The NBA Is Back! 69 Reasons to Get Excited for the 2017–18 NBA Season
NBA Opening Night was… weird. There were Swaggy P threes, Derrick Rose buzzer beaters, Warriors banners, and LeBron-Kyrie moments. There were Yankees comebacks and Cubs deaths in between. But the gruesome Gordon Hayward injury in the season’s opening minutes put a pall over the entire night.
But tonight the NBA season really tips off for the rest of the league, and there are still a ton of reasons to get excited for the new 2017–18 season. Here are a few of them…
1. The Warriors are already the worst team in the league.
2. Joel Embiid is back.
3. Russell Westbrook. Nuff said.
4. Less LaVar, more Lonzo.
We prefer our Balls on the court, please and thank you.
5. Those sweet new Nike tear-away jerseys.
Wait… that’s not on purpose??
6. Malik Monk bombing NBA threes on the nightly.
7. The nickname Costco Kobe finally catching on for DeMar DeRozan.
8. Bad Celtics karma.
Boston played Isaiah Thomas through a torn hip labrum, missing teeth, and the death of his sister, then used him to recruit Gordon Hayward to the Celtics. Then without warning, they discarded him in a trade for a player nicknamed The Ankletaker. And then Opening Night happened. Just sayin’.
9. Splashy P.
Some random night in February when half the Warriors sit, Nick Young is going to put up 50 points on 12-for-39 three-point shooting. And it is going to be *spectacular*.
10. Nikola Jokic passing.
11. The Durant-Westbrook rivalry, take II.
Westbrook already signed his extension on KD’s birthday, then the Thunder declared war on Kevin Durant by signing rookie P.J. Dozier and offering him jersey #35 — you know, the number of the greatest player in franchise history.
12. The Lonz Angelballs Lakers.
Lonzo, Ingram, KCP, Nance, Randle, and Future MVP Kyle Kuzma. You’re going to fall in love with these Los Angeles Lakers, and you’re going to like it.
13. The yearlong LeBron free agency conversation.
14. Having a reason to play John Tesh again.
15. NBA Twitter back.
But did they ever actually go anywhere? (No.)
16. Russell Westbrook readjusting to having real teammates.
17. Falling in love with the Kangz Kids.
& Buddy Hield
& Skal Labissiere
& Trill Cauley-Stein.
18. ZBo is a mentor now.
19. Utah Jazz nerd-outs with Ricky, Rudy, and Jingles.
20. The CP3-Beard experiment.
Can an NBA team win with two Hall of Fame point guards and a slew of role players? I have no idea, but I can’t wait to find out.
21. Incredible rookie passers.
You already know about Lonzo Ball, but you forgot about Ben Simmons and he might be an even better, smarter playmaker. But neither of them is even the most entertaining rookie passer. That recognition is reserved for 30-year-old Serbian legend Milos Teodosic:
22. The 76ers Process finally pays out.
(23. Reserved for the GOAT.)
24. Kristaps, unleashed.
40-point game? A triple-double with points, boards, and blocks? The tallest 5x5 game in NBA history? The first ever 6x6 game with points, rebounds, assists, steals, blocks, and threes? Release the Porzingis monster!!
25. Afternoon “The Jump” with Rachel Nichols and friends.
26. Kyrie Irving chasing the scoring title.
Kyrie averaged 25.2ppg a year ago sharing the court with LeBron. Now he’ll share it with approximately zero proven scorers and The Kid is out to prove himself with crossovers and impossible finishes nightly.
27. Any night the Warriors score 70 in a half without even trying.
Sure, you tell your friends they ruined basketball, but when you get that Steph or Klay alert, you know you’re flipping the channel. It’s still magnificent to watch, basketball perfection before our very eyes.
28. Joel Embiid on social media.
29. Avery Bradley turning Detroit basketball back into DEEEEEETROIT BAAAASKETBALL again.
30. The Starters pun gun and tweet of the week.
31. Finding out which Melo we get each night.
Hoodie Melo? Olympic Melo? Syracuse Melo? LaLa-is-pissed-we-moved-to-the-middle-of-Oklahoma Melo? The possibilities are endless.
32. Any random Dame + C.J. home game in Rip City.
33. Kawhi Leonard doing Sharktopus things.
34. President Brad molding all the youngsters.
Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum are suddenly starters and go-to scorers for a likely (?) playoff team. Marcus Smart is suddenly a veteran team leader. And the bench consists of the untradable Terry Rozier and rookies Semi Ojeleye, Guerschon Yabusele, Abdel Nader, and Daniel Theis. Stevens might feel like he’s back at Butler again with all these kids.
35. Knicks fans learning they way overpaid their new starting shooting guard the Hardaway.
36. My mom’s reaction when she falls in love with the new neon green Timberwolves jerseys.
I’d say Seattle fans too, but we all know they stopped watching basketball a decade ago.
