We’re setting up the NBA landscape starting with the juggernaut Los Angeles Lakers along with 3 resurgence arcs. Superstars AD and LeBron set the scene in Los Angeles. Behind them, I’m sorry, underneath them, the Clippers are ready to rebound. In the East, we have three cases of something to prove with the Clippers, Nets, and Bucks.
Los Angeles Lakers
Fresh from winning their 17th title, the Los Angeles Lakers are chasing a dynasty that would forever cement them in history. Los Angeles has a healthy history of dominant duos, Kareem-Magic, Shaq-Kobe, and Kobe-Gasol to name a few. But they don’t seem to be motivated to eclipse the duo greats, each superstar has their own motivations.
Lebron isn’t just putting the finishing touches on his already impressive resume with 4-titles, 4 finals MVPs, and 4 regular season MVPs; he’s also chiseling away at his media rival; Michael Jordan. LeBron’s motivations are legacy driven, his mind is set on cementing himself not as one of the greats, but the greatest there ever was. When a king builds a kingdom, he looks for someone to build on the work he’s done. Anthony Davis is the heir to James’ throne. The kingdom isn’t given, its earned.
Anthony Davis proved he has the moves, finesse, and toughness during the playoffs in the Orlando bubble but the lights have never been brighter. The Lakers are favorites to win the title this year despite powerhouse contenders. If AD can outshine the expectations, he proves his worth as the rightful heir. He also begins the arduous task of building his own legacy that’ll rival LeBron’s. While the Lakers’ stars are building their legacy, others have different ideas.
Los Angeles Clippers
LA Clippers are ready to rebound after a contentious end to their last season after losing to the Denver Nuggets. It makes it that much worse that the Clippers had a 3-1 lead in the series with big leads in each game. The Clippers view Denver’s accomplishments as their failings.
Who could forget, two years ago when Kawhi Leonard shocked the NBA when he signed with the Clippers after forcing them to give up all their assets for Paul George. Kawhi Leonard was fresh off a championship run with Toronto himself, after forcing himself out of San Antonio. He was looking to make a name for himself in LA and looked to challenge LeBron’s place as the best player in the NBA. With both Paul George and Kawhi Leonard’s performances in the Western Semi-Finals against Denver’s, they both are looking to make a splash.
In the East; we have the Brooklyn Nets lead by Kevin Durant and Kyrie. They have a haphazardly dangerous coaching team headed by former MVP Steve Nash and his once-coach Mike D’Antoni. KD is looking to return to form after suffering an Achilles tear in Game 6 of the NBA finals against the Toronto Raptors. It turned to be the last game he played for Golden State before moving to the Brooklyn Nets with friend Kyrie Irving.
It was rumored that Kyrie and KD were planning on playing with each other when they were seen talking in the hallway during the All-Star game. Something they denied but corrected once they moved teams during a podcast. (Possibly denied because it might disrupt their locker room before free agency). Kyrie Irving himself has something to prove. After winning a championship with LeBron James then forcing his way out of Cleveland, he has consistently come out small. His career has been riddled with injury since his departure. There were also talks of him being a bad locker room presence. The reports of the Celtics improvement in his absence didn’t help either. They’re not the only sharks in the east.
Giannis is also itching to get back on the court after another disappointing playoff exit. He has to respond to the criticisms on his game. Particularly, the lack of shooting which severely limits his impact in the playoffs. He needs to expand the limited moves in his repertoire if he wants to begin his reign.
There are a lot of experiments and surprises that are shaping the NBA. The Heat are looking to will themselves back to the finals after a surprise appearance in the bubble. Boston is making a push but they haven’t gotten significantly better in the past year. Houston also put together a hogwash of ex-star players next to Harden. It’ll be exciting way to see how it shakes out.
The landscape is set and the NBA season is poised to be one for the history books. Will LeBron James and Anthony Davis repeat and prove their dominance? Will the Clippers galvanize and make run? Or will East take hold of the trophy this upcoming season?
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