Western Courier

New faces in new places for NBA teams

Devon Greene, Assistant Sports Editor

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After an insane offseason that just seems to be going on forever, there are so many new faces in different places.

Gordon Hayward and Kyrie Irving are now part of the Boston Celtics. Paul George and Carmelo Anthony moved west to Oklahoma City. Jimmy Butler is part of the Minnesota Timberwolves to add on to that powerhouse. Chris Paul joined forces with star James Harden in Houston. Dwyane Wade is out of Chicago and signed a contract with the Cleveland Cavaliers for a reunion with LeBron James. The Warriors did this to the NBA and while we don’t like all the super teams, it sure made out for an interesting offseason and will definitely shape up to be a fun and entertaining NBA season.

The Western Conference has become ridiculously stacked with all the roster moves that leaves us wondering how all these teams will push their way into the playoffs.

The Warriors are still far and away the best team in the NBA. That is a ridiculous sentiment considering how much better some teams in the West just got. The Oklahoma City Thunder gained two bonafide superstars through trades. George has finally gotten back to his former glory after gruesomely breaking his leg with Team USA in 2016. Adding him to the Energizer Bunny that is Russell Westbrook and we may see a reasonably close replacement for Kevin Durant who left a big hole in the small forward department. However, the Thunder also added Anthony with a chip on his shoulder.

Anthony was snuffed by ESPN’s ranking of the top 100 players in the NBA, placing him number 64 behind players like Los Angeles Lakers’ rookie Lonzo Ball, who hasn’t even played a game in the NBA yet, Houston Rocket Eric Gordon, San Antonio Spur Danny Green, Dallas Maverick Harrison Barnes, Philadelphia 76er Robert Covington, Utah Jazz Ricky Rubio, and more players that are far less players than Anthony and the NBA community feel he is. Anthony has become an afterthought in terms of being an NBA superstar. His time in New York came to a bitter end with the dumpster fire that is the Knicks. Phil Jackson looked like a senile old man trying to relive his glory days who was trying to forcibly shove the triangle offense down the Knick player’s throats after seeing for multiple seasons that it was not an effective offensive scheme. A change of scenery will do wonders for the disrespected superstar. However, the Oklahoma City based team is not without problems. Westbrook and Anthony are somewhat known for loving the ball a little too much and sharing with their teammates. How are they going to mesh? They should be an interesting team to watch.

The Minnesota Timberwolves have so much young talent it is insane. Towns is the best young center in the NBA and if he continues at this rate, he could be a future Hall of Famer.

He’s steadily improved in his time in the NBA and had one of the most underrated seasons last year posting a ridiculous 25 points and 12 rebounds per game. He is also one of the most versatile centers in the league. He can body anybody in the paint and he can step outside and shoot the three. He had the third highest three-point shooting percentage at 37 percent. Andrew Wiggins is finally becoming the superstar we all expected him to be. He’s up his scoring and efficiency. These two stars are already a formidable force and then the Timberwolves added Eastern Conference all-star Butler via trade with the Chicago Bulls. Butler played with head coach Tom Thibodeau when he was still the coach of the Bulls. Butler is one of the best defensive shooting guards in the league and is no slump on the offensive side of the ball. Butler scored 23 points per game last season and was a force to be reckoned with in the Eastern Conference. The Timberwolves missed the playoffs last season with a 31-51 record. They could easily get above the .500 mark this year with the added star.

The Houston Rockets had one of the bitterest endings to their season last year. One of the people who had caught the most criticism was supposed leader Harden. Harden had one of the biggest choke jobs in recent memory in game six against the San Antonio Spurs. Harden posted an abysmal 10 points on 2-of-11 shooting with six turnovers and six fouls. After having one of the best seasons of all time and coming runner up in the MVP race to Westbrook. It was apparent that Harden needed help before the playoffs and it just became more obvious following his collapse. So, Daryl Morey went out and made a huge splash. Morey went all out in the trade sending Patrick Beverley, Lou Williams, Sam Dekker, Montrezl Harrell, Darrun Hilliard, DeAndre Liggins, Kyle Wiltjer, a protected first-round pick next year and cash considerations to the Clippers for one of the most established point guards in the league, Chris Paul. Paul adds another piece to that offense that Harden didn’t have a second fiddle to last year and makes them a real contender against teams like the Spurs who they lost to in the playoffs. Pressure will be taken off Harden who was the anchor of the Houston Rockets last year.

With all the drama in the West, the East took a substantial hit in star power. They lost four superstars while gaining only Gordon Hayward. The only top tier players they have remaining are Cleveland Cavalier LeBron James, Milwaukee Buck Giannis Antetokounmpo, Boston Celtic Kyrie Irving, and Washington Wizard John Wall. The struggling East looks like it will be a cakewalk for James and the Cavaliers to get back to their fourth straight finals. We’re going to have to struggle through some unwatchable playoff basketball in the East until the NBA decides to switch up their playoff system.

We all love the NFL but it’s just biding time for basketball fans until the NBA and all its glory returns on Oct. 17.

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New faces in new places for NBA teams