The Golden State Warriors are chasing a second straight NBA title — and the franchise’s fifth since 2015 — as the season kicks off on Tuesday, trying to cement their defining legacy with even greater success.
The defending champions will take on LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers in their opener at Chase Center in San Francisco and will look to leave behind a turbulent pre-season in which tempers were on fire within the club. ‘crew.
Footage has been shared of striker Draymond Green hitting teammate Jordan Poole during a training session earlier this month, an incident for which the veteran has since apologized.
Green, who enjoyed eight trophy-laden years with the Warriors, was fined but not suspended following the altercation, with head coach Steve Kerr calling it the “biggest crisis we’ve had since I am the coach here.
Despite the incident, Poole led the scoring for the Dubs with 25 points in their 124-121 loss to the Lakers, the first game since the run-in.
The 23-year-old point guard also recently signed a new four-year contract with the franchise, worth up to $140 million.
“He’s someone we’re going to rely on for many years to come and that’s exciting,” Kerr told reporters earlier this week.
“We have a lot of good young players, but Jordan is by far the most advanced.”
The Warriors hope the new generation of talent will continue to mix with the old guard, including Green and superstar Steph Curry, to form a formidable force this season.
The Warriors will face a tough test from the Lakers in their opener, with LeBron James on a mission to break the league’s all-time record.
James is currently 1,326 points away from passing Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s mark set in 1989, but the 37-year-old is expected to top the legendary center’s tally in the 49th game of the season – based on an average of about 27 points per game.
“It’s a huge thing, I think,” James told the Los Angeles Times. “I think it’s one of the most sought after records in sports.
“And me personally, I never even set myself a goal to do that. It makes no sense to me. But it’s something that’s bigger and bigger than people realize.
James impressed last season, averaging 30.3 points per game, but he and the team failed to qualify for the playoffs.
Lakers coach Darvin Ham said the team is hungry for redemption after last year’s disappointment.
“My motivation is built in to turn things around and have a much better year than what happened last year,” he told reporters.
“So congratulations to the Warriors, last year’s champions, but this year is a brand new season and we are hungry. We also have a chip on our shoulder.
Elsewhere, the Phoenix Suns, LA Clippers, Milwaukee Bucks and Boston Celtics are all teams believed to be in contention for the Larry O’Brien Trophy, but if one thing is certain, the NBA is anything but predictable.
Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic was named the NBA’s Most Valuable Player (MVP) for the second straight time last season and will be looking for a hat-trick this time around.
The Serb – who was the 41st pick in the 2014 draft – edged out Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid and Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo for the award, but both will be looking for revenge.
Only three players – Bill Russell, Wilt Chamberlain and Larry Bird – have already completed the hat-trick, so history beckons Jokic.
Dallas Mavericks superstar Luka Doncic will also be in contention, having been among the favorites for the accolade in recent seasons.
Possibly future MVP candidate, Victor Wembanyama could also have a big impact this season on the league. The 18-year-old has been making waves this year after traveling from France to play a series of exhibitions in the United States.
His frightening combination of size and grace on the court has caught the eye of several NBA scouts and many are predicting the youngster to be the first pick in next year’s draft.
The seven-foot-four teenager has been called an ‘alien’ and a ‘generational talent’ by James and teams could be tanking like no other year in order to get a better chance of drafting the phenom this season. next.
Expect to see plenty of hashtags and calls from fans on social media for their favorite teams to join the tankathon for the French wonderkid. Let the games begin!