By: Joe Cardoso
It’s almost October. Let that sink in for a minute; OCTOBER! More importantly, the NBA 2018 regular season is almost here.
It feels like just yesterday I threw my remote down, screaming insults at the TV when the alert came to my phone announcing that the Golden State Warriors had won the NBA Finals, again. See, as a well-documented hater of all things Dub Nation, even as a member of the sports media world I couldn’t watch them do it. Yes, a small part was due to my fandom for LeBron James, but mostly, I just don’t think it’s fair to have all that talent on one team.
Reading that last sentence out loud, I sound like a scorned 10-year-old boy whose crush rejected him. Sports aren’t met to be fair, I know, but I wanted drama and competition in the finals. I swore I wouldn’t get sucked into the NBA this year, and before I could let that lie sink in, the free agency period hit, trades happened, Instagram feuds built, the draft sneaked its way in my life, and I came running back for more. We are less than a month away from the start of the season and I have a few questions, and until tip-off, I have no answers.
Fans need to set aside an hour a day just to keep up with the happenings around the league. That is a small part why this league is so fun right now, and in my opinion, the best professional sports league in America. Let’s play a game of 20 questions and explore what the NBA 2018 season might look like.
- Where will Jimmy Butler end up? Rumors swirl around with mention of the Heat, Knicks, and Trail Blazers. But what does he bring to his new team? D Wade keep your wife close by, brother.
- What should we expect from the Los Angeles Lakers with their new look? Led by King James, this is an interesting mix of personalities and skill sets.
- Lonzo Ball and the other second year players who played at a high level last year; will they all improve, or who will take a step back?
- Who will be the first major injury of the season? Unfortunately, it’s part of the game.
- What did Ben Simmons, Lonzo Ball, Andre Drummond and others learn at Jumpshot School?
- Will certain hurting franchises show some improvement? I’m talking to you Phoenix Suns, Sacramento Kings, Orlando Magic, and Brooklyn Nets. Keep an eye on whether they can keep up competitively.
- Speaking of Orlando, who will be at point guard? Why so many forwards? Who is running this team? James Dolan Jr.?
- The Celtics will be fun to watch this year and are finally at full strength, but are they the best team in the East post-LeBron?
- How will or won’t Dwight Howard fit in with the Wizards?
- Who are your players to watch this season? I say keep a close eye on De’Aaron Fox, Kelly Oubre Jr, Lonzo Ball, Jayson Tatum and Jabari Parker, just to name a few.
- Old faces are in new places. Kawhi Leonard hasn’t played in a long time, so what will his game be like early on? How does he fit into the Raptors system? Will we be shocked by a better looking team? How soon we forget the huge lead the Spurs had over the Warriors before Zaza injured the claw.
- Welcome back Gordon Hayward, Markelle Fultz, Kristaps Porzingis, Ricky Rubio and all the ballers we lost to season-ending injuries.
- Donovan Mitchell has made the Utah Jazz a legit, must-see-TV team and it’s only going to get better. How good can this group be?
- Can the Houston Rockets, when healthy, defeat the Warriors in a seven-game series?
- Are we witnessing Kevin Garnett 2.0, with Anthony Davis’ unflappable loyalty to the New Orleans Pelicans?
- What will the Chicago Bulls, Milwaukee Bucks, and San Antonio Spurs squads look like this season? There’s an interesting mix of players featured on those rosters.
- Minnesota Timberwolves fans: you have Karl Anthony Towns locked for good. The question remains: how good is Andrew Wiggins?
- Which player and coach need a strong start to the season the most?
- Will Puma have an impact on the sneaker culture in the league?
- It’s a new era in San Antonio. How will Pop incorporate DeMar Derozan and Dejounte Murray in running the point?
Despite all the questions hanging in the air, this season will once again gives us the excitement and anger we love because, people, ball is life, and this is why we watch.
Make sure to fetch the return of Buckets and Dimes, our weekly NBA podcast, and follow the show on Twitter @BucketsAndDimes, or follow me @JoeCardoso301.