A Wheeler’s Opinion: 3 Reasons to be Excited for the New NBA Season

The NBA is more than just about the GSW-Cavs storyline

Will this new Big 3 find a way to work together and bring home a title to Oklahoma?

The 2017-2018 NBA season is about to make every pair of eyes of every NBA fan stuck to their TV, computer monitors and even their mobile devices as it officially opens tomorrow (Manila time) beginning with the rematch of last season’s Eastern Conference Finals match-up between the Cleveland Cavaliers going up against the Boston Celtics. Oh and don’t forget folks. Chris Paul and James Harden will get the honor of trying to hand the Golden State Warriors when the revamped Houston Rockets open their season against the defending champions of Stephen Curry and company.
While almost NBA fan is complaining that this upcoming season will be boring as the Cavs and the Warriors are heavily favored to go head-to-head come the Finals in June of 2018- one thing that even this basketball pundit on wheels certainly believes, take away the Warriors and the Cavs and we still 14 more teams to watch out for. 14 stories to follow. 14 adventures to be excited about. Let’s skip the prediction as to who will win the NBA title this season because we already have an idea as which team will that be, right, Warriors fans?
Below are the 3 reasons why NBA fans should be excited about the 2017-2018 season despite the inevitability that one team will dominate the season, again:

All Western Guns are Pointing towards Oakland

Russell Westbrook has Carmelo Anthony AND Paul George as his new teammates in Oklahoma. Chris Paul has joined James Harden in what is expected by many to become one of the most exciting backcourt tandems in history. LaMarcus Aldridge has recently signed a contract extension to remain with the San Antonio Spurs for the next 3 seasons. Even the Minnesota Timberwolves have formed a Big 3 of their own with Karl Anthony Towns, Nikoli Pekovic and Jimmy Butler.
All these teams in the Western Conference have reloaded themselves for one goal: to dethrone the Golden State Warriors who have been consistently dominating the West for all of the 3 previous seasons. And counting. If anything, we should definitely be excited as to how the new Big 3 in Oklahoma will work together because Westbrook, George and Anthony are proven scorers and the question that is nagging in everyone’s mind is: who will the main Alpha in Oklahoma?

The Kyrie Irving-LeBron James Rivalry

Since Kyrie Irving demanded a trade from the front office of Cleveland during the busy off-season, a demand that was granted and forever shook the balance in the East, to say the least, it was already the beginning of a brewing rivalry between brothers turned rivals, Kyrie Irving and the King himself, LeBron James. 
Apparently, the reason why Irving wanted himself out of Cleveland was that he didn’t want to play alongside LeBron- a partnership that produced 3 consecutive Finals appearances and a championship in 2016. Tomorrow’s game between the Cavs and the Celtics will serve as the opening chapter in this rivalry and this basketball pundit on wheels will be keeping a close eye on the performance of both guys, particularly of Irving if he can indeed, play AND win without LeBron James.

The New Format for the All-Star Game

The battle between the East against the West is no more. The NBA along with the Players Association has announced earlier this month that the All-Star Game will have a different format. Starters will still be voted by fans but the difference is this; each team will have a captain. Each captain will draft their respective starters and reserves from the pool of players that are voted by fans to participate in the mid-season festivity.
Why is the new All-Star game format exciting? Team captains can select any player he desires, regardless of from which team and conference that the players are playing for. So imagine LeBron James forming a super team with his super friends: namely Chris Paul, Carmelo Anthony along with Dwayne Wade. How about Steph  Curry bringing along his 3 friends from Golden State along with Anthony Davis? 
The possibilities are unlimited. This could be where super teams of the future will be built from here on. Exciting, isn’t it?

The Spurs: Still a Threat to GSW

We could see another Spurs-Warriors match-up come the West Finals

Experience plus discipline will help the Spurs this season and beyond
Sure, the Houston Rockets got Chris Paul and will now share the backcourt alongside James Harden. 
The Oklahoma City Thunder received Paul George and will now play alongside reigning MVP, Russell Westbrook. 
Rajon Rondo will now become the New Orleans Pelicans’ top playmaker who will lead the team alongside ever improving Anthony Davis. 
It seems that the rest of the West have been picking up pieces to hopefully challenge the mighty Golden State Warriors. But we’re probably forgetting one team: the San Antonio Spurs. 
Sure, the Warriors swept Kawhi Leonard and company during last season’s Western Conference Finals although many basketball pundits including the one who is writing this article, firmly believed that the outcome of the series would have been different had Tony Parker and Kawhi Leonard were healthy and playing during that series. Like it or not, Coach Gregg Popovich and his wards are still the team who can, at the very least, challenge the Warriors of Kevin Durant and Stephen Curry.
Now, you’re probably scratching your heads and asking yourselves: ‘How can the Spurs beat the Warriors?” 
Let’s run some numbers. 
While the Spurs were averaging 105.3 points per game during the 2016-2017 season, 16th in the league, the Spurs have always been known as a defensive-minded team and last season’s numbers have proven that. In terms of limiting the opponents’ total points in a game, the Spurs only limited their opponents to 98.1 points on the average, the second best in the league in that category. 
Since the Spurs have big men like LaMarcus Aldridge, Pau Gasol, guys like Danny Green, Manu Ginobili who can block shots, San Antonio, as a team, averaged 5.9 rejections- a spot behind league-leading Warriors in that category. And, don’t forget about the mere fact that Kawhi Leonard, the best two-way player in the league right now, has fully recovered from the injury he sustained during the playoffs.
While there’s doubt that the Warriors are loaded with such firepower as we saw during their impressive postseason run, the Spurs, on the other hand, remain as one of the teams in the league that have the discipline and the respect to the game, to challenge the players of Steve Kerr come the upcoming regular season and eventually, in the playoffs, should they will be pitted against each other. 
For starters, Rudy Gay has signed a 2-year deal with the Spurs and that’s a good addition to a team which has aging stars in Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili probably playing their last years in the league. Throughout his career, Gay has been averaging 18 points per game to go along with 5.9 rebounds and 2.3 assists. Gay will be providing additional firepower that the Spurs will need especially in crucial moments of the game.
The regular season will not come until October which means the Spurs will still have more time to prepare themselves because aside from their goal to hopefully dethrone the Warriors, they will also have to worry about the rest of the West because the other teams in the West have loaded themselves with additional firepower. However, chemistry will play a big role in the success of every team and when we’re talking chemistry, the chemistry that has been established by the Spurs players themselves has proven to be among the best in the league and whenever there’s a good chemistry among players, it helps them perform better on and off the court.