The NBA tips off tonight with a great 2-game slate of the Nets @ Bucks and the Warriors @ Lakers. It's pretty cruel to make the Nets, who lost to the Bucks in the Eastern Conference Finals, watch the banner-raising ceremony if you ask me. To follow that up we have Steph and Draymond going to take on Lebron, Russ, Anthony Davis and the rest of the Lakers new squad. Couldn't ask for a better opening night.
Since the season is about to start and you might be surprised to see some new faces in new places, here's everything you may have missed in the offseason and teams to watch for this year.
New Faces in New Places
Obviously there are more moves than I am going to list, but these are the moves that will have a significant impact on the outcome of this season.
Patty Mills - The longtime Spur signed with the Nets in free agency. The Nets lost Spencer Dinwiddie, Landry Shamet, and Jeff Green. Mills is going to help a lot off the bench with shooting to surround Harden and Durant.
Kelly Oubre Jr - The young forward is in Charlotte alongside LaMelo Ball and the rest of the Hornets young core. The Hornets had a good draft adding James Bouknight and Kai Jones. They also added Mason Plumlee and Ish Smith, good veterans that should help the locker room. They lost Devonte Graham, Cody Zeller, and Malik Monk.
Demar Derozan, Lonzo Ball, Alex Caruso, and Derrick Jones Jr -
The Bulls might have had the best off-season of any team in the league. They added 4 players who are arguably all better than the best player they lost (Lauri Markkenen) to put alongside an already great duo of Zach Lavine and Nikola Vucevic.
Otto Porter Jr and Nemanja Bjelica - These might seem like no names to you, but these are huge additions for the Warriors. 2 outstanding 3-point shooters to surround Steph, Klay when he returns from injury, and Draymond. This gives Golden State a ton of lineup possibilities down the stretch of games.
Los Angeles Lakers -
There were too many to list but the Lakers added the following players: Russell Westbrook, Carmelo Anthony, Dwight Howard, DeAndre Jordan, Trevor Ariza, Wayne Ellington, Malik Monk, Rajon Rondo, Kent Bazemore, and Kendrick Nunn. They lost a ton of important pieces so the chemistry might take awhile to come but this team is full of veterans who know how to win.
Steven Adams and Eric Bledsoe - Both of these veterans are headed to the Grizzlies where they can hopefully bring some leadership to a great young core. Steven Adams is a known great locker room guy and the screens he's going to set for Ja Morant are going to be amazing. Bledsoe can hopefully revitalize his career behind Ja.
Miami Heat -
Similar to the Lakers, the Heat added a ton of new, important pieces. Here they are: Kyle Lowry, PJ Tucker, Markieff Morris, Victor Oladipo, and Dewayne Dedmon. The Heat were already one of the toughest teams in the NBA and now they added PJ Tucker and a Morris' twin...scary.
Jonas Valunciunas and Devonte Graham - This new PG/C duo will be in New Orleans this season. Alongside Brandon Ingram and Zion this starting unit should be pretty solid, the Pelicans will just need help from their bench.
Kemba Walker and Evan Fournier - The New York Knicks have a new scoring duo in the backcourt with Walker and Fournier. Kemba returns to the place he used to dominate in the Big East tournament, where he hit one of the best game-winners of all time.
Javale McGee and Landry Shamet - These 2 will be joining CP3, Booker and the Suns this season. Javale gives them an actual backup center, something they were missing last year, and Shamet just gives them another shooter to space the floor along with Bridges and Johnson.
Cody Zeller and Larry Nance Jr - Damian Lillard now has some more reliable big men than just Nurkic to rely on. There has always been injury problems with the Blazers front court and defense, so this should help them in that department.
Rudy Gay, Eric Paschall, and Hassan Whiteside - The Utah Jazz only lost Georges Niang and Derrick Favors, so to add Gay, Paschall, and Whiteside is a massive upgrade. Gay is a proven scorer off the bench, Paschall is BFF's with Donovan Mitchell, and Whiteside can give Gobert rest off the bench.
Washington Wizards - Bradley Beal needs help, and Russell Westbrook was not the answer. Give the front office credit, they went out and got Spencer Dinwiddie, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Kyle Kuzma, Montrezl Harrell and Aaron Holiday. Will it lead to the playoffs? Probably not but they are at least trying.
Teams to Watch For
Other than the obvious contenders (LAL, BKN, LAC, MIL)
Chicago Bulls - I sort of talked about it before, but the Bulls added winners with high basketball IQ. Derozan can make big shots down the stretch and has made playoff runs with Toronto. Ball is one of the best young PG's in the league and has proven he can shoot consistently. Caruso is the one that people think is a joke, but the kid makes an impact. He will help this team win games with his defense and hussle.
Golden State Warriors - This might seem weird but the Warriors technically didn't make the playoffs last year and people still for some reason think Steph is overrated. Well they had a great draft and off-season, Klay is going to return from injury about halfway through the year hopefully, and all will be well in Golden State. If they can make the playoffs as a mid-tier seed they could make a run.
Dallas Mavericks - In the past I didn't think Luka Doncic had enough help, but I think that Jason Kidd might be just the help he needs. Reports are saying that he is getting Porzingis more involved and getting him back to his possible superstar potential. If the Mavericks have a legit 1-2 punch with those 2 they could be dangerous.
Denver Nuggets - People forget how good this team is and they didn't even have Jamal Murray last postseason. When he returns from injury mid-season, similar to Klay Thompson, things could get really shook up in the West.
Miami Heat - This team was in the NBA Finals 2 year ago and now they have added 3 or 4 huge pieces that can help them try to get through Brooklyn and Milwaukee to get back there. Kyle Lowry and PJ Tucker are going to play massive roles on this team alongisde Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo.
Get your popcorn ready. Maybe by the trade deadline we will have Ben Simmons and Kyrie Irving on different teams that will both give them the chance to play and contend. As we have seen the NBA is full of drama, I'm sure this season won't disappoint.