And the magic word for the 2017-18 NBA season…
The champs once again — by Anthony Edwards
As the NBA season closes, we watch as the Golden State Warriors hoist their third trophy by-way of sweeping the Cavs. KD is finals MVP again, Steph showed why his range has no limit, again. But for the 32 teams, 16 of them showed their worth in the playoffs. All 16 squads needed this to be seeded, and some needed a certain dynamic to advance and for others to build upon. I’ll quickly go through those 16 squads and those on the come-up. Unscramble this word: yt_rsecihm_
The Indiana Pacers showed that they were not going to just lie down and allow any team to walk over them. Since acquiring Victor Oladipo this season, his career was resurrected that he became an all-star, finally becoming the player that many thought that he could be. The gritty play of Myles Turner along with the improvement of rookie Domantas Sabonis, the Pacers were tough inside and let’s not forget the surprise improved perimeter play from Bojan Bogdanovic. Indiana’s wild card: Lance Stephenson and Oladipo. Which Lance will you see? The Lance who thrives once he plays within the offense or the Lance who tries to be all-world and looks like a separate entity unto himself? Oladipo duplicates what he did this season.
The Washington Wizards had a trying season. Early in the season; their two leaders were out with injuries: John Wall and Bradley Beal. Without the two all-stars, the team did OK. But when Beal returned, the team did very good and the question started to be asked: was the team’s stemhryci better without Wall? When Wall returned, the team was OK, but it left questions of what was really going on in the team’s locker room. Wild card: Wall and Beal. Will both keep playing together or will one go?
Toronto Raptors: This one’s short. They had a great run but Clev…LeBron owned them in the playoffs, again. Wild card: will a new coach be the answer they’ve been looking for to lead them over the LeBron hump?
Philadelphia 76ers: They should be done with trusting the process and now watch it maturate into something dynamic. Their histrmcye was on point, even without Markelle Fultz. Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons continued to be a dynamic one-two punch. President of operations, Bryan Colangelo, resigned due to a ghost twitter accounts. The account praised him and bashed players on the team, which was found through later investigation, the accounts belonged to his wife (c’mon son). Wild card: Markelle Fultz and Joel Embiid. Will Fultz get healthy and improve his awful shooting form to become a strong triad with Embiid and Simmons? Will Embiid’s personality inflate his ego so much to the point of thinking that he alone is the process?
Milwaukee Bucks: Giannis Antatokounmpo has proven why in another season or two, he’s going to make a strong case for the MVP race. Leading the Bucks with crazy numbers, he was able to forge a hard wall for the Celtics to break through, pushing them to 7 games. The Bucks have to improve the interior. Jabari Parker made his season debut very late into the season coming off of another season ending knee injury. He has shown flashes of being a very good player but the hope is Parker being healthy for at least half the season. Wild card: Malcolm Brogdon. Why the hell did former coach, Jason Kidd take this dude out of the rotation to fit in Eric Bledsoe who still seems like an awkward piece? New coach, Mike Budenholzer has to find a way to implement this gem (Brogdon) and make him an integral piece to the organization’s success this upcoming season or let him go.
The Miami Heat has a great young core led by Dion Waiters and Justice Winslow. But the funny part is that they need true veteran leadership, thanks in part to D. Wade showing up at their doorstep mid season (THANK YOU CLEVELAND). As the Heat took on the Sixers in the playoffs, they were scrambling to learn on the fly and people thought that Wade would’ve been able to carry this team, no. The upside is that they’re young. Wild card: Dion Waiters (scroll up and read Lance Stephenson). Hassan Whiteside, is he and the Heat ready for him to be the focal point of the team?
Boston Celtics. Despite losing both Gordon Hayward and Kyrie Irving to season ending injuries, the C’s ryhisemct was malleable by Coach Brad Stevens. It was thought that this club would’ve collapsed with its two all stars out, but with the rise of Terry Rozier, Jaylen Brown, and Jayson Tatum, the C’s are showing the league that they’ll be dominating the east for a while. Wild card: Gordon Hayward and Danny Angie. What will Hayward be when he returns from that gruesome ankle injury? What will GM Danny Angie do this off season? He’s known for pulling off some ballsy moves during the off season.
