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Showdown of NBA ‘Superteams’

EVERY POUND COUNTS - Allan Choachoy - The Freeman

Let the NBA pre-season begin, and the biggest debate now is who’s the biggest threat to Golden State Warriors? Some teams in the league has made a major shake-up in their respective rosters, starting with the defending champion Golden State Warriors. The core of the team remains intact with Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, Clay Thompson and Dreymond Green around. Veterans Andre Iguodala, Shaun Livingston, Zaza Pachulia and David  West are coming while they also re-signed JaVale McGee. The other players to watch for the Warriors are former  LA Lakers guard Nick Young and rookie Jordan Bell. Gone were Ian Clark to the Pelicans and James McAdoo to the Sixers. But what makes Warriors different from the other team is that they follow a discipline from Day 1 of camp to the finals. Coach Steve Kerr is always a step ahead of everybody in terms of prepping the team, from players rotation, defense, running the play, and each player's responsibility has been set as well as what they need to be done. From the looks of things, Golden State is on its way to NBA Finals again this season.

For me, the biggest threat to the Warriors is the San Antonio Spurs, a well-oiled machine that is coordinated by one of the leagues all-time best coaches in the person of Gregg Popovich. Just like the Warriors, the Spurs' offense, defense, ball rotation and player’s rotation are well planned and is laid out in a blueprint. The only question bugging them will be the health issue. We know last year that if Kwahi did not get injured, things would have been different. The Spurs still parade co-team captain Tony Parker and Kwahi  Leonard together with the ageless wonder Manu Ginobilli, Pau Gasol, Patty Mills and LaMarcus Aldridge. The core is intact with an addition of All-Star Rudy Gay from the Sacramento kings. Spurs definitely will give the Warriors a headache leading to the Western Conference finals in 2018. By the way, still serving as Spurs assistant coach is Chip Engeland, the Northern Cement sharp-shooter who helped the Philippines won the championship of the 1985 Jones Cup.

Other teams to watch in the West are the Houston Rockets and the Oklahoma City Thunder, who have beefed up their lineups as well. Houston got All-Star point guard Chris Paul, while the Thunder got busy and fetched two big names in Paul George and Carmelo Anthony to back-up MVP Russell Westbrook. OKC though lost Victor Oladipo, Domantas Sabonis and Enes Kanter. The future of OKC and Houston will depend mainly on how the superstars blend and share the basketball.

Moving over to the Eastern Conference, the Cleveland Cavaliers underwent a major revamp after losing their crown to the Warriors. They may have lost versatile playmaker Kyrie Irving, but LeBron James is now surrounded by a starry teammates that include  Dwayne Wade, Derrick Rose, Kevin Love and Tristan Thompson. They also have JR Smith and Iam Shumpert still. But the real question now is how can Wade and Rose make an impact in Cleveland. Rose has not been the same player ever since his MVP season where he also got injured. Wade is a perfect one-two punch for Lebron James who got two rings with him in Miami. But Wade had slowed down tremendously. Nevertheless, I still believe that Cleveland will cruise to the NBA Finals again but they have to learn from their mistakes.

The biggest threat for Cleveland is the Boston Celtics. Now sporting a leaner and bigger pointguard in Kyrie Irving and a very reliable forward in Gordon Hayward, this could be a new dynasty in the making for Boston, something that can bring back the vaunted Celtics pride.

Other than Boston and Cleveland, it is sad to say that the rest of the Eastern Conference teams look anemic. But as the old saying goes, the ball is round. Anything can happen.

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