I’ve passionately followed the NBA for over a decade and in my time I have never experienced a season as crazy as this year’s.
To be honest, the NBA was starting to seem stale prior to the 2014-15 season. It seemed like the Eastern Conference would forever be dominated by the Miami Heat and nobody else, and the Western Conference playoff picture would include the same eight teams every year.
For the first time in forever, we have had a season full of surprises, and shocking ones at that.
As of Feb. 25, the Atlanta Hawks are the best team in the Eastern Conference. This is a team that struggled to make the No. 8 seed in the pathetic east last season. They don’t have a superstar player, but it is evident that their teamwork and coaching is so superior that it doesn’t matter. The fact that four of their five starters were selected for the East All-Star team this year shows how balanced their squad is.
In the Western Conference, the Golden State Warriors have dominated, losing only 10 of 54 games played. Held back by inferior coaching in years past, the Warriors have finally unlocked their potential with new Head Coach Steve Kerr, and looked primed for a deep playoff run.
That is if they aren’t stopped by any of the amazing Western Conference teams, such as the quiet but tremendously effective Memphis Grizzlies, high-octane Houston Rockets or any of the amazing Western Conference teams currently in the playoff hunt.
There are legitimately intriguing storylines for every single team in the NBA. Except for the Denver Nuggets. Sorry Nuggets, you’re just not that interesting.
The Chicago Bulls and their resurgence as a top team in the east, and the dismal but unfortunately predictable news that their star point guard Derrick Rose will have to undergo yet another knee surgery.
The Miami Heat have had an insane season without LeBron James. This includes a deadline trade for the Sun’s star point guard Goran Dragic and unexpected blood clots in Chris Bosh’s lungs that have sidelined him for the season.
The Knicks have had their worst season in team history, largely due to star forward Carmelo Anthony deciding to shut it down for the year to repair his ailing knee. Never did I think the Knicks would sink this low. They are basically hoping to secure the first pick in the NBA Draft by being as bad as possible.
The star-studded Cleveland Cavaliers took a couple months to learn how to play together. Critics have been silenced as of late, as they have won 15 of their last 17 games. Knicks castaways J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert look like different players now that they get to play with LeBron James.
The Most Valuable Player (MVP) race is more contested than ever. In past years it was either LeBron James or Kevin Durant as the only two players who could realistically win the award. This season it seems like a complete toss up, as many new players have entered the conversation. Stephen Curry, James Harden, Russell Westbrook and Marc Gasol could all be named MVP this season for their tremendous play.
There is so much more I could talk about, but there simply isn’t enough time or room. This NBA season has taught me many things. I now know not to take anything for granted, and expect upsets to happen. It has taught me that superior coaching is more important than ever and something that can bring teams from mediocre to great.
I’ve learned that players can improve dramatically from season to season, that I should never underestimate any player in this league. Never did I think that Jimmy Butler or the Bulls or the Sun’s newly-aquired Brandon Knight would be All-Star caliber players.
I honestly have no clue what will happen in the playoffs. I think the only two teams in the east with a chance of winning it all are the Hawks and the Cavaliers, whereas in the west any of the playoff teams could go all the way. Why am I even making predictions? This season taught me that all of my predictions will forever be wrong!