Instant verbs that come to mind when describing what has transpired as the NBA offseason so far. Different phases such as free agency, the NBA Draft, and trades have produced what is shaping to be an epic 2017-18 campaign.
As the Golden State Warriors continue lighting cigars and celebrating their second NBA title in three years, the Houston Rockets reloaded with a 9-time All Star in point guard Chris Paul to team with franchise player James Harden. Whether or not the Rockets pose the biggest threat to the Warriors remains to be seen. However, the duo of Paul and Harden will definitely have a say so in the how the playoffs will transpire.
One thing is for sure, the days of the Minnesota Timberwolves being a constant viewer of the playoffs may be coming to an end. The additions of small forward Jimmy Butler and point guard Jeff Teague gives the Wolves much needed weapons alongside center Karl-Anthony Towns and shooting guard Andrew Wiggins. Oh, how can I forget adding more veteran talent in shooting guard Jamal Crawford and power forward Taj Gibson. It’s safe to say that the Wolves are easily a top-4 seed in the playoffs if the starts align for the team.
The Eastern Conference may not have been as active as it’s opposing Western Conference but it has definitely been interesting. The saga that is the Knicks and Carmelo Anthony seems to have no ending in sight. Although it may be best for both parties to find a solution. The crosstown Brooklyn Nets now have a new face in point guard D’Angelo Russell, however, the road for the respectability is still lengthy and years away.
The “Shock Value” needle was active with the interesting, albeit weird trade between the Boston Celtics and the Cleveland Cavaliers. The drama involving point guard Kyrie Irving, LeBron James and the Cavs became public very quickly and led to Irving heading to Boston in exchange for point guard Isaiah Thomas, forward Jae Crowder, and the Nets 2018 first round pick (which can very well be a top-3 pick overall). The pendulum continues to sway between these two franchises as the best in the East, even with the swapping of scoring point guards.
The Celtics also signed some big name free agent in Gordon Hayward. A signing that considerably closed the gap (which was fairly narrow to begin with) between the Celtics and the Cavaliers.
Of course the resurgent Philadelphia 76ers are planning on inputting their two cents. After drafting point guard Markelle Fultz first overall, signing veteran JJ Redick, and receive positive health signs for 2016 first overall pick Ben Simmons, maybe, just maybe the Sixers can be a borderline playoff team. Just maybe. I said maybe. Keyword: maybe.
Maybe the pairing of shooting guard Paul George and point guard Russell Westbrook in Oklahoma City can produce long-term success. By long-term success, I mean both being a member of the Thunder for longer than just this season. Based on the fact that the Los Angeles Lakers with their new sports car in point guard Lonzo Ball are secretly passing love notes to George that show their intentions on making him a Laker in 2018.
Speaking of point guards, anyone notice how the New Orleans Pelicans are planning on experimenting their two All-Star big men in Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins with Rajon Rondo and $131 million dollar Jrue Holiday. While I don’t want to say this is a disaster waiting to happen, I also don’t want to say that this is the right combination to help transcend the Pelicans over the hump. Of course things seem to be much more coordinated with the other Los Angeles team in the Clippers. The foundation is in place with big men Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan but a lot is counted on the production of small forward Danilo Gallinari. It is also easy to view this season as a hot seat season for Clippers head coach Doc Rivers.
Funny that I mentioned the Lakers earlier. Because now the keys to the franchise are in the hands of Ball after a stellar freshman season at UCLA. It is also worth noting that the Lakers also acquired his father, LaVar Ball, in some sort of odd fashion. The outspoken father has made as many headlines with his hot takes as his son has made on the hardwood. In actuality, the spirit of the Ball gels quite well with the limelight franchise that is the Lakers.
The NBA offseason. More so of a festival of strategic personnel moves, controversy, and the welcoming of fresh faces from the collegiate level. The season begins in October but this year’s offseason has truly kept us compelled.