By Sayo Jolayemi and Jacob Kersh
This year’s NBA season will certainly be an interesting one, primarily due to the significant amount of change and interesting events that have occurred during the offseason.
First and perhaps the most significant, former Oklahoma City forward Kevin Durant decided to sign with the Golden State Warriors, shocking the entire league. With a starting lineup of Durant, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, Zaza Pachulia, and 2016 league MVP Stephen Curry, the Golden State Warriors have arguably constructed one of the best starting fives in NBA history – one that has the opportunity to win multiple championships. The Los Angeles Lakers have unfortunately lost the legendary Kobe Bryant to retirement, but they now have a remarkably youthful team that could be formidable in the near future. The Minnesota Timberwolves have also assembled a team of youthful players as well, and with previous Rookies of the Year, Andrew Wiggins and Karl Anthony-Towns they look capable of dominating the league in a few years. Additionally, the Dallas Mavericks have refined their lineup during the offseason by signing former Warriors members Harrison Barnes and Andrew Bogut.
The Eastern Conference has also improved significantly in comparison to last year. The New York Knicks have acquired Derrick Rose along with Joakim Noah from the Chicago Bulls, and the Bulls have picked up Dwyane Wade from the Miami Heat. However, LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers remain a force to be reckoned with – especially after their stellar 3-1 comeback performance for last year’s title. In fact, many league analysts have stated that LeBron, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love are poised for another appearance in the NBA finals. And although the Toronto Raptors, Indiana Pacers and Boston Celtics did not make drastic changes, with some new key roles players they now have rosters that could contend for the number one seed in the east.
As the season finally begins, one of the league’s most favored MVP candidates is Russell Westbrook. He plays with a certain swagger and demeanor that is not found in many other superstars, and because of Durant’s departure from the Oklahoma City Thunder, he will be left to lead them by himself. However, with players like; Kawhi Leonard, Paul George and James Harden, and last year’s MVP Curry, playing in their prime, the decision should be anything but unanimous.
The 2016 NBA season will lead to a dynamic story arc for many athletes and teams this year, so only one question currently remains – will your favorite team end up on top?