Five Things To Watch: Los Angeles Lakers

Kobe

As the Los Angeles Lakers slowly and painfully transition away from the Kobe Bryant era, the franchise actually did the right thing in bottoming out last season. The Lakers went a franchise-worst 21-61 last season under first-year coach Byron Scott, losing 29 games by double digits. Forward Julius Randle was lost for the season with a foot injury in the opener, and everything went pretty much downhill from there. Los Angeles had the second-worst defensive rating and scoring defense while finishing 24th

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Five Things To Watch: Los Angeles Clippers

JordanClippers

Two points in time define the last several months for the Los Angeles Clippers. The first came in May, when the Clippers blew a 3-1 series lead in the Western Conference semifinals before falling to Houston. With DeAndre Jordan becoming an unrestricted free agent and Chris Paul pushing 30, there were worries that the proverbial window of opportunity for this team was beginning to close. That nearly proved to be the case over the July 4th weekend, when Jordan verbally agreed to

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Five Things To Watch: Golden State Warriors

Warriors

Every four decades, the basketball galaxy is in alignment for the Golden State Warriors. And on cue, last season was one of those moments as the Warriors won their first NBA championship since the days of Rick Barry 40 years ago. Last season’s Warriors were a talented group, particularly deep and immune to significant health problems, which they managed to avoid. In a breakthrough season, Stephen Curry achieved NBA Most Valuable Player status. Even their postseason matchups seemed to be hand-picked. And they did all of this with a rookie coach, no less. Now comes

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Five Things To Watch: Utah Jazz

Favors

This may become one of the most entertaining seasons in Utah Jazz history. The prospect of Quin Snyder coaching a talented young core led by growing stars Gordon Hayward, Derrick Favors and Rudy Gobert has elicited quiet whispers about making the playoffs. Will the Jazz’s supporting cast lift them up or let them down? What is GM Dennis Lindsey doing, and will his risks pay off in the long term? Basketball enthusiasts should watch the Jazz this season just to see how

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Five Things To Watch: Phoenix Suns

Brandon Knight Eric Bledsoe

The Phoenix Suns are a fascinating bunch to watch, in the way fans watch a demolition derby for the promise of imminent destruction. Coach Jeff Hornacek, entering the final guaranteed year of his contract, has to right the ship without the benefit of a rising star to buoy hopes for the future. That Hornacek was able to cobble together an 87-77 record the last two years without a single All-Star is a testament to his coaching ability. But he lost

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Five Things To Watch: San Antonio Spurs

Spurs Ring 2014 Multiple

For the San Antonio Spurs, most of the summers over the past few years have been about adding a few minor pieces to the roster. Their core was usually intact, and the team never had too much cap space in free agency. However, this past July was a memorable one for the Spurs as they were actually a serious contender in the free agent market with maximum cap space available. The Spurs not only re-signed core pieces in Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili,

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Five Things To Watch: Oklahoma City Thunder

kevin-durant-signs-with-roc-nation-sports-1

One couldn’t have imagined a worse outcome for the Oklahoma City Thunder in the 2014-15 season. A massive plague of injuries kept the team below full strength for the entire campaign. Specifically, Kevin Durant missed 55 games, Serge Ibaka missed 18 games and Russell Westbrook missed 15 games. The other four rotation players who started and finished the season with OKC – Anthony Morrow, Steven Adams, Andre Roberson and Nick Collison – missed between eight and 16 games each. All those missed

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