Dead. We were all stuck in the NBA/Overall Sports dead zone. Despite an incredibly
entertaining off-season and rumors of Kyrie trades, Marc Gasol sparks, and the inevitable dilemma facing LeBron in a season, the sports world had finally begun to stagnate. No basketball going on, baseball’s season dragging slowly to the finish, and unwatchable pre-season football amidst hot and buggy August weather seemed like our fate. But then Danny Ainge felt sympathy for us all and did what we had finally been waiting for the last 3 years as the Celtics stockpiled Brooklyn’s immensely valuable assets. He finally cashed in. So many names had been floated out over time. Paul George, Jimmy Butler, DeMarcus Cousins, Blake Griffin, Kristaps Porzingis, Carmelo Anthony, Kevin Love, Marc Gasol, and even Anthony Davis, just to name a few. But never, NEVER, in a million years could anyone see the Celtics getting Kyrie Irving, the 2nd best player for a team in the midst of a back-to back-to back championship run. And not only that, but Boston would never part with IT4, beloved folk hero to all in title town especially and short point guard just trying to make it. And surely NBA nerds would guarantee that the Celtics wouldn’t include that oh so coveted pick. Well, it happened. And suddenly life has been shot into NBA fan’s hearts as if from a loaded rifle. Here’s a breakdown of 5 important things to take away from this.
- Opening Night will be Incredible – The Celtics and Cavs open up the season for the whole league with a game in Boston on the night of October 17. Simultaneously, the Dubs and the Rockets will battle it out in Oracle. Can you imagine how many storylines that we’ll have for an anticipated 96 minutes of gameplay total. Kyrie vs. LeBron in an all out revenge battle against each other. Isaiah and Crowder heading back to Boston against the team that gave up on them. Potential for Kyrie to light up IT and JR for 40, LeBron dunking Kyrie’s head through the rim, Isaiah to get hot in his favorite arena with lingering Boston fans, and Crowder tripping Gordon Hayward every time he takes a step. And that’s without mentioning a game between 2 teams that had better record the year prior, with the Dubs taking on the reinvigorated “Moreyball” Rockets with Harden, CP3, and maybe even Melo(can’t rule anything out). What a night. I’m so glad that it’s moved up this year. And to think this basketball cornucopia of excellence is less than 2 months away.
- Celtics will Win Less Games in the Regular Season – Hold your angry pro-Celtic/pro-Kyrie comments back, because I still think this was a good move on Boston’s part. But just think about it. Isaiah had an all-time great offensive season last year and was better in the regular season. Crowder and Bradley provided the defense that’s required to win 50 games. And the young guys they had to part ways with were more willing to bust their butts on random nights rather than talented, high-paid vets. So right now I truly call for the Celtics to take the 2 seed in the East behind the Cavs due to the recent changes. However, the Celtics are now a much more dangerous team in the playoffs, as stars matter more and Kyrie has proved that the post-season is his time. Isaiah is too small and inconsistent to take over a game, while Kyrie’s best skills are what matter most in those tight game 3s, 5s, and 7s: the ability to create space for jumpshots and to finish contested runs to the rim. And I think LeBron himself taught us this last year that home court advantage doesn’t matter out East, so I think that’s a fair deal.
- The Cavs just Bought “LeBron” Insurance – So now we know that if you ever crash your franchise with a high speeding LeBron at the wheel, the cost to protect this high-risk, high-reward vehicle is your championship point guard/closer/mini alpha-dog. Was it worth it? We’ll find out. And let’s not kid ourselves that the insurance is a 5’9” guard with a bad hip, a decent role player that can’t create on his own, or a guy with a last name that starts with Z. No, the big blue chip here was the Brooklyn pick. You can practically already see the analytical Cavs fan salivating at Marvin Bagley in a wine & gold Cleveland uni, and if not that, at least Michael Porter Jr. or Luka Doncic. Right now, the odds that Bron leaves for the bright lights of LA in 2018 seem to grow everyday, so Coby Altmann and Dan Gilbert have now acquired something to sell their team around. We’ll have, let’s say, Bagley, a future superstar who we will rebuild our franchise around. That way you stay relevant and keep the Cleveland fanbase satisfied. And while I love that idea from a GM’s standpoint, there’s one last card in play here. One last trade. Flipping the pick for another superstar in order to gear up for the 4rth round of the Golden State War. Boogie Cousins? Anthony Davis? Porzingis, the Unicorn? Marc Gasol? We just can’t be sure. It might be best if they keep it, I don’t want to have a heart attack at 16 years old.
- The Celtics Love Jayson Tatum – The News coming out is that this trade had been on the table 2 weeks prior, with it basically being Thomas and Tatum straight up for Kyrie. The Cavs were willing to take it, but Danny Ainge wouldn’t back down. It looks like he really did believe what he said when he shipped out the #1 overall pick, he really does think that Tatum was the best available. And I don’t think we can debate too much, as he did nothing but impress during the Summer League. Regardless, the progression of Tatum will determine how we view this deal down the line. And I’ll predict that Brad Stevens starts him at one of his cluttered forward position by the end of the year.
- Either Kyrie or LeBron will Win MVP – Okay, this is actually one of those “crazy predictions for the year,” but I still want to talk about this. Both of their odds should go up because a) they’ll have less star power and be required to increase their stats and b) they’ll be so mad at the other guy, they’ll come out with the Westbrook, “It’s my year” mentality. Especially for Kyrie, who is finally the main star on his own team and will come for that MVP crown. And just think of his stats when Stevens brought out a monster statistical year from a guy 4 inches shorter and 70% as talented as Kyrie himself. LeBron will at first come out with anger to take down his media haters and his betrayer, but will slow as LeBron realizes that the playoffs are still more important. The increase of wins and stats will ultimately determine this, but expect these 2 to elevate their game up a step.
I could go on and on, but I don’t want to bore you, so I’ll leave it at that. Thank goodness that the NBA decided to liven us up in a relatively dead summer. As for other news, I’ll probably give 1 or 2 football posts in the next weeks in order to keep with the trend, followed by a break for the start of school, but I’ll be back with a full season preview. Thanks for reading, and don’t forget to send in your best questions to me at my e-mail, firstname.lastname@example.org