Hoodie Melo , KD’s Twitter fiasco, shocking trades and surprising free agent moves. This NBA offseason was probably more entertaining than the Warriors/Cavs finals series. And now, with all the characters in place, another 82-game season promises to be filled with great story lines and high-paced action on the hardwood.
Many of us know the favorites and teams that will be competing for Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy, but once again here are my picks for the squads to keep an eye on.
Young cornerstones of the Minnesota Timberwolves organization
Andrew Wiggins (22) and Karl Anthony-Towns (center)
now have a legit start in Jimmy Butler (right) to lead them to the next level.
I know I completely messed this up last year, but I will try this one more time. This will be the year the Minnesota Timberwolves find their way back into the post-season. Let me reiterate, in no way do I expect them to push for a top spot but a 7th or 8th seed could be within their grasp.
Youth and injuries cost the T-Wolves last season, but adding one of the best two-way players in the league helps your playoff chances almost instantly. Jimmy Butler, is a certified game-changer, and bringing in veterans like Jamal Crawford, Taj Gibson, and Jeff Teague show that this year’s team wants to win now.
Ultimately, Minnesota’s toughest hurdle is the fact that they are in the stacked Western Conference. Playoff berths are hard to come by; but if Andrew Wiggins can find a way to to improve at the same rate Karl Anthony-Towns has, the mix of youth and experience could finally pay off.
Head coach Jason Kidd will rely heavily on rising star Giannis Antetokounmpo (34)
while waiting on Jabari Parker (12) to return from injury.
In today’s NBA, position-less basketball has become the biggest trend. The concept of the “traditional big man” and “set the table point guard” have now evolved into a game based on pace-and-space. One team that has embraced this is my pick to make noise in the East, the Milwaukee Bucks.
The length and athleticism the Bucks have automatically present matchup nightmares for opposing teams. At 6-feet 11-inches and freakishly athletic, Giannis Antetokounmpo’s has developed into one of the most well-rounded wing players in the league. Second year pros, Malcolm Brogdon (last season’s NBA Rookie of the Year) and Thon Maker will need to progress and it will be essential for guys like Khris Middleton and Tony Snell to shoot the ball consistently.
But overall, it’s Milwaukee’s advantages on the defensive end that will keep them in games. The luxury of having multiple players with the ability to defend the ball and protect the rim is hard to find at any level of basketball. And in the Eastern conference, if you can limit teams offensively your chances of making the post-season increase.
Well, with all that said....let’s see how the 2017-2018 NBA season plays out! ‘Til the next post. Take care and stay blessed!