This upcoming NBA season comes with a lot more intrigue than the last few. Superstars have left. Sidekicks turned superstars are now asked to lead. A third year rookie finally making his debut. A Miami legend going to Chicago, and a hometown Chicago kid going to New York. Hell, the defending champion Cleveland Cavaliers, who return every single important piece to their championship team, aren't even the favorites going in the season. Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, Joel Embiid, Dwyane Wade, Derrick Rose, and the possibility of Cavs-Warriors III are just a handful of players and storylines that will make the 2016/17 season one of the most interesting in a long time.
I like to break down NBA teams the same way I do NFL quarterbacks, by tiers: Elite, Championship contenders, Playoff hopefuls, and the Los Angeles Lakers. The Cavaliers, Warriors, and Spurs are who I would consider elite. The Raptors, Clippers, and Celtics would fall into championship contenders. The Minnesota Timberwolves, New York Knicks, Orlando Magic and Utah Jazz would fall into the category of playoff hopefuls. The Sacramento Kings, Denver Nuggets, and Philadelphia 76ers fall into the dreaded Los Angeles Lakers category. More teams fall into each category, but I chose to give you the most obvious.
The team that a lot of people have their eyes on is the Minnesota Timberwolves. Some have suggested that Karl Anthony Towns is the best big man in the game. Add in Andrew Wiggins, rookie Kris Dunn, Ricky Rubio, and new head coach Tom Thibodeau and you would have to wonder how this team doesn't make the playoffs.
Earlier I mentioned the Toronto Raptors, Boston Celtics, Chicago Bulls, and the New York Knicks. Honorable mention is all they deserve. ESPN, FS1, and every other outlet will drool over these non-factors all season for absolutely no reason. I'll pass.
Cavaliers vs. Warriors in the 2017 NBA Finals.
Enjoy the show!