The Road to the Larry O’Brien Trophy Begins

The National Basketball Association (NBA) began their season on Oct. 18 following what was a very eventful off-season.

The Brooklyn Nets, who suffered a very disappointing first round playoff exit last season, had a drama-filled offseason that featured their two best players, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant, nearly leaving the team.

“I am at the point where I see the Brooklyn Nets as either a great team or they will be very bad,” said junior Ashton Allcock. “After watching them for the first week, they look mediocre. I do not think they will be that good of a team.”

Irving nearly decided to decline the player option in his contract, but ultimately decided to exercise it to stay with the Nets. Durant, on the other hand, demanded that he be traded, but eventually rescinded this request.

Another big story this off-season was Boston Celtics Head Coach Ime Udoka’s season-long suspension for violating team rules.  It later came to light that Udoka had an inappropriate relationship with a female staff member.

“He got suspended about a month before the season started, which forced the Celtics to go into a new coaching system in Joe Mazzulla,” said junior Justin Alter.

Many people are eager to see if the Celtics can find the same success they had last season under their new head coach.

The Memphis Grizzlies are coming off a breakout season in which they finished second in the Western Conference.  While they did not make many substantial moves this offseason, they will look to build on the growth they made in 2021-22.

The Miami Heat also had an excellent season last year, in which they advanced all the way to the Eastern Conference Finals.  They re-signed a few of their key players from last year and made a few minor deals as well.

“In the West, I am taking the Memphis Grizzlies. Last year they had the best young core in the league, headlined by their star Ja Morant,” said Alter. “In the East, I think the Miami Heat could pull it out. My championship contenders are the Miami Heat and the Memphis Grizzlies.”

One team in the Eastern Conference that had a huge offseason was the Cleveland Cavaliers. Cleveland acquired all-star shooting guard Donovan Mitchell from the Utah Jazz in early September.

“I was surprised that he got traded to the Cavaliers. All offseason I thought he was staying [in Utah] or going to New York to play for the Knicks, but it was a great move by Cleveland,” said Allcock.

On Election Day, Nov. 8,  the NBA will not play games, which is the first time in NBA history that there will be an empty slate on Election Day, as part of a league-wide initiative to promote voter participation.

“This is a great idea. I guarantee you each team will have a team rep there,” said Alter. “For example, for the Knicks, if you go to vote at Madison Square Garden, you could see Obi Toppin.”

Teams will be opening up their arenas as election polls instead in order to encourage more people to vote in the midterm elections.

“This gives incentive to go and vote. Personally, simply having a right to vote is enough of an incentive, but some people nowadays just need an extra push,” said Alter.

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