NBA Preseason is over, and it was weird, wacky, and a boat load of fun. More than anything, it made me realize that I quite literally cannot wait for the actual NBA season to arrive. But in addition, it helped reorient us all to new, shifting realities in the NBA landscape. In a couple of quick posts over the next few days leading into the season, I’ll get into a couple of small things that really shook me up. Today, let’s talk about how weird it was to see all these stars wearing different jerseys.
Old players on new teams, new jerseys looking weird
I know this is blasphemous, and not something I should lead with in this article, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see Kyrie win the MVP this year. For what it’s worth, he’s listed at 15/1 odds (up from 50/1 when odds were first released by Vegas), which is good for eighth on the list. He trails, in order: Kevin Durant (4/1), LeBron James (9/2), Kawhi Leonard (5/1), Russell Westbrook (5/1), James Harden (8/1), Giannis Antetokounmpo (8/1), and Stephen Curry (10/1).
Side Note: Giannis has better odds than once-unanimous MVP Stephen Curry to win. Ummm, okay. Is it because the voters felt cheated after the Warriors blew 3-1? Ugh, so many horrible memories and thoughts happening. Moving on.
C’mon this just makes sense. Deep in your soul, you knew Gordon Hayward was going to end up in Boston. I mean, this is the city that thinks Larry Bird is the best player of all-time. Of course they ended up with Gordon Hayward as one of the stars and Brad Stevens as the boy wonder coach. It just makes too much sense.
Side Note: Hayward and Stevens were both born and raised in noted basketball hotspot Indiana: Larry “Basketball Jesus” Bird’s home state.
You can’t fight it. Destiny is real.
Paul George makes sense on the Thunder. He’s a selfless player who can seamlessly fit his way into the Thunder’s offensive and defensive schemes. He doesn’t need the ball in his hands all the time to be impactful. The Thunder jersey somehow looks good on him. It makes sense. I think he’ll be absolutely dynamite next to Russell Westbrook.
Carmelo Anthony, on the other hand ... Man, I can’t wait to watch him slowly alienate his new teammates by taking iso shot after iso shot, not looking to get Westbrook involved, and touting his own brand out on the plains of Oklahoma. I said this in the SB Nation NBA preview video (more on that in a separate post), but I actually wouldn’t be surprised if Carmelo Anthony gets traded during the season.
TRADE IDEA: Carmelo straight up for Kevin Love, right before the trade deadline. Love gets reunited with his college running mate Westbrook, Melo gets to finally play alongside his BFF LeBron James. Who says no?
I know I’m jaded and disillusioned from living in New York City for so long (not just about Carmelo Anthony’s game, but about life in general), but I wouldn’t be surprised if he doesn’t end up wearing his new Thunder jersey for super long.
Haha, Paul hasn’t changed at all, even with his new uniform. The Chris Paul/James Harden experiment is either going to go really, really well, or really, really poorly. I feel like, even in-season, it’ll vacillate between the two extremes on a night to night basis.
As far as how he looks in the new uniform, I mean... Nothing could be worse than him in a Clippers uniform, so I’m sort of okay with this, I guess?
I think Jimmy Butler is the perfect addition for this young Timberwolves team. I know that’s not a hot take, but he looks absolutely awesome standing next to (recently maxed) Andrew Wiggins and (future MVP) Karl Anthony Towns in their Wolves attire. Throw in the addition of (also former Tom Thibideou player) Taj Gibson, and excitement is through the roof for this squad.
But again, we were all excited for them last year, and they were bad. Like, winning 31 games and finishing 13th in the Western Conference bad. So, I guess we’ll see.
Dwyane Wade & Derrick Rose (& Jae Crowder)
The only thing that really jumped out at me (other than this ridiculous alley-oop) about all these guys in new Cavaliers garb was — wait, whoa, is Derrick Rose going full Derrick Williams with his hair this year? How many washed former high level draft picks are gonna start trending this way?!
Cleveland added a bunch of players who were really good five years ago. Imagine if this team had been assembled in 2013!
For clarities sake, because there have been so many moves this offseason, here’s a small sample of Cleveland’s roster right now:
LeBron James - still good
Isaiah Thomas - hopefully still good, but hard to say
Derrick Rose - not still good, although that alley-oop was awesome and I am ready to be proved wrong. If he can actually ball, that would make this season 100% more interesting.
Dwyane Wade - Ditto every single thing I said about Rose above.
Kevin Love - still good.
Jeff Green - Not still good, and kinda never was.
Jae Crowder - Actually the rare example of a player on this team who is way better at basketball now than he was in 2013.
Plus the regular cast o’ characters that we’ve grown to
despise ruefully respect in the past three Finals.
Man, I’m so excited for this season. Old faces, new jerseys. Players swapping teams right and left trying to keep up with the Warriors, movement the likes of which we had never before seen in an offseason. It’s so on.