Photo credit: Erik Drost/wikicommons. By Matt Spaulding
The NBA season tipped off this past Tuesday, with the Celtics vs 76ers and
Lakers vs Warriors beginning the league’s 76th season of operation. 32 teams will battle for the right to lift the Larry O’Brien trophy in June, as champions of the basketball world. As the season begins to take shape, let’s take a look at a few key storylines entering the season.
Not So Golden In The Bay?
Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors were triumphant in this past season’s NBA Finals, winning a fourth title since Steve Kerr took over as head coach prior to the 2014-15 season.
While the first three Golden State titles were anchored by, primarily, their core group consisting of 2-time MVP Stephen Curry, scoring wizard Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson, one of the best three-point shooters of all time, and Draymond Green, whose tenacity on defense has made the Warriors tough on both ends for over half a decade.
While things looked stellar in San Fran over the summer, the season almost fell apart as soon as it began, with Draymond Green punching Guard Jordan Poole in the face during practice, leading to time away from the team for Green and a lot of pre-season soul searching for the Warriors as a whole.
Will this be the end of the Warriors or just a continuation of one of the great sports dynasties of the 21st century?
New York, New York!(?)
New York sports hasn’t found itself in such a good spot in quite some time. Both baseball franchises qualified for the playoffs this season. The Giants and Jets are both above .500 through the first month and a half of the NFL season. It might seem like we’re living in a parallel universe with all these teams succeeding at the same time, but the buck may stop in the world of basketball.
After making their first playoff appearance in 8 years during the 2020-21 season, the Knicks missed out again last year, sulking back to a 37-45 record. This offseason, the team went out and signed former Villanova standout Jalen Brunson, agreeing to pay him $110 million over four years. Will Brunson be the difference maker for the Knicks to finally start establishing themselves in the league’s upper echelon?
The real talk of the town, however, is the Steve Nash-led Brooklyn Nets. The team has been mired in controversy over the past 12 months. First, Kyrie Irving refused to get vaccinated against COVID-19. That rendered him ineligible to play home games in Brooklyn until late in the season, hurting his team’s efforts on the court significantly.
Over the summer, both Irving and fellow superstar Kevin Durant requested trades, but the situation calmed over time, and now both Irving and KD are getting ready for another season in the BK.
These are just a few of the storylines that are trending to start this NBA season. Last year, the Warriors emerged from a middle-of-the-pack prediction to win it all. Who can reach the mountaintop this year?
Matt Spaulding is a writer for The Voice.