By Seth Rivello
Tuesday night was the tip off to the new NBA season. It started with the Boston Celtics traveling to Cleveland to take on the Cavaliers and later that night the improved Houston Rockets took on the defending champion Golden State Warriors.
The NBA changed when LeBron James and Chris Bosh teamed up with Dwyane Wade to join the Miami Heat back in 2011. This wasn’t the first “Big 3” ever formed, but it was the first one that really changed the NBA. That Heat team went to four straight NBA Finals while winning back to back championships. The team eventually broke up but its influence spread.
The NBA now consists of a handful of dominant teams, a couple good ones and then garbage. The “Big 3” has now spread to “Big 4’s.” The Golden State Warriors kept its big four intact for this season. Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and Kevin Durant look to have another big season and possibly take down LeBron and the Cavs again in the Finals. You can blame LeBron for starting the superteam era; he’s done it with two different teams: Cleveland and Miami. If he doesn’t start the superteam “Big 3’s” he’d probably have a couple more rings to put on.
The Oklahoma City Thunder were busy this offseason adding a couple weapons to go alongside the NBA’s Most Valuable Player, Russell Westbrook. Carmelo Anthony was recently acquired from the New York Knicks and All-Star forward Paul George was acquired from the Indiana Pacers. Last season, Westbrook was left with a bunch of role players when Durant decided to team up with the Warriors. Westbrook went on to average a triple double and lead his team into the postseason virtually alone. This season Oklahoma is out for blood and looking to make a deep run into the playoffs.
The Houston Rockets were doing fine with MVP candidate James Harden leading the team, but they decided to add another piece. All-star guard Chris Paul was acquired from the Los Angeles Clippers in June. This gives Houston one of the scariest backcourts in the entire NBA and a huge shot for Paul to finally get a ring.
The Celtics and Cavaliers were busy this offseason also. The teams swapped all-star guards, Boston got Kyrie Irving and Cleveland received Isaiah Thomas and other assets. An unfortunate hip injury that occurred last season will cause Thomas to miss some time for Cleveland. Luckily the Cavs acquired former MVP guard Derrick Rose. Rose looks to revive his career in Cleveland with help from Kevin Love, LeBron, and D-Wade. Tuesday night was Irving’s homecoming as the Celtics traveled to Cleveland. Irving has been bad-mouthing Cleveland for a couple months and the crowd reaction was as expected. The crowd mostly booed Irving when he was introduced. Nothing would be worse than when LeBron returned to Cleveland wearing a Miami jersey.
A team coming out of the Western Conference that isn’t getting enough talk is the Minnesota Timberwolves. The Timberwolves just inked forward Andrew Wiggins to a five-year extension while in the offseason trading for the Chicago Bulls stud guard Jimmy Butler. Minnesota has a great backcourt with Jeff Teague and Butler and one of the best big men in the game with Karl-Anthony Towns. Towns is only 21 years old but has started every game in his short two-year career; it’s only a matter of time before he is locked in as the best big man in the NBA.