The National Basketball Association (NBA) season tipped off this week. With 30 teams playing an 82-game schedule, it’s hard for even the biggest hoops fan to follow all the teams and players. So here are a few storylines to watch this season.
Golden State still has veterans from those championship runs — sharpshooting Klay Thompson, rugged Draymond Green and magical Stephen Curry. But the secret of the Warriors’ success is that they have been able to reinforce their championship core with younger stars such as guard Jordan Poole and forward Andrew Wiggins. If the Warriors can avoid injuries, they will be tough to knock off this season.
Who are the other contenders? The Celtics are still around and maybe even stronger after they added Malcolm Brogdon. The 6-foot-5-inch guard should make the Celtics offense more consistent.
The Milwaukee Bucks will be a threat to win it all as long as Giannis Antetokounmpo is on their team. The fabulous power forward, known as “The Greek Freak,” is almost unstoppable when he gets into “the paint” (the area near the basket).
Kawhi Leonard and Paul George have suffered injuries the past few seasons. But if this talented duo can stay healthy, the Los Angeles Clippers may finally contend for a title.
Is LeBron done? LeBron James has been the best player in the NBA (and maybe the greatest of all time) since 2003. But even the greatest get older. At 38 years old, it may be time to wonder if LeBron can carry his Los Angeles Lakers through the playoffs as he has in the past.
Who are the young stars? The NBA is loaded with talented players, but even among all these stars, Trae Young of the Atlanta Hawks and Ja Morant of the Memphis Grizzlies stand out. Both are super-slick point guards who can score in bunches — Young averaged 28.4 points and Morant 27.4 last season.
These budding superstars, however, may not be championship contenders until they play better defense. As any kid who plays the game knows, there are two parts to basketball: scoring and keeping the other team from scoring.
What about the Wizards? Every season, Washington basketball fans wonder if their team will be a winner. The Wiz should be better in 2022-23 with a full year of all-star guard Bradley Beal and 7-foot-3-inch forward Kristaps Porzingis playing together. But they will need younger players such as Rui Hachimura to step up to finish over .500.
There’s a lot to watch in the NBA this season.
Bowen writes the sports opinion column for KidsPost. He is the author of 27 sports books for kids. His latest book is “Hardcourt: Stories From 75 Years of the National Basketball Association.”