Basketball is back!
After a busy offseason filled with blockbuster trades sending All-Star players to rival teams, on Tuesday night the 2017-18 season officially tips off with two marquee matchups that will give basketball fans the world over their first look at some of the league’s newest lineups of superstars and might even be a preview of the conference finals — Boston Celtics at Cleveland Cavaliers and Houston Rockets at Golden State Warriors.
There’s plenty for basketball fans to love about the NBA’s return, both on and off the court.
Below we’ll take a look at why we are excited to see the NBA back in action.
No one backed down from the Warriors
Facing perhaps the greatest collection of talent the NBA has ever seen, NBA teams did not bow to Golden State, but instead went to ridiculous lengths to challenge them. The Rockets, Thunder, Wolves, Celtics, and Cavs all made major moves to challenge the Warriors this offseason.
Making it even more fun was the transactions looked as if they were spawned from the minds of over-excited fantasy basketball players. Paul George and Carmelo Anthony to the Thunder for the price for a few role players? Sure. The greatest point guard of his generation in Chris Paul joining a player who had career year as a point guard in James Harden? Why not? Kyrie Irving demanding to leave LeBron James and getting sent to… the Cavs’ biggest challengers? Of course!
It’s possible that none of this changes the outcome of this season, but it’s exciting to see NBA teams rise to the challenge in increasingly wild ways. The jelling of these newfound super-team teams and how they measure up to Golden State makes this as exciting a regular season as we’ve seen in years.
— Scott Davis
Trash talk and subtweets
We’ve already had three Twitter subplots take over the timelines of NBA fans since the Warriors won their second title in three years back in June. Kevin Durant appeared to get busted using a burner account to respond to fans angry at him for leaving Oklahoma City, Joel Embiid is calling out Hassan Whiteside, and LeBron James called the sitting president of the United States “a bum.”
Basketball offers Twitter users something of a respite to those looking to escape the constant deluge of hot takes and crippling self-doubt that the site can induce. While it’s a complete mystery as to what social subplots will takeover this season, there will undoubtedly be plenty of them, ranging from who liked whose Instagram post to Embiid finally getting that date with Rihanna he’s been pushing for for years.
— Tyler Lauletta
This year’s rookie class has been called one of the most compelling in history, and no, that’s not just because of Lonzo Ball. The Lakers’ new point guard has already captured the attention of the league with his highlight reel passes (and his outspoken father, LaVar Ball), but he’s far from the only first-year player to keep an eye on this season.
The No. 1 overall pick in this year’s draft, Markelle Fultz, will be fighting to get a fascinating 76ers team back to the playoffs. The Celtics, widely considered the main threat to unseat the Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference, have a star rookie of their own in Jayson Tatum, who has drawn comparisons to Carmelo Anthony.
Across the country, point guards De’Aaron Fox and Dennis Smith Jr. will try to continue the terrific talent they have showed as freshmen in Sacramento and Dallas, respectively. Even Milos Teodosic, an international star with a Steve Nash-like passing touch, will be making his NBA debut for the Clippers. Expectations for this class are high, and I’m ready to watch them play in games that actually count.
— Sam Belden