The 2015-2016 NBA season is almost upon us. Tomorrow night the basketball new year gets underway with a tripleheader headlined by the champion Golden State Warriors hosting the New Orleans Pelicans. It’s been 132 days since the Warriors won game six to defeat the Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA Finals, but tomorrow night they will finally receive their rings as proof. Golden State looks to be a top favorite to win this year’s title as well as they returned every key player from last year’s run, sans David Lee. Tomorrow evening they welcome the Pelicans to the Bay Area as Anthony Davis and company look to build on a promising campaign last year. Davis led the league last year in Player Efficiency Rating with 30.8, and has the 7th highest PER rank of all time through a player’s first three years. A key storyline in this game is the return of Alvin Gentry. Gentry, now the Pelicans’ head coach, spent last year as the associate head coach for the Warriors. Certainly he will have mixed emotions as Gentry will receive his Warriors championship ring and then proceed to coach against them.
The other big game of the NBA opening night is also a playoff rematch from last year as the Chicago Bulls play host to the Cavaliers. For LeBron James and crew, health will be the big key all season long. James knows all too well what it means to have to shoulder a heavy load due to teammate injuries. He’s coming off a finals where he averaged 35.8 points, 8.8 assists, and 13.3 rebounds per game. After doing so, James became the first player in NBA Finals history to lead each team in all three categories. With James, Kevin Love, Tristan Thompson, Iman Shumpert, and J.R. Smith all resigned, the Cavs figure to be in the title race once again. For the Bulls it’s all about new head coach Fred Hoiberg and how much he can get out of this team that has been a regular playoff team the past seven years. If Derrick Rose can stay healthy, it may be these two teams in late May battling it out for the Eastern Conference crown.
I know where I’m going to be tomorrow night at eight; sitting on the couch and enjoying one of life’s most fun gifts. Basketball is back.