October 16, 2017

by Julian Rhim Yongsan International School of Seoul

The 2017-2018 National Basketball Association is just around the corner. A plethora of events have occurred during the offseason, such as the trades and the free agency. As always, a variety of teams look forward to assembling the best squad capable in order to compete with one another for the ultimate goal: the Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy.

The Western Conference of the NBA is loaded with high caliber teams battling for the top coveted spots. The reigning NBA champions, the Golden State Warriors, have repeatedly maintained the first place seed since the 2014-2015 season. Led by four all-star players – Kevin Durant, Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green – this team is projected to win it all. However, the other spots for the playoffs remain a mystery, as talented groups like the San Antonio Spurs, the Oklahoma City Thunder, and the Houston Rockets attempt to keep within reach of the Warriors. The San Antonio Spurs are the most consistent team in the league. Led by legendary coach Gregg Popovich, they have made the playoffs since the 1997-1998 season. In addition, the mixture of players from all-stars like Kawhi Leonard to experienced veterans like Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker allow for this team to be feared by all every season. Next, the Oklahoma City Thunder are fortunate enough to have Russell Westbrook, the league MVP, in their lineup. The explosive point guard led the league with 31.6 points per game, while also averaging 10.4 assists and 10.7 rebounds a night. They then added Paul George, a top 20 player who averaged 23.7 ppg last season. The well-rounded defense with the mixture of offense could allow for the Thunder to slide into the top 3. While the Thunder traded for George, the Houston Rockets themselves traded for star Chris Paul. A floor general with an high IQ for the game of basketball, Paul averaged 18.1 ppg and 9.2 apg. His backcourt partner, James Harden, dazzled the basketball world by averaging 29.1 ppg and adding 11.2 apg. These two all-stars, in addition to a well rounded bench, are talented enough to keep the other top teams like the Warriors anxious. The ‘Race for the West’ is a hyped event for the fans of basketball to be watching.

While many teams are looking to dominate the league with their talented group of players, others are relying on younger players with potential greater than ever. The 2017 Draft Class supposedly consisted of some of the most talented and gifted studs. Putting full trust into these young men, teams like the Philadelphia 76ers, Sacramento Kings, and Los Angeles Lakers are looking to make heaps of improvement this upcoming season. Markelle Fultz, the 76er’s number one pick, joins a young core of players in Joel Embiid, Dario Saric, and Ben Simmons. Lonzo Ball, the most hyped basketball player since he was in high school at Chino Hills, joins his hometown team: the Los Angeles Lakers. The Lakers believe that Ball can lead the team to success; in addition, Magic Johnson, the Laker’s president and former point guard of the Lakers, believes that Lonzo has everything it takes to be a star. Other coveted players like De’Aaron Fox, Josh Jackson, Jonathan Isaac, Jayson Tatum, and Dennis Smith Jr. look to impact their teams immediately. These rookies were dominant respectively in their high schools and colleges, but they will need to work harder to make an impact in the NBA. Fans should look forward to rookies making big names for themselves in the big leagues.

The 2017-2018 season is jam-packed with a plenty of events. Star powers will join forces to assemble some of the greatest teams the NBA has seen in awhile. In addition, teams with new rookies and stars are all waiting to prove their skills and talents in new environments The NBA’s best look to conquer and eliminate all, in order to achieve their goal of reaching the NBA Finals. This specific season has been buzzing in the media and garnering a lot of attention by people all over the world. The fans will decide if this season deserves the scrutiny it has been receiving.



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