Just back in June, we witnessed one of the most epic finishes in NBA Finals history watching LeBron James and the Cavaliers ending the city of Cleveland's sports title drought, coming back from 3-1 to defeat to the 73-win Golden State Warriors.
A lot has changed since then.
The Cavs, for the most part, are the same team entering this year. The team they beat in the Finals? Well, we all know what happened in free agency. The addition of Kevin Durant is going to be scary for other teams facing the Dubs, but is it enough to win a ring this year and get revenge versus Cleveland?
Along with that, many players are on new teams. We have an interesting trio in Chicago with Dwyane Wade, Rajon Rondo and Jimmy Butler. The New York Knicks added big names like Derrick Rose, Brandon Jennings and Joakim Noah.
The San Antonio Spurs got Pau Gasol to fill in for the retired Tim Duncan. Harrison Barnes is now on the Dallas Mavericks. Many random free agents ended up cashing in big during the offseason thanks to the salary cap spike.
Will we see a new MVP not named Stephen Curry this season? It sure seems like it. Could it open the door for LeBron to win his fifth career MVP, or will it be someone like Kawhi Leonard or Chris Paul taking that honor? All of that and more in this NBA season preview.
Agree or disagree? Let us know in the comments.
Who's ready for another fantastic NBA season?!
Eastern Conference Standings
Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports
1. Cleveland Cavaliers
2. Toronto Raptors
3. Boston Celtics
4. Indiana Pacers
5. Charlotte Hornets
6. New York Knicks
7. Atlanta Hawks
8. Chicago Bulls
9. Detroit Pistons
10. Washington Wizards
11. Milwaukee Bucks
12. Miami Heat
13. Orlando Magic
14. Philadelphia 76ers
15. Brooklyn Nets
Western Conference Standings
Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports
1. Golden State Warriors
2. San Antonio Spurs
3. Los Angeles Clippers
4. Houston Rockets
5. Utah Jazz
6. Portland Trail Blazers
7. Oklahoma City Thunder
8. Memphis Grizzlies
9. Minnesota Timberwolves
10. Dallas Mavericks
11. New Orleans Pelicans
12. Sacramento Kings
13. Denver Nuggets
14. Los Angeles Lakers
15. Phoenix Suns
Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports
MVP: LeBron James, SF, Cleveland Cavaliers
Defensive Player of the Year: DeAndre Jordan, C, Los Angeles Clippers
Rookie of the Year: Joel Embiid, C, Philadelphia 76ers
Most Improved Player: Devin Booker, SG, Phoenix Suns
Sixth Man of the Year: Nick Young, SG, Los Angeles Lakers (#SwaggyPHive)
Coach of the Year: Nate McMillan, Indiana Pacers
Eastern Conference Playoffs
Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports
(1) Cleveland Cavaliers over (8) Chicago Bulls, 4-1
(2) Toronto Raptors over (7) Atlanta Hawks, 4-2
(4) Indiana Pacers over (5) Charlotte Hornets, 4-2
(6) New York Knicks over (3) Boston Celtics, 4-3
(1) Cleveland Cavaliers over (6) New York Knicks, 4-2
(4) Indiana Pacers over (2) Toronto Raptors, 4-3
(1) Cleveland Cavaliers over (4) Indiana Pacers, 4-1
Western Conference Playoffs
Pool Photo-USA TODAY Sports
(1) Golden State Warriors over (8) Memphis Grizzlies, 4-0
(2) San Antonio Spurs over (7) Oklahoma City Thunder, 4-1
(3) Los Angeles Clippers over (6) Portland Trail Blazers, 4-1
(4) Houston Rockets over (5) Utah Jazz, 4-3
(1) Golden State Warriors over (4) Houston Rockets, 4-1
(3) Los Angeles Clippers over (2) San Antonio Spurs, 4-3
(1) Golden State Warriors over (2) Los Angeles Clippers, 4-3
NBA Finals Prediction: Cleveland Cavaliers vs Golden State Warriors Pt. III
These last two NBA Finals series between the Warriors and the Cavaliers have been absolutely epic.
Despite the Warriors having four big-name stars in Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and Kevin Durant, we all know who the focus is going to be on—LeBron James. James has easily been the most talked-about player in the last two Finals, and for good reason.
James has put on historical performances in the last two Finals. Last year's win to capture his third title may be the best of his career, and possibly the greatest Finals performance of all time. Who is to say he can't do it again this year?
From the moment the Cavs-Warriors series ended in June to Kevin Durant signing with Dubs in July, it seemed like we were already set up for this series to happen for third time around. It looks like part three of this Cavs-Dubs rivalry could shape up to be the best one yet.
