Teams to Watch Out For in the 2017-18 NBA Season
From left, Golden State Warriors' Shaun Livingston, Stephen Curry, Draymond Green, and Kevin Durant wait for their NBA championship rings during a ring ceremony prior to the basketball game against the Houston Rockets Tuesday, Oct. 17, 2017, in Oakland, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
First off, praises to the most high: the NBA is back.
Many teams made impactful moves during the whirlwind of an offseason, while some managed to do well by retaining their key personnel. Now, we’ll finally see how the pieces fit and play out on the court. With that said, here are the teams positioned as NBA title contenders for the 2017-18 season.
Oklahoma City Thunder
After Kevin Durant left OKC, who would’ve imagined the Thunder bouncing back as fast as they did with their blockbuster acquisitions of Paul George and Carmelo Anthony? Only general manager Sam Presti and his bag of tricks, perhaps. Those two All-Stars plus reigning MVP Russell Westbrook make the Thunder one of the most talented teams in the league. Regardless of whether or not they have enough to dethrone the defending champs, it’s already a major win for their fan base to have Russ re-sign for the long term.
Last season, James Harden evolved into a point guard in coach Mike D’Antoni’s offense. With Chris Paul in tow, it will be interesting to see how CP3 acclimates himself with sharing ballhandling duties with his fellow All-Star in the backcourt. Mike D’Antoni expressed that he isn’t worried about Paul’s fit into the system, stating that all great players figure it out eventually. It may take them some time to do so but once they click, the West better watch out.
After piling trade assets for years, Celtics general manager Danny Ainge finally pulled the trigger by sending key players and picks for All-Star guard Kyrie Irving. Irving now teams up with Al Horford and newly acquired Gordon Hayward (who’s currently sidelined after a devastating ankle injury), and they‘re expected to lead the Celtics atop the Eastern Conference. The Cavaliers stand in their way, but Boston’s equipped with the right personnel to have the best chance of pulling it off.
Cleveland‘s offseason was geared towards retooling for another title run with the All-Star acquisitions of Isaiah Thomas, Derrick Rose, and Dwyane Wade. In addition, the Cavs managed to snag Jae Crowder and the Brooklyn Nets‘ 2018 first-round pick from Boston, with their sights set on maintaining roster flexibility for the future. With LeBron heading into free agency next year, it remains to be seen if the Cavaliers‘ revamped squad is enough to take down the reigning NBA Champions to bring the title back home to The Land.
Golden State Warriors
But, of course. With two championships in three seasons, the Warriors are at the onset of elevating their ranks into the pantheon of the league’s greatest champions should they emerge on top this year. With Steph Curry and Kevin Durant signing new deals this offseason, the Warriors should remain the team to beat for the foreseeable future. Locking up Steph for the next five years reflects Golden State’s commitment to winning—because Curry’s still the same man that won’t let the Warriors down.
Steph Curry continues to perform at a high level because he depends on the World’s No. 1 Deodorant to stay cool and confident. The two-time MVP only trusts Rexona Ice Cool to help him feel dry and fresh all day, so he can be his best on the court, and even off it.
Aside from those teams, there’s also the enduring Spurs, the process-trusting Sixers, the young Bucks, as well as the up-and-coming Timberwolves, among others. The NBA doesn’t have a shortage of teams to watch out for, so it looks like we’re going to have another stellar season of hoops.