By: OLIVIA VARNSON
(Gainesville, Ga.) — The National Basketball Association (NBA)’s 2014 – 2015 season begins October 28. Several changes were made over the summer, perhaps most notably LeBron James signing with his former team the Cleveland Cavaliers. While James may be a part of another super team in the making, it will not be an easy journey to the NBA championship.
Last season’s NBA champions, the San Antonio Spurs, have maintained the core of their battle-tested roster. San Antonio has long relied upon the trio of Tony Parker, Manu Ginobli and Tim Duncan but reigning NBA Finals Most Valuable Player (MVP) Kawhi Leonard proved that the veterans do not have to carry the team on their own anymore.
Leonard’s goal this season is to establish a consistent superstar performance and to be a player his older teammates can count on. San Antonio’s biggest question for the past few seasons has been whether or not they can compete over the long season with an aging core. Time and time again, however, San Antonio has proven itself. And this season, they have young Leonard moving into a prominent leadership role.
In the Eastern Conference, a former giant has lost its best player. The Miami Heat could not come to a new contract agreement with LeBron James. Instead, the best player in the world opted to return to his home state and his first team in the NBA, the Cleveland Cavaliers. James will be joined by former Minnesota Timberwolves forward Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving. Both Irving and Love have been NBA All-Stars for multiple seasons in a row, and with their combined talents, Cleveland is expected to produce another super team. The chemistry won’t happen overnight. James insists that it will take time for the trio to find a balance and to build trust. If one thing is clear, however, Cleveland fans can expect their team to return to the NBA playoffs for the first time since James last played as a Cavalier.
After multiple seasons of losing key players to injury, the Chicago Bulls are hoping that this will finally be their season to make a healthy run. Derrick Rose missed two seasons due to two separate knee surgeries. Many questioned if Rose would ever be able to play at the same level again, but his performance in last month’s International Basketball Federation (FIBA) championship inspired a new hope in Chicago fans and basketball fans overall. Rose will also have Joakim Noah, Pau Gasol and rising star Jimmy Butler to help carry their team.
Andrew Wiggins and Jabari Parker are the NBA’s most anticipated rookies this season. Wiggins will be playing for the Minnesota Timberwolves and Parker for the Milwaukee Bucks. Their teams both have a long way to go before making a run in the playoffs and all eyes will be on the rookies and how far they can go in their first season.
The NBA season kicks off with two games, the Dallas Mavericks versus the San Antonio Spurs at eight and the Houston Rockets versus the Los Angeles Lakers at 10:30 on TNT.