The finish of the 2015-2016 NBA season was quite unexpected. The high rolling Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers made it to the NBA finals two times in a row. The Warriors squad consisted of many stars: two-time MVP Stephen Curry, all-star shooting guard Klay Thompson and small forward Draymond Green. While the Cavaliers also had many stars, three- time MVP Lebron James, all-star point guard Kyrie Irving and power forward Kevin Love all combined and made for an interesting finals. The Warriors dominant offense led them to a 3-1 lead but the Cavaliers came back and won the championship title. With the resiliency and leadership of Lebron James, The Cavaliers could not be stopped at the end. After this historical comeback, Lebron James is considered one of the best to ever play the game. Days after this heartbreaking loss for the Warriors,their fan base was still devastated. An off-season signing of arguably one of the best small forwards in the game, Kevin Durant, the Warriors are now known as a “Super Team.”
The 2016-2017 will be the 71st season of the NBA. The first game was on Oct. 25, with the NBA champions, Cavaliers facing the New York Knicks. The Knicks during the off-season acquired former MVP Point Guard Derrick Rose. A couple of seasons ago, Derrick Rose was a star on the Chicago Bulls, until he tore his ACL and was out for four years. The Knicks have a great combination of Veterans, young players, and stars and are set up for a good season. Star small forward Carmelo Anthony has a veteran presence around the Knicks, keeping young cocky stars in check. An upcoming future players you should keep an eye on from the Kicks is Power forward Kristaps Porzingis. Unfortunately for the Knicks, the former NBA champs rolled over them in the NBA opener due to the arsenal of star power the Cavaliers have. Tim Duncan had officially announced his retirement after 19 seasons on the San Antonio Spurs, winning five championships. Another future hall of famer, Kobe Bryant also retired after 18 seasons with the Los Angeles Lakers winning five championships. Center Kevin Garnett also retired. Though he did not get as much recognition as Duncan and Bryant he was still a dominant force ever since 2001. All of these players are substantial losses to each team. The San Antonio Spurs are headed in the right direction with a record of 8-3 having young superstar Kawhi Leonard, 2016 Defensive Player of the year.
Currently, the Toronto Raptors shooting guard C.J. McCollum leads the league in points per game with 32.3 followed by Russel Westbrook and Damian Lillard. Young center Hassan Whiteside from Miami has made his NBA presence by leading the league in rebounds with 15.9. All-star shooting guard James Harden from the Houston Rockets has changed his style of play over the off-season. During 2016 he was a shoot first kind of player not really racking up that many assists but over the off-season the Rockets transformed him into an all-around player and it worked. Harden is now the league leader in assists and 4th in points. The tall 6’11” center, Anthony Davis, leads the league with the most blocks. Veteran point guard Chris Paul has led the league in steals due to his quick hands and speed. Paul has led the league in steals for the past three years. It is no surprise that the Golden State Warriors lead the league in points per game with 116.4 due to all of their star power. Four out of the five starters for the Warriors were all within the top 25 in scoring last year.
Some young underrated teams from the Eastern Conference are the Atlanta Hawks and Indiana Pacers. From the Western Conference, the Portland Trail Blazers are off to a slow start but expected to be a serious playoff contender. Meanwhile the Philadelphia 76ers are in the middle of something called “The process.” This process is where the 76ers purposely become the worst team in the league in order to obtain high draft picks. 3 years ago the 76ers drafted Center Joel Embiid. Embiid broke his foot in his preseason rookie debut and has been out for the past two years. The 76ers last top draft pick was the 6’10 point forward Ben Simmons, considered to be a future top NBA player. The 76ers are headed in the right direction.