It is that time of the year again. As the NBA inches closer to the all-star break and the trade deadline, storylines start to materialize at a neck-breaking pace. Without further ado let’s delve into the Top 10 story-lines of the second half of 2014-2015.
10. Who will be the next Detroit Pistons Coach?
As the sports world drool over the possibility that the Sheed Almighty might be a head coach in the NBA, there is a lot of talk going on in the NBA circles that Lionel Hollins will be the next coach of the Pistons. Hollins, who coached the Grit&Grind Grizzlies to the Western Conference Finals last year with Gasol and Randolph, will find a similar duo in Drummond and Monroe.
9. Who will be the next coach to get fired?
It is always a morally grey area to tinker about a guy losing his job but the talk is as juicy as it gets. How long will Mike Brown endure the reported undermining of his star player Kyrie Irving? Is the all-timer Rick Adelman on the hot seat because of the underwhelming season in Minnesota? Will James Dolan fire Mike Woodson for not making sweet music with this Knicks squad? My money is on Woody.
8. Will the Knicks make the playoffs?
Speaking of the Knicks, with the 4th highest payroll in the NBA with a figure of 89,740,656$ how low can they go? The Knicks who are 2.5 games behind the playoff spot stand 10th in the Eastern Conference. With a brutal schedule where they play 8 of their next 12 on the road, an incompetent front office and an indefensible owner the future sure doesn’t seem bright in New York City.
7. Which team will take the 8th seed in the Western Conference?
As usual, the Western Conference playoff race seems like it is going to go down to the wire. Early season favorites Timberwolves can’t seem to win close games despite an MVP-caliber season from their star player Kevin Love. The Nuggets start JJ Hickson at the center and Randy Foye at the shooting guard. Mavs won their last 7 of 10 and overachieved so far thanks to a resurgent season from former Finals MVP Dirk Nowitzki and a top three coach in Rick Carlisle. Warriors continue to disappoint as Curry seems as their only guy who can put the ball on the floor. Jeff Hornacek continues to display a brilliant COY performance and has his team humming despite losing his star guard Bledsoe to an injury. Stay tuned.
6. What is the Bulls’ Gameplan?
It sure seems if you give Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau Joakim Noah and 11 guys off the street he will find a way to make the playoffs. Despite front office’s plan to go into tanking mode while sending Deng away has certainly not resonated with Noah or Thibodeau. Even DJ Augustin looks like a player now. As they once again wait for their former MVP to re-return from injury, a great prospect in Mirotic developing overseas, some cap space in the offseason and Boozer’s amnesty looming, the Bulls seem like they will go back to their powerhouse status next year.
As every NBA fan all over the world wait for the return of Josh Harrelson from injury (not really) injuries have affected the NBA Outlook for the season. How will Durant fare after the return of Westbrook? Will the Lakers look like a basketball team again with Kobe coming back? What will be Wade’s status come playoff time? Can Nick Young make a comeback in time to play some games with Kobe so the Mamba can murder him in his sleep? Which tanking team will come up with the most creative injury to sit one of their star players?
4. Free Agents
With the Big 3 in Miami all having ETOs this offseason which they are predicted to use to secure a longer deal, will they stay with evil genius Pat Riley in Miami? Will the Lakers use their cap space rather than waiting for Kevin Love for the summer of 2015? Will Melo leave the Knicks for greener pastures? Can the Pacers re-sign Lance Stephenson?
3. Who is Adam Silver?
The short answer is “The Commissioner of the NBA”, but we need to see more from the bald guy who was always around David Stern. Will there be changes for the widely criticized draft lottery? Will the city of Seattle get the team that they deserve? How long will we have to put up with the Bucks? Contraction or expansion? WE DESERVE ANSWERS SILVER.
2. Trade Deadline
Although it is called the All-Star Weekend it also means something else to the diehard NBA fans: Juicy rumors for the trade deadline. As all of the front office members of the NBA meet in New Orleans and get drunk, it is usually the time when the trade deadline is shaped. Will the Lakers be able to trade Gasol for a potential high draft pick? Can Daryl Morey strike gold once again at the deadline while using Ömer Aşık as the bait? Can OKC boost their bench? Which front office will overreact and make a dumb trade? How does Billy King still have a job?
1. Kevin Durant vs. LeBron James AKA The MVP Race
The time has come. We have all been waiting for Durant to make the leap and challenge the self-dubbed King for the title of Best Player in The Universe, and it unfolded brilliantly before our eyes. As Durant submitted one of the greatest months in NBA history during January, LBJ stepped up to the challenge going in the All-Star break. We may have one of the greatest MVP races on our hands in the second half of the season.
By: Aras Bayram- Pass the Pill Contributor