While recently visiting the NBA building in Secaucus, NJ, I was asked, “What are the biggest storylines in the NBA right now?” The question kind of took me by surprise, but I offered a few on the spot. First, who’s going to beat the Warriors after somehow getting better in the offseason? Then, I immediately thought of all the young talent in the league; particularly Lonzo Ball and how the Lakers built a solid surrounding cast around him — but they’re must-watch TV because of Lonzo and the hype surrounding him by itself. I then mentioned how ball-hoggers Chris Paul and James Harden will compliment each other, the young, strong core of the Timberwolves and their potential this season, and then of course the drama surrounding King James, Kyrie Irving and the Cleveland Cavaliers. Now that I’ve had some time to digest the question, I want to offer some more.
The first thing that came to my mind after it was already too late was the Philadelphia 76ers. I’m still killing myself over not mentioning them. Joel Embiid took the league by storm last season — when he was playing, they were truly electrifying to watch. Now with Markelle Fultz and Ben Simmons joining the lineup, a fully healthy squad will turn the Sixers into legit competitors for the first time in years.
I then thought about Carmelo Anthony and his fate; he’s still a valuable asset at this point of his career, and he could be the difference maker to a team like the Rockets that are ready to compete for a title. Will he remain a Knick, or play elsewhere for the first time in years?
How could I forget the Thunder? Coming off an MVP season, Russell Westbrook is now joined by one of the best players in the league. Paul George hasn’t played with a superstar like Russ, and it’s going to be interesting to watch how they do together.
What about the Boston Celtics? Did they finally do enough to take down LeBron in the East? Gordon Hayward and Jayson Tatum are big additions to a squad that was already a few games away from accomplishing that feat last season.
These are just a few NBA storylines; the league got criticized for a boring, predictable postseason in 2016, but the fact of the matter is that the league is in a great place with a ton of young talent. I’m excited for the 2017 season, and you should be, too.