The NBA season is right around the corner as it tips off on Oct. 28 with a matchup between the defending champions, the San Antonio Spurs, and the Dallas Mavericks. The Spurs are coming off their fifth championship run where they defeated the Miami Heat in the 2013 NBA Finals by four games to one.

It is a new season for the Spurs as they look to once again return to the NBA Finals for the third straight year to defend the crown. For the Spurs, the same core is returning for another long season: Tony Parker, Danny Green, Kawhi Leonard, Tim Duncan and Tiago Splitter.

The Heat have been one of the best teams since the arrival of the big three that included LeBron James, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade. After reaching the NBA Finals for their fourth consecutive year, the Heat struggled against the Spurs, as they were only able to escape with one victory in the whole series. In the offseason, the Heat suffered a huge blow as they lost arguably their best player, James, to free agency. James chose to return back home to the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Heat were able to make a few acquisitions starting with small forward Luol Deng.

The biggest story of the offseason was the return of James to the Cavaliers. After four seasons with the Heat, James decided to go back where it all started. James wasn’t the only star to go to Cleveland. After heavy negotiations, the Cavaliers were able to trade for Kevin Love from the Minnesota Timberwolves. And just like that, the Cavs became the favorites to win the Eastern Conference and play for the Finals. Of great players like James, Love and Kyrie Irving, the Cavs look to be going in the right direction.

One of the teams looking to capture the East crown is the Chicago Bulls. For the Bulls, the return of Derrick Rose is one that all basketball fans have been waiting for. After missing the last couple of seasons due to injury, Rose is back on the court healthier than ever. The Bulls were able to add Pau Gasol through free agency. He joins Joakim Noah in the frontcourt and both pose a deadly defensive duo. With the addition of Gasol and the return of their core players, the Bulls look to be a great defensive team and compete for the Eastern Conference title.

The Washington Wizards are another team to keep an eye on. After a successful last season, where they reached the playoffs for the first time since the Gilbert Arenas days, the Wizards look to continue their climb back to success. John Wall and Bradley Beal lead the Wizards; together, they combine to be a lethal backcourt. With the addition of veteran and former NBA champion Paul Pierce, they now have that leader that will push the young players of Washington.

The Toronto Raptors are another team looking to improve after a solid season where they reached the playoffs for the first time in six seasons. After great seasons from Terrence Ross, Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan, they look to continue the same trend toward success.

The Oklahoma City Thunder will begin their season without reigning MVP Kevin Durant. Durant will miss the beginning of the season as he recovers from foot surgery. Russell Westbrook will begin the season healthy, and the Thunder will look to him during Durant’s recovery. For the Thunder, they come into the season with almost the same roster. Now without Durant, Westbrook is the go-to guy. The offense will run through him and his leadership will only increase. This young Thunder squad has had their share of playoff experience, so this continues to be a hungry team.

The Golden State Warriors are a team that continues to make strides in the playoffs. With Steve Kerr as the new head coach, the Warriors look to compete for a championship after a great run in the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) Tournament where both Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson were productive and earned some gold. The “Splash Brothers” look to lead their great team through their shooting and better defense. Curry, who had a spectacular season last year, looks to continue to produce at a high level and reach more success as a team.

After a long offseason filled with drama due to their controversial owner, the Los Angeles Clippers have moved along and have their focus set on the prize. After a huge season for Blake Griffin, both he and Chris Paul look to lead the Clippers and their deep roster to a long playoff push.

This NBA season appears to be a very competitive and entertaining one. May the best team win.

 

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