By Terrence Hinds, Staff Writer
Published in print Oct. 22, 2014
October 28 will mark the beginning of the 2014-2015 NBA season. With the distinct amount of plots across the NBA landscape, this year is set to be one of the most intriguing seasons in years.
The amount of story lines going into this season will make your head spin. Two of the main issues to look out for include All-Star Kobe Bryant returning from injury as well as watching how this years deep draft class will assimilate themselves to the rigors of the NBA. Peering through the lenses of all 30 teams, there is truly a storyline for every NBA fan.
I’m not sure if you have heard the news, but LeBron James will be back in a Cleveland Cavaliers’ uniform this year. Four seasons and two finals rings later, “King James” departed his Miami Heat kingdom to head back home in hopes of trying to bring a championship to Ohio. Joining him in Cleveland will be three time NBA All-Star Kevin Love.
The Minnesota Timberwolves traded their franchise player away for this years number one pick, to Andrew Wiggins, and last years number one pick Anthony Bennett. This allowed the Cavaliers to form their own big three led by James.
With James and Love, Kyrie Irving will be a key part of the equation if Cleveland plans on winning the Eastern Conference. Irving will need to become more of a true point guard this year.
No longer needing to shoot, but pass first, players like Dion Waiters, Love, and James will need a certain amount of shot attempts to be effective. For this to happen, the former Duke point guard will definitely have to sacrifice some of his shot attempts for the betterment of the team.
Southeast of Ohio, the Charlotte Bobcats finished the 2013-2014 NBA season with 43 wins and 39 losses. That marginal record was decent enough to earn the team the seventh seed in a terrible Eastern Conference last year.
The Bobcats were then swept out of the playoffs by the Miami Heat, ending the below-average decade run of the Charlotte Bobcat era.
A horrible period of Charlotte hoops, an era in which the team could not manage to win a single playoff win was transformed last spring.
Renamed the Charlotte Hornets, the team’s nickname for the franchises’ best basketball teams in the mid 1990s, the vibe around the team has completely changed in my this off-season as Charlotte Hornets fever has returned to the Queen City and its surrounding areas.
One of the first moves of the Hornets was the acquisition of Lance Stephenson. Last year, Stephenson became one of the most exciting players to watch in the NBA for the Pacers. Stephenson plays with an edge believing he is the best player in the game anytime he is on the court.
Stephenson also led the entire NBA in triple doubles last season which will certain help Charlotte who only recorded one last year. Pair him with Kemba Walker and Al Jefferson and suddenly you have a very formidable team. Charlotte was already a strong defensively last year and if Stephenson can add some creativity to the offense, look for the Hornets to finish in the top four of the eastern conference.
In the Western, defending champion San Antonio will look to defend their title. The Spurs have their entire team returning for this year’s campaign including the ageless wonders Tim Duncan, and Manu Ginobli who always seem to be there for the team when it counts. The most important part of this team this year will be the NBA Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard. He showed the world what he could do on the grandest stage going toe to toe with LeBron James and even getting the best of him at times in the series.
If Leonard can take the next step in his career progression and become an All-star player, the Spurs will be right there again in the Western Conference, fighting for another Finals appearance.