Maybe it’s because this will be my first basketball season without worrying about school, but the 2013 offseason was the slowest that I can remember, even topping (or in this case, bottoming?) the 2011 lockout.
But just when it was tempting to resort to swallowing Halloween candy whole to cure my boredom, the NBA season arrived. There are the usual storylines coming into 2014: the off-season acquisitions we have to wait and see on whether they work out or not, the youthful players we hope evolve into franchise cornerstones, lottery-bound teams last season looking to get back into contention, and so much more.
If I had to pick a working title for this season right now though, it would be The Season of Comebacks, starring Derrick Rose, Kobe Bryant and Rajon Rondo, among others, who are returning after suffering devastating injuries a season or two ago. We’ll get to see one of those comebacks tonight in Rose–and what a bang he should start the season off with–but the returns of Kobe and Rondo are still up in the air thanks to another unique element playing into this season: the 2014 NBA Draft. We may witness as much terrible basketball, thanks to tankapalooza, as much as we will witness great play with so many teams having a fighter’s chance at making this season’s Finals.
Whatever the dream matchup for the 2014 Finals may be, it’ll be quite a challenge to outperform what was a battle for the ages between the Spurs and Heat. It feels like that happened forever ago, yet somehow only four months have passed since its conclusion. I just remember wanting more after Game 7 but, after looking back at all that took place, feeling satisfied at the same time. It was like an ending to a great, season-long story.
How will we remember 2014? It’s time for its story to begin.