Next Tuesday, October 27, the NBA championship 2015/2016 will start. Last season was also influenced by a lot of injuries to key players so in this season the ones who return to high levels will make the difference more than ever.
What are the favorite teams for the title? As always, there were many trades during the off season, though not as important as in the last season, and now we’ll start seeing who made the right ones. Let’s see which teams might be the best in the each Conference.
The Eastern Conference champions start with one goal only, which is to win the NBA title after the disappointment of the last finals. Players and coaching staff accumulated experience in working together so there shouldn’t be the ups and downs of the last regular season. Tristan Thompson just signed a new contract so the Cleveland Cavaliers can focus their efforts on their games. They’re the favorites in the conference and among the leading candidates for the NBA title.
When one talks about the Chicago Bulls of the last seasons most of the issues are secondary because in the end the team’s results pass through Derrick Rose. The Bulls demonstrated many times that they can play well even without Rose but if they want to aim for something more their leader must be in good health. If he does it I believe that the Bulls can reach the conference finals.
Last season, the Atlanta Hawks showed their potential but also their limitations. Thabo Sefolosha’s misadventure with the police didn’t help and the legal consequences could still be a burden. They’re still a team that could win more than 50 games in the regular season but the players will have to steps up in the playoffs otherwise in my opinion they won’t go past the conference semifinals.
Last season, the Toronto Raptors obtained very good results in the regular season but got swept in the first round of the playoffs. During the summer, they signed some new players to strengthen the team, especially Luis Scola. If the newcomers will be useful, the Raptors can pass at least one playoff round, otherwise they will have to beware of opponents such as the Washington Wizards and Indiana Pacers.
Golden State Warriors
After years of disappointments, the Golden State Warriors realized their potential and won the NBA Finals 2015. Now they start the new season with a completely different perspective because they’re not outsiders anymore but the champions that others must try to beat. I think they have all the potential to repeat.
Oklahoma City Thunder
This is one of the cases in which injuries had a heavy influence in the last season. Another question mark is the new head coach Billy Donovan, who’s already under the pressure of having to lead the team to great results. The potential is there but this could be a key season for the Oklahoma City Thunder because if they don’t reach at least the NBA Finals Kevin Durant might decide to move to another team.
San Antonio Spurs
Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili’s decision to keep on playing and the big deal with LaMarcus Aldridge arrival keep the San Antonio Spurs among the favorites in the tough Western Conference. Gregg Popovich has just been named head coach of Team USA, confirming the excellent work he ha’s been doing over the years with the Spurs. The veterans are still very important in the team so their shape in the playoffs will influence their results.
Los Angeles Clippers
This is a key season for the Los Angeles Clippers, who in recent years have built a team with great potential but with disappointing results in the playoffs. The many controversies that followed DeAndre Jordan’s resigning added pressure on the team, which also added the super-veteran Paul Pierce. Another failure could bring serious consequences and there are other teams ready to take advantage of any weakness such as the Houston Rockets, another team that’s been waiting for years to obtain great results, or the Denver Nuggets, if their players are finally healthy.