NBA Basketball is back on Friday, albeit in Preseason form.
Dallas and Minnesota face off in a 2 game series in Abu Dhabi at Etihad Arena, with both teams looking to take some strides from the back half of last season.
Dallas were incredibly disappointing to finish the season, failing to make the playoffs after the key acquisition of Kyrie Irving, whilst the Timberwolves were bounced in the 1st round by eventual NBA Champions the Denver Nuggets in 5 games.
Dallas have some Aussie talent of their own on the roster, with Dante Exum joining fellow Boomer Josh Green in the Mavericks rotation. They’ll both look to feature heavily in the preseason, with the likes of Luka Doncic coming off a longer World Cup campaign, easing his way back into the NBA season.
For Dallas, it’ll all come down to how well Luka and Kyrie can gel this season, and if they miss the playoffs in back to back seasons with this back court, heads may roll in the Big D.
Minnesota on the other hand made the playoffs in back to back seasons, and their young superstar may continue to make his mark on the NBA world this season.
Anthony Edwards had a big World Cup campaign for a USA team who also failed to medal (losing the Bronze Medal game to Canada). Edwards led the Red, White and Blue in scoring with just under 19 PPG (18.9) to go along with 4.6 RPG and 2.8 APG. Edwards also made the All-Star Five for the tournament, and he will continue to look for these accolades this season with All-NBA honours and an All-Star Game call up. Edwards was named an All-Star reserve due to Steph Curry and Zion’s injury, but there’s no doubt he has his name firmly in the mix for a call up this season.
It’s Minnesota’s second season with the front court of Towns and Gobert, and they’ll need every bit of production from the two bigs for this team to go places this season.
With teams like OKC, New Orleans and Dallas on their tail, they’ll need Edwards to average close enough to 30 PPG to get back into the playoffs this season!
The first game state side takes place on Sunday, with the LA Lakers facing off against the Golden State Warriors. Some would argue this could be a Western Conference Finals preview, but that too will also come down to the health of some key superstars on both teams.
Anthony Davis being healthy will be the story line in Los Angeles, and he looks to have trimmed down in the off season in hope of being far more durable this season.
LeBron James enters his 21st season in the NBA, and in the final year of his contract year, this season may very well be his last in the purple and gold, depending what happens with his son Bronny in the upcoming NBA Draft next year.
Steph Curry leads the Golden State Warriors who will be down one of their leaders for the first few weeks of the season. Draymond Green is due to miss some time, which gives the Warriors the opportunity to go small ball, with Chris Paul entering the line up to start the season at Point alongside Steph, ,moving Klay to the 3 man spot.
A big slate of preseason basketball moves on to Monday, and we get our first look at the Milwaukee Bucks with their newest addition in Damian Lillard.
Lillard joins a Bucks team who are now favoured to take home the NBA Championship this season, and adding him in with Giannis, Khris Middleton and Brook Lopez, gives this team an enormous lift on the offensive end of the floor.
Jrue Holiday will be a big loss to this team on the defensive end of the floor, but having Lopez and Giannis to defend the rim if Dame gets beat defensively still gives this team an edge. Dame gives the Bucks the ability to stretch the floor more on offence, giving Giannis a lot more space to work with knowing you can’t leave someone like Dame Open on the three point line.
Phoenix get going on Monday against the Pistons, giving us a look at their new line up. The addition of Bradley Beal whilst also losing Chris Paul and recently DeAndre Ayton.
Phoenix bolstered their front court with the addition of Jusuf Nurkic in the trade with Portland, giving them a big body to defend the rim, and also great passing big man at the top of the key. Phoenix have shooters everywhere, so having Nurkic play out of the high post with his passing ability bodes well for this team.
Phoenix will be a team to watch this preseason, looking likely that Bradley Beal will be running the point alongside Devin Booker, with the Slim Reaper (Kevin Durant) wanting to bring home a title to the desert this season!
The preseason wraps up on October 21 before getting the season underway on October 25.
Other teams to watch in the preseason that could make some playoff noise this season.
Oklahoma City Thunder:This team made a move last season that felt like it was a year or two early. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is only getting better (with potential MVP honours this season if this team does make it to the playoffs) along with our very own Josh Giddey, look out! Chet Holmgren also makes his way into the line-up coming off his injury last season, giving them a huge boost to make a playoff run this season!
Orlando Magic:Whilst the East is top heavy, this is a team who could make a move this season into the bottom half of the East playoff standings. Like OKC, they’re incredibly young, but the sky is the limit for this team. Paolo Banchero and Franz Wagner lead the way for a team who is as good as a lock this season for at the very least a Play-In Spot!
Philadelphia 76ers:Yes we know this team is already good, but the ongoing saga with James Harden is causing major distractions within the organisation. There needs to be a trade made to get him out, as they aren’t winning with him either way.
Brooklyn Nets: Mainly for one reason only. Ben Simmons. Are Brooklyn going to get Ben Simmons back on track to be a key contributor to a team who could cause some issues in the East? You’d hope so, as this team could make a run with the way they are set up defensively, whilst having a rising stud in Mikal Bridges on both ends of the floor!
San Antonio Spurs:Who doesn’t want to watch Victor the inflictor in some preseason action! The Spurs may not reach the heights people will expect Wembanyama to take them to this season, but it doesn’t mean it’s not going to be fun to watch!
Here’s hoping for some great Preseason action, with more chaos to come!