Cleveland Cavs. Sigh…irmescrhty has been very weird for this club. Wild card: Cavs front office. If LeBron stays, what pieces will management put around him, again? If he leaves, well…
Minnesota Wolves. This team has great leadership from Jimmy Butler along with the continual rise of Karl Anthony Towns. However, the Wolves’ issue is how to make Andrew Wiggins work within Coach Tom Thibodeau’s system. Wild Card: Why do I get the feeling like the T-wolves will be 7 or 8 seed for a long time? When will Jeff Teague stop having brain farts at the wrong time.
The San Antonio Spurs finally realized that having someone like LaMarcus Aldridge was actually a blessing. He’s proved that he’s still an all-star and he still got game. Could you imagine had the Spurs granted Aldridge’s request in being released due to him being used sparsely last season? There were a few Rudy Gay sightings, as he showed up many times giving Aldridge some help. This season should prove that the Spurs still need Aldridge more than ever as Kawhi Leonard’s cryptic injury disrupted ertysmhci, and it showed. Wild card: Kawhi Leonard and Greg Poppovich. Does Kawhi stay with the Spurs? What will be coach Poppovich’s mindset after the loss of his wife during the playoffs?
New Orleans Pelicans. The biggest surprise of the season. Let’s all be honest, we thought that this ball club would’ve limped into the playoffs after Demarcus Cousins went down for the season. I’m sure many of us thought that this was going to be all on AD (Anthony Davis) again. But then, Jrue Holiday, Rajon Rondo, along with Nikola Mirotic stepped and helped AD in a big way as he became the all-world player that he is. We thought the Blazers series would’ve went to 7 games, not a sweep as the two were evenly matched. But they were eliminated by GSW in the second round. When Cousins returns, just imagine what he and AD could do and possibly become a top 4 seed next season. Wild card: Rondo, his brains can work wonders on the court, but his mouth and brain can screw up eisrhcmyt in the locker room.
Utah Jazz. This young squad led by possible co-ROY, Donovan Mitchell, showed great intensity and plenty of grit in the first round of the playoffs. They were this year’s band of misfits in the league. Don’t believe me, look at their roster. There’s no ceiling for this team and they are my pick for one of the teams to be on the come-up for this upcoming season. Who would’ve thought that the addition of Jae Crowder and Ricky Rubio added great yhcmersit to the team, but let’s not forget the ridiculously infectious confidence of Joe Ingles. Wild card: Donovan Mitchell’s meteoric rise can take this team places.
Oklahoma City Thunder. This was another squad with weird rhiscymte, sometimes it worked and sometimes it didn’t. It took half the season for them to gel. There were obvious signs of frustration and irritation as Melo and PG watched Russ took unnecessary shots or took over games. This looked like a one-season-fits-all type of thing for OKC. Wild card: Melo, Paul George, or both will probably be leaving, place your bets on whom?
Portland Trailblazers. Great ihmsctrye during the season, but it broke down in the playoffs. With one of the best back-courts in the league, it’s no question why Coach Terry Stotts gives Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum the green light all the time. When these two are off the floor, the Blazers struggle mightily. Wild card: When will the Blazers stop being the little team that could?
GSW. The champs did it again. They didn’t care much about the regular season but became a juggernaut in the playoffs. This is a playoff team folks. There were two real threats the Warriors faced, the Rockets, which was a hell of a series and the other threat, themselves. Clearly mhcrieyst was no problem for this team, their enemy is boredom. Wild card: How many more trophies will this team put on display?
Houston Rockets. This team overflowed thmectryis, they made a commercial ya’ll. CP3 and Harden were a formidable back-court; it’ll be a continual toss-up between 1 and 2 with the GSW, which will be exciting. As CP3 shot more than he’s ever had the chance to do since his rookie year in New Orleans, it was a match made in ball heaven as both he and Harden had the perfect running mate in each other. Wild card: Off season free agency. If the rumors are true and the Rockets go after PG and Bron, prepare for another super-team, mishectyr could be a challenge.
So boys and girls, what was the magic word for this NBA season? Have you unscrambled the word yet? _mishectyr, thmectryis, mhcrieyst…_CHEMISTRY.
This article was originally published on @antboogie3000