overall pick and new Los Angeles Laker, Lonzo Ball.
As the 2017/2018 NBA season gets jump started this Tuesday, sit back, kick your feet up, grab some popcorn, and enjoy all that is the NBA regular season, it’s sure to be an interesting one!
Max Randolph is fourth-year student majoring in English with a minor in journalism. He can be reached at MR829829@wcupa.edu.