By Aaron Jackson
With just weeks left before the NBA season begins, and the Boston Celtics holding their media day today, it seems fitting that now is a good time to take stock after what has been a crazy offseason. Here are my 5 top teams entering the 2017-2018 season.
- Golden State Warriors: No secret who the best team is; they’ve been dominant for years and there’s no reason to think that’s going to change this upcoming season. There will come a time when one of their core will decide to go elsewhere, but until then the Warriors are the team to beat.
- Cleveland Cavaliers: According to ESPN, the Celtics have leap frogged Lebron James and his teammates, but I’m not buying it just yet. The margin for error is now razor thin, but when you have the best individual player in the game, you’ll still be tough to beat. Kevin Love will need to do more, but once Isaiah Thomas is healthy this team should actually be better than last year’s squad that made the NBA Finals.
- Boston Celtics: The last couple of years were nice, but with the additions this offseason the pressure is now officially on Brad Stevens and his team. No longer are they the underdogs after adding two legitimate stars. Now it’s championships or bust. Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward form a potent 1-2 punch, while Al Horford should fit in nicely in his role as a do-it-all center. Rebounding is still a concern, as is defense, for a team that traded their best two way player in Avery Bradley. Depth may be an issue as well if Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown aren’t ready for the spotlight.
- Houston Rockets: They’ve just teamed the best offensive star in the game (James Harden) with one of the best all-around point guards in the game in Chris Paul. The roster is filled out with a number of decent veterans (Eric Gordon, Nene Hilario, PJ Tucker and Ryan Anderson) as well as a young big with some upside in Clint Capela. Time will tell if Paul and Harden can co-exist, as both need the ball in their hands to be effective, but as constituted I think there’s a lot to like here.
- Oklahoma City Thunder: If it wasn’t for the Celtics this would be the hot team to put money on after dealing for Paul George and Carmelo Anthony. Pairing those two with reigning MVP Russell Westbrook creates a great big three, but it comes at the expense of the rest of the roster. Depth will be a major issue for this team, as after those three the talent falls off dramatically. If they have the best record in the league near the end of the year they could snag a couple of late season veteran butouts, but something tells me there will be some growing pains that leave them a little short of that goal. I have to give them credit for going for it, but I’m not sure what they’ve done is enough to bring home the Larry O’Brien trophy.
Aaron Jackson (@AaronRJackson on Twitter) is a co-host on The Drive, weekdays 4pm to 6pm on 92.9fm The Ticket and streaming live at DriveShowMaine.com. Follow us on Twitter, @DriveShowMaine and “Like Us” on Facebook, Drive Show Maine.