10. Every Team Has A Storyline
This is my favorite time of the year besides the lead-up to playoffs. And April 4 because that’s my birthday.
Every team has a realistic chance, in their minds, of making the playoffs. Of course, only half of the teams will make it because those are the rules, and we can probably write off a few teams already.
But every team has a storyline.
A few examples:
- The Knicks are looking for someone, anyone, to grab the “star” or “future star” name tag after trading Carmelo Anthony before the season.
- After acquiring players like Jimmy Butler, Jeff Teague, Taj Gibson and Jamal Crawford this offseason, the Wolves are all in to make the playoffs for the first time since 2003-04.
- Meanwhile, the Timberwolves Digital Media Team is counting how many Red Bulls and trips to the skyway Dairy Queen are taken this year. Just how unhealthy can we get? We’ll update you in February!
9. Target Center Food
The Target Center has a new food menu led by Chef David Fhima. The star of the show is the Parlour Burger. It’s a cheesy mess of wonderfulness. The buns are toasted. The cheese is cheese (the most important part of cheese). The burger is juicy. Maybe start with eating half of it and pacing yourself. I had one the other night and was in food coma for about six hours. It was absolutely worth it.
There are also sushiritos, which is indeed, sushi acting as a burrito (the pizzarito from the Minnesota State Fair was not very good, by the way. The sushirito is awesome). There’s a walleye sandwich from Lord Fletcher’s. Need a pick-me-up? There’s coffee and espresso from City Girl Coffee.
Throughout this season, I will be taste testing things at halftime, including wine.
Just kidding, bosses!
8. This Rookie Class Will Be Fun
Last year’s rookie class was a bit underwhelming, and that’s okay. That happens, especially when the No. 1 overall pick misses the whole season.
But this year’s class has a chance to make up for that. Markelle Fultz, Lonzo Ball and De’Aaron Fox could be the next wave of All-Star point guards. Jayson Tatum shined in his first game with the Celtics (get well soon, Gordon!). Dennis Smith Jr. is the player nobody is talking about but they definitely should be. Kyle Kuzma looks like he could be the steal of the draft, or we’ll forget him after this season. It could go either way!
There are a lot of faces to be excited about, including Minnesota’s Justin Patton. There’s still no time table on his return, but for him to have Iowa as a possibility is a huge thing for his development.
7. Will I Gain Or Lose Weight?
Two years ago, I lost like 10 pounds throughout the season. Last year, while I haven’t confirmed it with a scale because I’m afraid of the results (it’s like checking your bank account in college, or when you’re 27), I think I gained five pounds.
Late nights. Caffeine. Junk food.
I think I’ll be gaining the fifth-season 15. And I’m cool with it.
6. What Will The Cavs Look Like?
Everyone wrote off the Cavaliers this offseason after the Kyrie Irving trade. But after Hayward’s likely season-ending injury, it’d be a surprise if the Cavaliers didn’t make the Finals again. It feels weird to say that on Oct. 20, but with how decimated the East got this offseason, it seems pretty realistic.
While the Cavs still have LeBron, they aren’t the same team. The layout is the same, sure. Give the ball to the best player in the world and let him play. But this team has added Dwyane Wade, Derrick Rose and Isaiah Thomas.
Wade will fit in. He’s not great defensively, but he’ll score around 18-22 points per game. The questions revolve around Rose and Thomas. Will Rose be able to take a backseat throughout the entire season? And when will Thomas return from his hip injury?
The more and more I look at this Cavs roster, the more I like it.
5. How Many Franchises Will I Start On 2K18?
I buy NBA 2K every season. In case you don’t know me, I get distracted very easily. I’ve gotten made fun of and scolded because I don’t pay attention to things, which doesn’t seem like a good thing. I believe it’s a criticism. But that’s who I am and such is life. I’ve locked my keys in my car roughly 32 times.
I love playing NBA 2K18, but I get bored with my team very easily. I make trades. I do fantasy drafts. I once played in the fourth quarter of every game while simulating the first three quarters. I have no idea why.
Last year, I had 12 franchises saved. I already have three this season. I’d go for the over if I were you.
4. The East Might Not Be Good, But It Will Entertain
We saw plenty of action in the NBA this offseason, mostly seeing Eastern Conference stars head to the Western Conference. Paul George and Carmelo Anthony joined Russell Westbrook in Oklahoma City. Jimmy Butler is back with Tom Thibodeau. Jeff Teague signed with Minnesota. The only notable player (off the top of my head) going to the East from the West was Hayward.
But don’t let that ruin the East for you. Teams like the 76ers and Bucks will be entertaining. The Cavs, Wizards, Celtics and Raptors should probably claim the top-four spots. If Andre Drummond gets back to form, how good could the Pistons be? There’s still plenty of intrigue here.
3. Laps Around Target Center Before Games
Before Wolves games, after coach availability, I walk around the Target Center for about 30 minutes.
It’s nice because 1.) It makes me feel better after eating all the calories at the media meal (MORE COOKIES PLEASE!) 2.) And it’s just a nice little stress reliever. I think so, at least. I don’t have a lot of stress in my life, but if I needed to relieve it, this feels like it would help. It’s also cool to see and say hi to all the Target Center workers before the game. These are some friendly people.
2. The Wolves Should Be Competitive Again
We’ve talked about this more than a few times because this is indeed Timberwolves.com and that’s our job. But the Wolves probably have their most-talented starting lineup since 2003-04 with Teague, Andrew Wiggins, Butler, Gibson and Karl-Anthony Towns. And then you move to the bench of Tyus Jones, Jamal Crawford, Shabazz Muhammad, Nemanja Bjelica and Gorgui Dieng, and hot diggity! Let’s go!
It will take a little while for this team to gel, but when it does it should be one of the NBA’s best. It’s hard to see a team with Thibodeau, Butler and Gibson struggle on defense, and it’s even harder to see a team with Wiggins, Towns, Butler, Teague and Crawford struggle offensively.
This team isn’t a well-oiled machine yet, but when it is, hop on the bandwagon or get off the tracks.
1. The West Is Going To Be Wild
Let’s break this down.
The Wolves, well, we covered them, will be better.
The Warriors kept their core intact and added Nick Young, which I don’t know is good or bad but he did score 23 points on opening night.
The Nuggets added Paul Millsap.
The Mavericks probably have the Rookie of the Year in Smith.
The Lakers drafted Lonzo Ball and KUZMA!
The Pelicans still have The Brow and Boogie.
The Suns have Devin Booker and there’s a chance he’s going to be really, really good.
The Kings should be really excited about the development of Skal Labissiere.
The Spurs are the Spurs.
The Grizzlies got a bit younger, but still have Mike Conley and Marc Gasol.
The Clippers are enabling Blake Griffin to be the point forward we always thought he could be.
The Rockets have Chris Paul and James Harden.
The Blazers were so much better down the stretch with Jusuf Nurkic last season. And he’s starting out this season healthy!
The Thunder have two scoring champions and Paul George.
And Utah might not have Hayward, but they do have JOE INGLES!
Let’s have a great season, everyone. This’ll be fun.