With a brand new NBA regular season just around the corner, now is the time to have a look around the league and see which teams could be serious contenders. Fans are excited as their favourite teams get a brand new start, teams that can put it all together might just get another shot at a Championship, and the defending champions, the Cleveland Cavaliers will test the league and try to go back-to-back.
There will be a lot of focus on the Cleveland Cavaliers as they return having won it all last season. With LeBron James the cornerstone of a what is a robust and deep team talent wise, the team has remained relatively unchanged with the notable exclusion of Matthew Dellavedova who signed with the Milwaukee Bucks during the off-season. The real question surrounding this team and if they can repeat is how they will handle the pressure come June. If the Cavs can make to another finals series, it would mark the seventh straight for LBJ.
The New York Knicks have been a huge talking point over the off-seaosn after a big trade that saw the team pick up Joakim Noah & Derrick Rose from the Chicago Bulls. Questions around Rose and his health over the last few seasons still remain, but the biggest question is the off-court trial in which Rose faces rape charges. Will this affect his performance and possibly the teams? Only time will tell. If the team manages to stay healthy and not get distracted by off-court factors, they stand a real chance of making the finals.
The Golden State Warriors made one of the biggest moves in recent seasons when they secured all-star Kevin Durant. In a massive deal that had the entire league talking, questions soon turned to how the starting line-up would work considering that the Warriors already possessed a strong starting 5. Pre-season games indicate that things are rolling smoothly in San Fransisco. On paper, this team is set to be a strong contender and possibly make it back to the NBA Finals for a rematch against the Cavaliers.
The Chicago Bulls hope to make the most of the 2016-17 season after off-season signings of Dwayne Wade and Rajon Rondo. These two teaming up with All-Star and USA Basketball Gold Medalist, Jimmy Butler promises some real excitement. The real question is how many games can Wade manage this year and how will Rondo fit into the team. This is Rondo's 4th team in 3 years which could present a real problem for the Bulls if he can't blend in with the team. Like the Knicks, the focus will be on health and team moral. If the Bulls can stay fit, who knows where they could end up come the end of the 2016/17 NBA season.
Other notable mentions go to the Los Angeles Lakers who will be looking to pull away from the bottom of the ladder this season as they finished up with 17-65 at the end of last season. After Kobe Bryant's retirement, many see the future as bright for Hollywood's favourite basketball team. From the Eastern Conference, the Philadelphia 76ers looked to be on track with the signing of No.1 draft pick Ben Simmons, but after a serious foot injury, the young star is set to miss at least three months which spells trouble for Phillies favourite team.
With less than 2 weeks until the regular season is due to get underway, only time will tell which team will put all of the pieces together and win that elusive NBA Champion.