NBA preview for the 2017-18 season

Adam Shefet, Online Sports Reporter

The 2017-18 NBA season started in mid-Oct. after a busy offseason with many major trades. Teams took the courts for the first time since the NBA Finals in June where the Golden State Warriors defeated the Cleveland Cavaliers in five games during their third consecutive finals matchup.

Opening night alone brought many unexpected events. 2017 all-star, Gordon Hayward, suffered a severe broken left ankle, injuring himself for a minimum of six months just five minutes into his Boston Celtics debut against the Cavaliers, causing him to miss the entire regular season.

The other surprise was Golden State’s’ late defeat to the Houston Rockets. Which came on the heels of four time scoring champion Kevin Durant not being able to release the game winning shot in time.

Although the Golden State Warriors are notorious for losing on opening night, they are predicted to win the Western Conference by most major sport news sources such as ESPN, Sports’ Illustrated and SB Nation. The projected second to fifth place spots are combinations of the San Antonio Spurs, Houston Rockets, Memphis Grizzlies and Oklahoma City Thunder. The Spurs are known to be the most consistent team in the NBA reaching the playoffs 27 of the last 28 years. The Houston Rockets, return last season’s MVP runner-up and added nine time all-star Chris Paul.  The Memphis Grizzlies have former defensive player of the year Marc Gasol and point guard (PG) Mike Conley. The Oklahoma City Thunder bring back 2016-2017 MVP PG Russell Westbrook and added All-Stars Paul George and Carmelo Anthony.

“I think that the Grizzlies are a team with a great bench and supporting cast for Conley and Gasol. The bench will help them pull ahead of other teams when their stars are sitting, letting Conley and Gasol to play better and stay healthy for the full 82 games. They beat the two best teams, Golden State and Houston in their first few games,” said Ryan Silver, freshman.

In the east, the race for the conference title is much closer. The Cleveland Cavaliers, led by four time MVP LeBron James, are the favorites to win with the Boston Celtics and four time all-star Kyrie Irving not far behind. The Milwaukee Bucks, led by last season’s winner of the most-improved player award Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Washington Wizards, led by guard duo John Wall and Bradley Beal are not far behind as well.

“The Cavs with Lebron James, Kevin Love and the new secondary players they’ve brought in have experience winning titles and consistently making the finals with playoff sweeps along the way,” said William Etheridge, freshman.