NBA 2015-2016: 10 things to watch for this season
Watch out for D'Angelo Russell
Russell was selected in the draft by the Lakers this year. At 19, he's certainly one to watch. He made his debut on October 28 against the Timerwolves, getting 4 points on the board and 3 rebounds. The Lakers still lost, 112-111, but that's irrelevant here. What's important is that Russell definitely seems like a star of the future.
The Golden State Warriors on top of their game
The Warriors have to be favorites to retain the NBA title this year. Their team is young but talented, with their core players who won the title last year all returning in an attempt to defend the title. Their coach Steve Kerr is currently recovering from back surgery, but a coach who wins a championship in his first year with the team must have something the others don't.
Knicks or Nets? Who will win the battle royale in New York?
The Knicks had their worst year on record last season, finishing with a win-loss record of 17-65, plus 16 consecutive lost games, a franchise record. The Nets didn't exactly cover themselves in glory either, finishing third in the Eastern Conference with a win-loss record of 38-44. They last won an NBA title in 2006, with the Kicks last winning in 1999, so New York has had a rough time of it recently. Let's hope we see a return to form soon.
Anthony Davis, 22, will be the season's best defensive player
Anthony Davis is one of those players who you can see playing in the NBA for some time to come. He plays for the New Orleans Pelicans, who despite reaching the playoffs last year, are struggling to field a full rotation due to injury. Davis is holding the team together, prompting many pundits to speculate he may turn out to be the season's best defensive player, and most likely the Pelicans MVP.
Will this be Kobe Bryant's last NBA season?
Probably not, but it won't be long before he retires. Bryant's only played 41 games in the last two years due to an Achilles heel muscle injury, which is a long hard slog to recover from. He's the league's highest paid player at $25 million a year, and for good reason. The third highest scorer ever and five-time champion makes him one of the best NBA players ever. The Lakers have hit a dry patch of late, last winning a championship in 2010. If this is Bryant's last year in the NBA, the team will be looking to rebuild around young players such as the 6ft 9in, 20-year-old Julius Randle.
The 76ers will probably have the worst season record
Another team going through a barren patch, many expect them to have the worst win-loss season record this year. While they have a distinguished history in the NBA, they lost the first 17 games of the season in 2014-2015, finally winning in early December against the Minnesota Timberwolves. The Sixers had the second-worst season record last year, with only the Knicks below them.
The Milwaukee Bucks - can they live up to the hype?
The Bucks have been hyped to the max, with many speculating they might be able to win 50 games this year. Between 1991 and 2013, they had a pretty poor 43.3 percent winning percentage. The team has been rebuilding in recent times, with a nucleus of new young players joining. All this adds to the hoopla that they will win 50-plus games this year. With the exception of 2001, this is something they haven't managed since 1991.
The Houston Rockets are on a charge
With the brilliant Kevin McHale as their coach, the Rockets are on a quest to win the championship, and will let nothing get in their way. In James Harden and Dwight Howard, they have two of the best players in the league. Harden is a prolific shooting guard (plus National Basketball Players Association MVP last season), while Howard is an outstanding center. With these two leading their challenge this year, expect the Rockets to be very strong indeed.
Rookie of the Year: Karl-Anthony Towns or Jahlil Okafor?
Which one of these two fantastic rookies will lift the coveted 'Rookie of the Year' trophy? Most pundits are tapping the Sixers' Okafor. He's a more complete player and hails from Duke, where he won the NCAA trophy earlier this year. Towns, on the other hand, was the first overall pick in the draft. He'll be playing for the Timberwolves. He made his debut in the aforementioned Lakers match, winning 112-111 and recording 14 points and 12 rebounds.
The Milwaukee Bucks relocation rumors continue
To add to the hype of continued improvement and speculation of 50 wins this season, the Bucks have another thing on their mind: relocation. The rumor is they are planning to relocate. In July, franchise president, Peter Feigin, said the NBA could buy the franchise and relocate it to Seattle or Las Vegas, if Wisconsin doesn't provide funding for building a new arena in Milwaukee. The new owners, Wesley Edens and Marc Lasry, said last April they planned to keep the franchise in Milwaukee, but this may be at odds with what the NBA wants.