While a couple of these teams did not change much in terms of the management and roster, the other teams, most notably the Spurs, made drastic changes. The Warriors and Cavaliers – last season’s finals competitors – look nearly identical, with the news of Cleveland player Tristan Thompson ending his holdout. On the opposite end of the spectrum are the Spurs, who picked up all-star forward LaMarcus Aldridge and still have their core, with Kawhi Leonard at full strength. The Rockets are a little weaker than last year due to injuries but look to improve with the arrival of talented but troubled guard Ty Lawson.
Being one of the quieter offseasons in recent history tradewise, only a few big names such as Aldridge moved around. The Atlanta Hawks lost key pieces in forward Paul Millsap and small forward Demarre Carroll which will hurt the up and coming team. The once-great Rajon Rondo was traded to the Kings, and was somewhat swapped for new Mavericks guard Wesley Matthews. The only loss for the Warriors this offseason was rotation player David Lee who was sent to the Celtics early in the summer.
On a more interesting note is the arrival of a new group of rookies looking to make a splash in their first season in the league. To add to the already young and talented Minnesota Timberwolves is University of Kentucky graduate and number one overall draft pick Karl Anthony-Towns. He will be playing alongside last year’s first draft pick Andrew Wiggins, who also won Rookie of the Year.
Many rookies this season came out of college powerhouses Duke University and Kentucky like Justise Winslow, Jahlil Okafor, Willie Cauley-Stein and Devin Booker. All will most likely made immediate impacts. Though not on a very strong team, one of the most promising rookies, D’Angelo Russell, will debut for the Lakers this season after being taken second. A similar style player is Emmanuel Mudiay, who the Denver Nuggets took early in the draft and have high hopes for the future.
Altogether, this draft class seems to have the potential to be a highly successful one that will be important in years to come.
November will not only mark the beginning for many long careers, but will also be a redefining year for star injured players. Two of the most recognizable faces in the NBA, former Most Valuable Player Kevin Durant will recontinue his career after being sidelined for the majority of last season with a foot injury.
Kobe Bryant, a future hall of famer, is also looking to continue his success that has brought him championships, records and fans in the past.
After having two consecutive seasons wasted, this will be the start of the final stage in his long career. Alongside Bryant will be Julius Randle, who missed all of last season and is making his debut season a year late.
In the same boat as Randle is Jabari Parker for the Milwaukee Bucks who had a strong chance to win rookie of the year before going down early in the season as well.
All of these players this season are looking for a chance to either redeem their past glory or prove their worth in this expansive league and hopefully win a championship.