Who wouldn't love to watch Curry and Kyrie Irving go at it again? We also get a new matchup with LeBron likely matching up against KD, bringing back memories of the 2012 NBA Finals. Obviously, it looks like Andre Iguodala and Draymond will also get their share of trying to contain LeBron.
Despite being 31 in last season's Finals, James showed no signs of aging. He will be 32 by next year's Finals, but it doesn't seem like it will be much different from last season. If anything, we could see a better version of King James (at least in comparison to last season).
All the pressure is on the Warriors this year to win. After blowing a 3-1 lead and having an NBA-record 73 wins, it was a shock. Now adding a guy like KD to the team, they are the clear favorites to win it all, no matter who comes out of the East to face them in the Finals.
Meanwhile, LeBron has no pressure at all. The pressure is completely off of him after finally delivering a title to Cleveland. It could be the very first time we will see a carefree LeBron go to work this season, playing with absolute calmness. It is why I picked him to win MVP this year.
James is already trash-talking the likes of these Warriors and other teams too, saying that a lot of these players are only teaming up to beat him. It is true in a sense, and it will likely motivate the likes of Curry, KD and others to seek their revenge.
Despite it all though, I am actually picking the Cleveland Cavaliers to repeat as champions. Why? I honestly think they have the better team overall.
Before you call me crazy, look at what the Warriors lost in exchange for getting Durant. They lost some valuable pieces that made them such a complete team, such as Andrew Bogut, Harrison Barnes (despite his terrible Finals performance), Marreesse Speights and more.
The Warriors didn't need KD. They could have kept the same exact team as last season and they would probably be the odds-on favorites to win it all still. With KD, they added something they already have: a sharpshooter.
I feel like the Cavs have more depth than Golden State, and that will be the key into why I have them winning. Let us take a look at how the two team's starting 5s stack up against each other.
Kyrie will obviously go up against Curry. Klay will face JR Smith. KD and LeBron will guard each other. Draymond will go up versus Kevin Love. Finally, Tristan Thompson and Zaza Pachulia battle each other out for the boards.
It seems pretty even overall. Kyrie will be a better player this year, and he absolutely cooked Curry throughout last year's Finals. Who's to say he can't do it again or even worse to the two-time MVP?
Put in the Warriors new "death lineup," and the Cavs could have an advantage on the boards with Thompson and Love going up against Draymond and Durant. I also think we could see a new and improved Kevin Love as he tries to find his true role in Cleveland.
I do feel like this will be a close series, though. What I learned from last year, though, is to not bet against LeBron. By the time next year's Finals rolls around, there's no question he will still hold the title as the best current basketball player on the planet.
I believe he will have the mental toughness to overcome the hurdles in front of him, and I believe he will show that in front likes of KD and Curry. He clearly got into Steph's head towards end of last year's Finals, and I see him doing the same to Durant.
Give me the Cavs to repeat.
Nonetheless, it's going to be an epic series—heck, it's going to be an epic NBA season, folks.
“I’m addicted to boxing. I don’t think that it’s difficult for me to retire, but right now I don’t want to. It’s something I really enjoy and that I’m still capable of doing.
“It’s becoming rarer to see fights like the one with Kovalev and Ward. Where both are at their best . It is increasingly rare that those types of fights happen. In the case of an old fighter like myself, I want to see myself with opponents who require a real effort from me. If I don’t have a challenge, I don’t feel good. I don’t want to mislead my fans.”
Back in August, Jones (64-9, 46 KOs) suffered a bicep tear during his unanimous decision win over journeyman Rodney Moore (17-12-2, 7 KOs).
Jones says he’s just about fully recovered from his injury and plans to continue fighting.
“After I found out I was pregnant, he decided he didn’t want another child anymore,” Apple wrote of Eli’s biological father. “He’d changed his mind. He insisted I have another abortion. I refused. I couldn’t go through that again. The physical violence escalated for random things and reasons. He told me he’d keep doing this until I got rid of the baby.”
Apple left him and six months later, she wrote, Eli was born. Those memories, coupled with the Josh Brown situation, brought everything back Annie wrote.
“Domestic violence isn’t an amusement park attraction or haunted ride you take at an amusement park,” she wrote. “Domestic violence is a real, living nightmare. Victims are judged for not leaving, but the abuser isn’t criminalized.”
Brown was arrested in May 2015 for assault, but charges were quickly dropped.
“Usually by the time you hear of a domestic-violence victim, she’s either dead or barely alive; the rest of us survivors have lived in terror and millions of victims continue to live in terror,” Apple wrote. “Domestic violence is not about love; it’s about control. If you’re in a violent relationship, please get out and get help. It never gets better when you stay.”