A lot of things happened in the 2015-2016 NBA season. We got the first unanimous MVP in Steph Curry and we got the first championship for the Cleveland Cavaliers. Hell, they came back from 3-1 down, something that never happened in the NBA finals before. After the crazy play-offs (the Western Conference play-offs, the Eastern Conference were a bit rubbish) people were pretty certain that the craziest things were behind us and moving on towards the 2016-2017 season would be a fun ride. Well strap in and let’s hop onto this ‘fun’ ride and let’s recap what has happened over the last few weeks.
Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah are no longer members of the Chicago Bulls. Derrick Rose got traded to the Knicks and a couple of weeks later Noah joined him in New York, signing there as a free agent. This is definitely the end of an era in Chicago. During the heyday of the Rose-Noah Bulls they were considered legitimate contenders and probably the biggest rival of LeBron in the East (the Pacers were also worthy foes). But that never really capitalized. Rose won the MVP trophy in 2011 but after that he had injury after injury and he never really returned to his MVP form. Noah was always the leader of that Bulls team; being the hart of the team and the leader on the defensive end. He even won the DPOY award in 2014. But last season Noah didn’t look good and the Bulls decided that it was time to move on. This is now Jimmy Butler’s team and I’m curious to see how long it takes for the Bulls to get back to contending. The Knicks are on full ‘win now’ mode and I hope that that works out for them (I really want to see Melo in the finals).
The biggest question of this years free agency was where Timofey Mozgov would sign … Ooh wait that isn’t true at all. The Lakers just decided to give him a MASSIVE contract even though Mozgov barely played for the Cavaliers last season. The real question was obliviously; where would Kevin Durant go? Most people believed he would stay in Oklahoma and try to get back to the finals. They came very close this season but they chocked when it mattered most. The Thunder even made a great move by trading Ibaka (he was useless in OKC’s offense even though he stretched the floor and his defense digressed this season) for Oladipo; a young 2 guard who can handle the ball (but he is a worst 3 pointer shooter than Ibaka which is kind of funny). With this move people were 99% certain that Durant would return to OKC and give it one more shot. But then Durant surprised the basketball world by announcing that he would go to the Golden State Warriors; the team that had just beaten him in the Western Conference Finals. This move was considered by many as an easy way out and the easiest route to a championship (Durant claims that it is the hardest but who believes that?). It goes without saying that the Warriors are now the most hated team in the NBA; move over Clippers and Cavaliers; there’s a new villain in town!
Boston seemed to be in the running to get Durant; they even got Tom Brady to meet with him to tell him how much fun it is to be a superstar in Boston. The pitch didn’t help (see above) but the Celtics did sign a pretty big free agent in Al Horford. Horford is the big man that the Celtics were looking for and now they can probably attract more free agents (lot’s of assets, sports city, Eastern Conference team, …). The Hawks also traded away Jeff Teague which now means that Dennis Schröder is their starting point guard; something Schröder really wanted.
Then today Tim Duncan announced that he would retire after 19 seasons in the NBA. Duncan is arguably the greatest power forward of all time and his definitely the best player in Spurs history. Duncan never missed the play-offs and he won 5 titles in San Antonio. The Big Fundamental also won 2 MVP awards and he made 15 All-Star games; weirdly enough he never won a DPOY award which seems odd considering he has been a very good defender his entire career. Duncan will be missed because of the his basketball capabilities but also because he was a great guy on and off the floor (http://ftw.usatoday.com/2015/04/etan-thomas-tim-duncan-story).
A lot more has happened over the last few weeks (the whole Thon Maker situation was pretty funny) but these are, at least for me, the most important/weird things that happened. What was the biggest surprise for you? Let me know in the comments!