37. Michael Beasley and Lance Stephenson playing big minutes on otherwise irrelevant teams.
38. Blake Griffin, unleashed.
Blake averages approximately 35 points, 22 boards, and 13 assists a game without Chris Paul, and now he gets to do that for all three games he’s healthy this season.
39. The Pelicans weird roster experiment failing spectacularly.
40. Miami’s incredible collection of nicknames.
This summer they added K.O. to Bloodsport and The Dragon, and they have guys named Justise and Bam. Is this a basketball team or the Bloods and Crips? And that’s not even counting Waiters “Kobe Wade” Island.
41. The Milwaukee “long ball” revolution.
Sometime this season the Bucks will roll out a lineup of Giannis Antetokounmpo, Tony Snell, Khris Middleton, Jabari Parker, and Thon Maker and they will stand fingertip-to-fingertip and guard the entire length of the 94-foot court.
42. Casual basketball fans finally seeing Ben Simmons and Markelle Fultz hoop for the first time.
43. Reading Lee Jenkins profiles.
44. The Jazz winning some game 58–57.
With a nasty defense featuring future DPOY Rudy Gobert, a healthy Derrick Favors, Thabo Sefolosha, and EuroLeague Final Four MVP Ekpe Udoh along with eight points each from leading scorers Ricky Rubio and Rod Hood.
45. Seeing how many other Bulls Bobby Portis punches this year.
Anything in the name of tanking. That’s what you get when you shove a dude with crazy eyes. Most likely Bulls to get punched by Bobby Portis this season:
- Nikola Mirotic (duh)
- Zach LaVine (the face)
- Cameron Payne (the hair and distinct lack of discernible skills)
- A pile of $3.5 million dollars (when they play the Warriors)
- Color commentator Stacey King. Drive home safely, BEEP BEEP!
46. Watching Cavaliers fans go through the Jeff Green fandom cycle.
From promising to awesome to confusing to disappointing to frustrating to lunacy to being willing to do anything for a refund. Just ask Magic, Clippers, Grizzlies, Celtics, and Thunder fans.
47. Actually feeling good about the social and political implications of a sports league you follow.
48. Knicks lineups ft. Porzingis, Kuzminskas, Hernangomez, & Ntilikina.
49. The trade deadline.
50. Eight teams’ fans realizing they passed on drafting Dennis Smith, Jr.
51. Greek Freak 5.0.
52. Jimmy Butler and Karl-Anthony Towns finally getting to play with real superstar teammates.
Shots fired, indeed.
53. Late nite NBA Twitter.
54. NBA relief that it got rid of the rookie-sophomore game.
55. Figuring out which random dude Pop turns into a star this year.
Could be Bryn Forbes, Derrick White, Joffrey Laveurgne, or Rudy Gay’s corpse, but my money’s on Brandon Paul.
56. Starting to dream about Doncic and Markkanen on the Bulls.
57. Kyrie asked for his own team. He’s got one now.
Remember what happened when Russell Westbrook wanted his own team? A triple-double season happened. Kyrie has played most of his career in the shadow of LeBron. Now that Boston traded away all their depth and Hayward is out for the year, he is going to be expected to lead a storied franchise to the playoffs. That’s something he’s never done before and he’s on his own now.
58. LeBron and DWade are back together.
It just feels right. Like peanut butter and jelly.
59. Boogie and Brow trade rumors all season when the Pellies go south.
60. A suddenly wide-open East.
Does Giannis make a Freak-sized leap? Could Philadelphia earn a home playoff series? Might the Magic make the playoffs? Could Heat fans tell everyone they are going to be the 2-seed now? Anything is possible. Oops, sorry Boston, you already used your “anything is possible” examption.
61. Doris Burke calling national games all season.
Good on the NBA for giving her the opportunity. They won’t regret it.
62. Those rare Jonathan Isaac moments when he’s not buried behind Terrence Ross, Evan Fournier, Jonathon Simmons, and Mario Hezonja.
63. The Timberwolves making the playoffs for the first time in 14 years.
In a league where over half the teams make the playoffs, Minnesota has missed 13 straight times. If every team had an equal chance of making the playoffs, the odds of that happening would be about 1-in-9374, approximately the same chance of you randomly selecting Winnibigoshish from a list of Minnesota lakes, or roughly the same odds of the Timberwolves making consecutive three-pointers at any point this season.
64. The possible reincarnation of Hakeem Olajuwon.
65. The NBA All-Star Game pick’em.
66. The internet melting on Devin Booker’s inevitable 50-point night.
67. Miami becoming the new Portland.
The 2016 Blazers won a bunch of second-half games, lucked into some playoff success, overspent to keep their mediocre roster together, and immediately regret every penny they spent. The 2017 Heat won a bunch of second-half games, nearly lucked into a playoff spot, then overspent to keep their mediocre roster together. Anyone noticing a pattern here?
68. Seriously, Joel Embiid is back.
This article could’ve just started and ended with that.
69. Getting to write about the NBA.