The 2014-15 NBA Regular Season Preview
By Jacob G.
The 69th National Basketball Association (NBA) Regular Season is just around the corner. The first three of 1,230 games begins on October 28, and continues all the way to April 15th.
There are many changes and additions for this season. First of all, on July 11th, LeBron James announced that he would be returning to the Cleveland Cavaliers and said, “I’m coming home.” That triggered a series of events including the Kevin Love trade, along with a bunch of new players to Cleveland. So now that there’s a new “Big 3” in Cleveland–LeBron James, Kevin Love, and point guard Kyrie Irving– the Cavaliers are one of the favourites to win the NBA Championship. Another event that occurred was the Kevin Love trade, which happened on August 23rd. James and Love were talking about playing together over the past few years, so after playing with the Minnesota Timberwolves for six seasons, he was traded to the Cavaliers in exchange the 2013 top pick, small forward, Anthony Bennett, and the 2014 top pick, small forward, Andrew Wiggins. Here’s what’s so interesting about that: they are both Canadian!
This year, Los Angeles Laker’s franchise player Kobe Bryant returns after overcoming injuries sustained last season. Kobe is now 36 years old and looks to pass Michael Jordan for the 3rd most career regular season points (at 31,700, Kobe needs 592 more points to surpass Jordan’s 32,292 points). Bryant was the NBA’s highest paid player receiving $30,453,805 last year, even though he only played six games. For the sixth consecutive year, Kobe will once again be the highest paid player, receiving $23,500,000. Derrick Rose of the Chicago Bulls will also be returning to the NBA after knee problems. Rose played with Team USA in the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup.
The San Antonio Spurs look to repeat as NBA Champions, after beating the Miami Heat in five games. The Spurs have won the past five of 16 NBA Championships. The Spurs are a good team, but there are other talented teams in the NBA as well. Only time will tell who will win the Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy-and the NBA Championship.
Below, I will rank all 30 teams in the NBA, on predicted wins and how they will finish in the regular season. Please comment to share your opinion down below.
LeBron James (Top)
Kevin Love (Middle)
Kyrie Irving (Bottom)
|The number one player on the ESPN Top 500, LeBron James returns to Cleveland to play with Point Guard Kyrie Irving, and Power Forward Kevin Love. James has been the League MVP four times in his career, and will continue to show the world he will be the best NBA player of all time, by perhaps moving into the top 20 for the most points scored in his career. Love, who was ranked 7th in the NBA Top 500, averaged 26.1 points last season. Irving has averaged 20.7 points in three seasons with Cleveland. Overall, Cleveland will win the most games in the regular season in the NBA, will be the best team in the Eastern Conference, and will return to the playoffs for the first time in the past five seasons (the last time they made it, was the 2009-10 season, when LeBron James was with them.)|
|2||Los Angeles Clippers
Blake Griffin (Left) and Paul George (Right)
|Ranked in the Top 5 of the top 500 players in the NBA, Blake Griffin, and Paul George will continue to play very well. Over four seasons in the NBA, Griffin has scored 21.4 points per game. Paul has averaged almost 10 assists in three seasons with the Clippers. Paul, Griffin, and DeAndre Jordan, will keep providing us with fantastic dunks and alley-oops. At the end of the season, the Clippers will be the best team in the Western Conference.|
|3||Portland Trail Blazers||Point Guard Damian Lillard has averaged almost 20 points a game in his first two seasons in the NBA. He has also never missed a game! LaMarcus Aldridge has averaged about 22 points a game since Lillard entered the NBA. The Trail Blazers are serious contenders to be the best team in the Northwest Division.|
|4||Golden State Warriors||NBA’s best three-point shooter Stephen Curry will break his record for most 3-pointers in a season, and could possibly become the first player to make 300 3-pointers in a season. That’ll help his Warriors finish high in the Western Conference.|
