AFTER what feels like an eternity the dog days are over! NBA training camps will commence in the coming days signalling the start of a new basketball season. As the dust settles from another tumultuous offseason fans are left wondering how season 2018-19 will unfold and heading into camps there are some questions that are demanding our attention.
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Will Jimmy Butler have a new home before camp begins?
WITH every hour that passes the Timberwolves relationship with Jimmy Butler continues to deteriorate. After requesting a trade from Minnesota earlier this week, the T-Wolves seem set to grant the 5x All-Star’s request, as his icy relationship with Tom Thibodeau and Karl-Anthony Towns continues to dominates headlines. With the Knicks, Nets and Clippers his preferred destination it wouldn’t shock me to see Butler donning new threads before the end of the month.
When will Boogie be ready to play?
THIS question doesn’t have as much impact on training camp as it does on the rest of the Dubs’s season. With back-to-back titles under their belt, DeMarcus Cousins’ acquisition gives them another string to their bow in their effort to complete the three-peat. However, coming off an Achilles injury means there’s no certainty Boogie can return to the peak of his powers in 2018-19. Golden State won’t care if they win 56 or 63 or 78 games this season, their priority will revolve entirely around getting everyone healthy for the postseason, which could mean we see very little of Cousins in the regular season. Which means both Jordan Bell and Kevin Looney will get a chance to make themselves a serious member of this championship rotation.
Can Dwane Casey right the ship in Detroit?
ON paper the Pistons should be a playoff team in a top-heavy Eastern Conference this season. The 3rd spot out East is well and truly up for grabs and there is a scenario in which Detroit climbs to those lofty heights. That is of course, assuming their studs can stay healthy and new head coach Dwane Casey figures out how to use Andre Drummond and Blake Griffin effectively. In my eyes, anything short of postseason action is a failure from this group in 2018-19.
What role will Dennis Schroder play?
THE Dennis Schroder trade looms as one of the most underrated moves this summer. After landing the German-born floor general, OKC fans are eager to see how Schroder fits into this Thunder locker room. More importantly, with the ball-dominant walking triple-double in Russell Westbrook demanding the rock, how can Schroder adjust to life without the ball in his hands? A lot of rumours and reports are suggesting Westbrook will play a lot more off the ball this year and if they can find the recipe that helps both players succeed we could see OKC make a serious championship run.
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Who starts for Boston on the wing?
IF healthy two starting spots next year will belong to Kyrie Irving and Al Horford in Boston. The other three spots in the lineup aren’t so set in stone with Jayson Tatum, Gordon Hayward, Marcus Morris, Terry Rozier and Jaylen Brown all viable candidates. The easy option might be to play some combination of Hayward/Brown/Tatum, but Smart, Morris and Rozier all have their strengths to help balance out the starting group. Besides, imagine the luxury of using Tatum or Hayward as your 6th man. Jesus Boston’s got a scary looking list.
Will Melo come off the bench?
WE know he probably can but the question revolves around if Melo will accept a secondary role with the Rockets. After refusing to start on the pine on OKC, Carmelo Anthony finds himself in Houston eager to set things straight and capture that elusive NBA title that he has failed to secure through 15 pro seasons. To do so and to give his team the best possible chance of winning it seems spearheading the second unit is a perfect role for the 34-year old to play. Of the 1,054 regular season games that Anthony has appeared in, he has started every single one of them and has been quite vocal in stating he plans on keeping that streak alive. It might be time for Melo to look at the greater good.
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Rondo or Lonzo, who starts in L.A?
I love Rajon Rondo and always will. For years he has been one of my favourite players and his ability to create opportunities for his teammates will see him remembered long after he hangs em up. That being said, I think there is only one clear choice here. Lonzo Ball has played just one NBA season and over the course of said season, he improved leaps and bounds with every month that passed. If you give him the nod at PG and his jumper can keep improving LeBron might not have to look far for a star sidekick. Los Angeles might not have the same point of view…
How can Toronto keep Kawhi happy?
THE Toronto Raptors are facing a defining season north of the border. On one hand, if the Kawhi Leonard trade pays dividends then they can repeat as No. 1 seed’s in their conference. Heck, if things really go according to plan there’s no reason this outfit can’t make it to the Finals. I’m sure Raptors fans like that possible pathway over the one that sees Kawhi leave once the season concludes as they struggle to find their identity in a post-DeRozan world. I think Toronto will fall somewhere in the middle and regardless of wins and losses, this season should be all about keeping Kawhi in TO long term. If they can get off to a strong start at camp and Leonard meshes into the lineup seamlessly Maasai Uriji will be able to breathe a little easier
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