NBA season preview//photo courtesy by Flickr

NBA season preview//photo courtesy by Flickr

By: Steven Henrici, Contributing Writer

The Fall weather is here, and that means the return of the NBA season. Last year, the Golden State Warriors were defeated by the Cleveland Cavaliers in the 2016 NBA Finals, the Warriors blew three games to one lead. LeBron James led the Cavaliers in all major statistical categories. This was his third NBA Championship, as he fulfilled his promise of bringing a championship to Cleveland. James had huge help from 24-year-old Phenom and teammate Kyrie Irving.

Many big name and high priced free agent signings were made this offseason, the biggest name, Kevin Durant formerly of The Oklahoma City Thunder, who decided to accept a contract from the Golden State Warriors. The Warriors are led by flashy young superstars, the “splash brothers” Steph Curry and Klay Thompson. Golden State is now the prohibitive favorite to win the upcoming Championship. The Warriors are coming off an NBA regular season record 73 regular season wins. As for the defending champion Cavs, they have the immovable force that is LeBron James, but the question will be if James can find a way to beat this new and improved Warriors team.

As for some of the challengers to the Warriors and the Cavs, The San Antonio Spurs are coming off another historic season, with 67 wins and just 15 losses. They are led by the Future Hall of Fame Coach Greg Popovich. The Spurs have to cope with the retirement of Future Hall of Fame Power Forward Tim Duncan. They signed a two time NBA Champion power forward Pau Gasol. Gasol helped lead the Lakers to back to back NBA Champions in 2009 and 2010. The Spurs still have guards Manu Ginobili, Tony Parker and star Forwards Kawhi Leonard and Lamarcus Aldridge. The only other true contender for the title in the West is the Los Angeles Clippers. Los Angeles returns their cast of perennial superstars from last season in Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, and Deandre Jordan. Jordan, the young center, gained a lot of experience playing for the Gold Medal Olympic basketball team over the summer. Griffin and Paul battled injuries most of last year. Having coach Doc Rivers could make the difference in the end. The Oklahoma City Thunder are a dark horse team with potential MVP Russell Westbrook. With the loss of Kevin Durant, Westbrook out of UCLA, is a triple double machine. He averaged 23.5 PPG, 7.8 RPG, and 10 assists last season.

In the East, The Chicago Bulls made some huge moves, signing three time NBA Champion Dwayne Wade, and Point Guard Rajon Rondo. Wade, shockingly left the Miami Heat, his former team, in which he had spent his whole career up to this point. The Toronto Raptors retained their 2 best players, Kyle Lowry and Demar Derozan. They are coming off an exceptional 56 win season, and a loss to the Cavs in the Eastern Finals last year. The Raptors are hoping for another shot at Cleveland this year. The Dark horse in the East is the New York Knicks, they are coming off an abysmal 32-50 season but made some very interesting moves. They traded for Derrick Rose signed Brandon Jennings, Courtney Lee, and former defensive player of the year Joakim Noah. They also have up and coming forward Kristaps Porzingis, who they took with the fourth pick in the 2015 NBA Draft. Finally, one cannot forget about one of the best scorers in the game, Carmelo Anthony.

The NBA season begins on October 26th, all fans have this date marked on their calendars. Although there are already favorites to win the coveted NBA championship, on October 26th all teams are equal and have a shot at winning a title.