NBA 2017/18 Preview: 5 bold predictions for the upcoming season
The 2017/18 NBA season is less than 24 hours away and fans and players across the association have been preparing in earnest for what should be an explosive year.
Teams such as Oklahoma City Thunder, Cleveland Cavaliers and Houston Rockets have made big trades and made strong additions to their roster to challenge the Golden State Warriors' supremacy.
Others such as the Dallas Mavericks, Los Angeles Lakers and Philadelphia 76ers are in development mode, focused on building for the future with their array of young talent.
As the season tips off with the thrilling double-header between Cleveland Cavaliers and Boston Celtics followed by Golden State Warriors taking on the Houston Rockets, let's make five bold predictions for the upcoming season:
#1 Rockets to clinch #2 seed in West; Thunder biggest playoff threat to Warriors in Conference
The Western Conference is loaded with strong teams going into the 2017/18 season and there are at least 10 teams with multiple stars on their roster who can get into the playoffs.
The Houston Rockets have added a floor general and team leader in Chris Paul to their team. Despite giving away role players like Patrick Beverley, Sam Dekker and Lou Williams in the trade with the Clippers, they have managed to add defensive depth in the form of swingmen PJ Tucker and Luc Mbah a Moute.
With two ball-dominant guards in Paul and James Harden, Houston have all the ammunition needed to compete offensively, with Trevor Ariza, Ryan Anderson and Eric Gordon providing shooting options all around the court.
Once coach Mike D'Antoni figures out how best to use his two star guards, Houston will be tough to stop and should secure the number two seed in the West.
On the other hand, Oklahoma City Thunder have added two superstars in Carmelo Anthony and Paul George to their roster and would be a potent threat in the playoffs once they integrate the two into their system led by reigning MVP Russell Westbrook.
Considering their defensive options and three All-Stars in the team, there is a good possibility that the Thunder can trouble the Warriors the most in the Western Conference, especially in the playoffs.