By CJ Revis
We are less than a week away from what is considered by most fans the best part of the sports year. The start of the 2015-2016 NBA season tips off on Monday which means the NFL, MLB, NHL and NBA will all be in season at the same time. Last season, the Golden State Warriors claimed their first title since 1975 when they spoiled LeBron James’ homecoming season by beating the Cleveland Cavaliers in the finals. To say that Stephen Curry had a breakout year would be an understatement, as he not only claimed the championship, but the MVP award as well.
Last year was also a showcase on the importance of the head coach position. The Warriors made few meaningful player acquisitions last off-season, but the addition of Steve Kerr as the head coach seemed to be the most significant change the Warriors could have made. We also saw the Atlanta Hawks have a terrific year even though the only change to the team was the head coach. So who will take the title this year? Let’s break it down by conference.
In the East there is the Cleveland Cavaliers and, well, that’s about it. Don’t get me wrong, there are some solid teams in the East, but the clear favorites are the Cavs. LeBron has won the East for five straight years and there’s no reason to believe he would not stretch that to a sixth. Or is there? I predict that the Bulls will have a good year as we will be able to see how they do when they finally have an offense that moves under new coach Fred Hoiberg. However, there are still too many questions surrounding Derrick Rose to see the Bulls as a true threat. The Hawks simply don’t have the star power. But the one team I can see beating the Cavs is LeBron’s former team, the Miami Heat. I think Dwayne Wade has another good year in him and their starting lineup featuring the underrated Goran Dragic and Chris Bosh can compete with anybody. I also think Pat Riley is willing to do anything to dethrone LeBron, and you should never bet against Pat Riley.
The West is completely the opposite, with there being no clear favorite as there are about six teams that can beat anybody on any given day. The teams that stand out to me though are the Spurs and the Warriors. The Spurs are reloaded and appear ready to claim the top spot with the acquisition of all-star Lamarcus Aldridge from the Portland Trail Blazers. The Warriors didn’t make any big changes in the off season mostly because they didn’t need to. Other popular picks are the Clippers and the Rockets, but I’m not a believer in either.
Ultimately, I see a Heat vs Warriors finals, with the Warriors dynamic offense claiming another NBA championship. With so many storylines around the league, everybody is ready for this season to start.