In a time when the Blue Jays once stole the spotlight of a nation, and where the Toronto Maple Leafs are pure trash… We luckily have one more team to be thankful for as Canadians. Tuesday October 27, 2015 tipped off the 70th season of the National Basketball Association (NBA) which is coming off yet another historical and memorable 2014-2015 season.
The reigning world champions led by Stephen Curry himself hopes to remind everyone that the Golden State Warriors weren’t just a fluke when they knocked off the Cleveland Cavaliers in 6 games. As for the Toronto Raptors, another disappointing first round exit has Canada’s lone wolf ready to redeem themselves this year with and upgrade to their brand and some heavy off-season pickups for their fans to be excited about.
With more exciting big men being drafted high in this year’s NBA draft, i.e. Karl Anthony Towns to the Minnesota Timberwolves, plus a plethora of surprising roster changes to some clubs, it looks to me that the 2015-2016 NBA season is going to be yet another exciting time for fans alike.
With that being said, here are the 5 NBA teams that I’m following very closely this season:
1. Chicago Bulls
Is it just me, but whenever I see Derrick Rose on the court my privates just seem to rush up straight into my chest. Let’s face it, Derrick Rose will NEVER get back to his once MVP form. He seems to settle for more jump shots, and his drives to the basket are a lot less aggressive and flashy. I mean, if I were in that position I don’t even know if I could play anymore. Still, Derrick Rose has undoubtedly proven to the critics that his hard work ethic keeps him doing what he was born to do.
Nikola Mirotić is a young growing sensation continuing to impress the Windy city with his 3-point range as a power forward. Pau Gasol is back for another year, exceeding all expectations as a 35-year old NBA champion. This Bulls team has the potential, but we’ll have to wait and see. With a new coach that will hopefully give his players some rest (sorry Tom) and Jimmy Butler opting to stay in Chicago for awhile, it’s ultimately all up to Derrick Rose to stay healthy for this team to have a shot at a successful season.
2. San Antonio Spurs
I’ll admit, when the Spurs met the Heat twice during Lebron James’ tenure in Miami in 2013 and 2014, I was definitely cheering for the Heat. But now that the flame is barely lit, and the superstar himself Dwyane Wade has shown his regression since winning the 2013 title, it looks like I’ve also moved on.
Timmy is timmy. Manu is manu-godly. Tony Parker can paint me like one of his french girls. Although these three have been the staple to what has been known to be one of the most successful franchises in the last twenty years, there’s someone else that I’m excited about on this club. Yes, I am talking about the Big-handed monster himself, Kawhi Leonard.
He is one of the most under rated players in the league right now. He’s improved significantly every single year he’s been in the league. He was named the Finals MVP in 2014 when the Spurs took down a stacked Heat team, and was named NBA’s Defensive Player of the year the following year. Exactly, you don’t even hear about this guy ever. When it’s all said and done, when the OG’ Big 3 retires, the Spurs organization won’t have to worry because this 24 year old superstar will keep the Spurs flame igniting for years to come.
3. Milwaukee Bucks
With so many young and developing bodies on a exciting young team, there’s no way I’m going to pass up on this team this year. I honestly don’t think they will go that deep in terms of standings (let alone playoffs), but the amount of talent and potential is worth the investment. Jabari Parker, the #2 overall in last year’s draft unfortunately missed most of the season after a season-ending ACL injury. But this season shares a different story. With a healthy Jabari Parker and youthful starting line up, I hope to see a lot of highlights coming from them this year.
There are currently twelve active Canadians representing our country in the league. One of them being Tyler Ennis. Drafted #18 overall last year to the Phoenix Suns, he has a chance now with a new team to help develop himself into a better basketball player. It’s going to be hard for the young kid, but he knows in order to make any contributions to the club, he’s going to have to work extremely hard for it.
Greg Monroe, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Khris Middleton, Michael Carter-Williams. Don’t tell me that ain’t exciting. DON’T TELL ME.
4. Minnesota Timberwolves
Earlier I mentioned that there were currently twelve active Canadians playing in the league. Probably the most well known out of the dozen most definitely has to be Andrew Wiggins. The reigning NBA Rookie of the Year is one of the few reasons why us Canadians are able to keep a smile on our faces even when faced with these horrible winters that seem to sweep across our nation every year.
Aside from that, a lot has happened to the Timberwolves in the past year. You got future Hall of Famer Kevin Garnett coming back for what might be his last season in his long successful career. His poise and leadership will benefit the team in ways unimaginable that will only be reflected on the court.
Zach LaVine brought some more positive attention by earning the title of last year’s Dunk Contest winner during the All-Star break. With the aforementioned Karl Anthony Towns becoming the top pick this year and the rest of the young group wanting to make their late coach Flip Saunders proud, I definitely see promise for them this year.
5. Toronto Raptors
*in a Cleveland Cavaliers Commentator voice* OOHHHHH MMEEEE OHHHHHH MYYYYYYY!!!
Ever since the 06′-07′ season, I’ve had my eyes locked onto the Toronto Raptors. Chris Bosh was a perfect fit as he perfectly resembled the Team’s mascot, and now as entertaining as it is Demar Derozan could pass as Chris Bosh’s related ancestor. I haven’t been a fan of them for that long, but they have grown on me immensely since realizing it’s basically a responsibility of mine to cheer on homegrown organizations no matter what the circumstances are.
They have the right pieces in place. With a big man in Jonas Valančiūnas (srs my favourite) that continues to improve his game every season, and the big off season pickups of DeMarre Carroll and Corey Joseph, I’m interested to see how this season unfolds with their defensive structure as the focus of their game strategy. As much as Derozan might look like a 6-billion-year-old raptor, him and his back-court partner Kyle Lowry will certainly put up big numbers throughout the season and provide fans with the excitement they deserve as they look to get back into the playoffs, hopefully getting through the first round.