|5||Chicago Bulls||Derrick Rose is returning to the NBA after injuries, and will re-join last season’s NBA Defensive Player of the year Joakim Noah, and new Bull, Pau Gasol.|
|6||San Antonio Spurs||Tony Parker is getting older, but the Spurs will make the playoffs for the 18th year in a row.|
|7||Oklahoma City Thunder||Oklahoma’s star Point Guard Russell Westbrook and Serge Ibaka will try to hold up the Thunder while Kevin Durant is recovering from a fractured foot, but last year’s MVP will be back in a month or so.|
|8||Toronto Raptors||After having a fantastic season last year, the Toronto Raptors will continue to impress, and could possibly finish 2nd in the Eastern Conference.|
|9||Houston Rockets||James Harden and Dwight Howard were ranked in the top 10 for the ESPN Top 500, but the Houston Rockets will not have as good of a season this year, as last year.|
|10||Phoenix Suns||Yugoslavian Point Guard Goran Dragic and the Suns just missed the playoffs last season, but they’ll be in it this season.|
|11||Memphis Grizzlies||Mark Gasol and Zach Randolph will lead the Grizzlies to their 5th consecutive postseason.|
|12||Washington Wizards||The Wizards have John Wall, ranked 18th in the ESPN Top 500, and acquired Paul Pierce. The Wizards will make the playoffs in the easier Eastern Conference.|
|13||Miami Heat||The Heat lost LeBron James, and will not be as dominant as last year, but they will still make the playoffs for the 17th time in the past 20 seasons.|
|14||Brooklyn Nets||The Brooklyn Nets have a solid team and will make the playoffs for the third year in a row: maybe moving the team to Brooklyn two seasons ago was a good decision after all.|
|15||New Orleans Pelicans||After being drafted two years ago, Anthony Davis is now ranked 3rd on the ESPN Top 500. He and the Pelicans could make the playoffs in a very tough Southwest Division.|
|16||Dallas Mavericks||Dirk Nowitzki has been playing professional basketball for over twenty years. He and the Mavs could miss the postseason for the second time in three seasons.|
|17||Charlotte Hornets||Lance Stephenson joins Al Jefferson and the Hornets. Can they make the playoffs in the first year being named the Hornets?|
|18||Denver Nuggets||The Nuggets have a pretty good team, but can they return to the playoffs after missing last year’s postseason for the first time in 11 years?|
|19||New York Knicks||Carmelo Anthony is a great basketball player, but on paper, its not convincing that he and his squad will make it to the playoffs|
|20||Atlanta Hawks||Al Horford and Paul Milsap rank in the top 40 for the ESPN Top 500, but the Hawks won’t be making the playoffs this year.|
|21||Sacramento Kings||The Kings will be so-so, with DeMarcus Cousins and Rudy Gay, and Canadian draft pick Nick Stauskas, but they won’t be coming close to reaching the playoffs this year.|
|22||Los Angeles Lakers||Kobe Bryant will be returning to the Lakers this season, but will he stay healthy, or even play well?|
|23||Minnesota Timberwolves||The Timberwolves have the past two number one draft picks (who are Canadians,) but lost Kevin Love in the process. The Timberwolves could be one of the best NBA teams in three years.|
|24||Indiana Pacers||The best team in the east last year will not be as good as last year, because star Paul George is now recovering from a broken leg.|
|25||Detroit Pistons||The Pistons have Andre Drummond, who was ranked 30th on the ESPN Top 500; but who knows when the Pistons will return to the postseason.|
|26||Orlando Magic||The Magic haven’t been a great team since Dwight Howard left, but they are reassembling to become a playoff team in a few years.|
|27||Boston Celtics||Point Guard Rajon Rondo broke his hand in the shower, and is recovering. Canadian Kelly Olynyk will try to hold up his team, while he is away.|
|28||Milwaukee Bucks||The Bucks are rebuilding-they drafted last year’s best college American basketball player, Jabari Parker this year, and Giannis Antetokounmpo last year.|
|29||Utah Jazz||The Jazz got Australian basketball player, Dante Exum in the draft this year, who will be pretty good in a few years.|
|30||Philadelphia 76ers||The 76ers will be lucky to win 15 games this season, and draft pick Joel Embiid is recovering from surgery on his broken foot.|