As the 2015-16 NBA season opens Oct. 27, some very familiar faces will be gracing the hardwood once again. After the Golden State Warriors bagged the chip, there were still some question marks about the league’s top players. Here, VIBE takes a quick trip down memory lane for a quick refresher on what the game of basketball is getting back.
After suffering from a torn right rotator cuff last season, five-time NBA champion, Kobe Bryant, will be back to a newly revamped Los Angeles Lakers team. The shooting guard will be joined by the likes of Roy Hibbert, Lou Williams, Brandon Bass, Julius Randle, and rookie newcomer D’Angelo Russell as the quest for ring #6 is still on for the Black Mamba. The veteran will be entering his 20th season with the franchise and even though there’s been much speculation surrounding his potential retirement this year, our best guess is that there’s still gas in the tank for Bryant to school the young bucks in today’s game for a season or two.
Toronto Raptors v Los Angeles Lakers
ONTARIO, CA – OCTOBER 8: Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers during a preseason game against the Toronto Raptors on October 8, 2015 at Citizens Business Bank Arena in Ontario, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2015 NBAE (Photo by Juan Ocampo/NBAE via Getty Images)
The Oklahoma City Thunder just wasn’t complete without their star players, Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant. last season. The Durantula underwent a bone graft procedure for a nagging foot injury he encountered in last year’s preseason. To the disappointment of all basketball fans, it kept the 2014 scoring title champ from shooting the lights out to defend his crown (his teammate, Westbrook, bagged the honors). But as a new season is on the horizon, KD is sure to bring back what many OKC loyalists were missing.
The 2014-15 season took a scary turn for Miami Heat center, Chris Bosh, as he was declared out for the remainder of the year shortly after All-Star break due to blood clots in his lungs. Thankfully, Bosh is back and healthier this time around, and just in time as coach Erik Spoelstra’s white hot Heat try to find their way sans LeBron James.
Pretty sure if anybody were to ask a Knicks fan about last season, they would act as if it never even happened. Once Carmelo Anthony officially took himself out of the equation after the All-Star break, it was a done deal for the Knickerbockers and anybody that love ’em. Anthony, who opted for surgery to repair lingering issues on his left knee, found the second half of the 2014-15 season as the perfect opportunity to get right in hopes of getting a fresh and healthier start for the upcoming season.
The double-double machine that is Cleveland Cavaliers power forward, Kevin Love, is all set to get back into the mix of things for the upcoming 2015-16 campaign. Once his season was cut short from a dislocated left shoulder in a first round playoff matchup with the Boston Celtics, a significant piece to the Cavs puzzle for their journey to the championship took a pivotal turn as the squad came up short in the finals without the presence of both Love and point guard, Kyrie Irving. And after re-signing with the team this past summer for $110 million, it looks as if the California native will be bringing more love to the city for five more years.
Young Trece will be bouncing back from one of the most traumatizing moments of his career. During a scrimmage for the U.S. National team last summer, a freak accident fractured both bones in George’s lower right leg. A pin was also inserted into his leg. The devastating injury didn’t keep George out for the entire 2014-15 season, though, as he did make his return to the court in early April to help Indy in their hopes of a late playoff push. But with that came another setback as George suffered from a hamstring strain in the opposite leg from his initial injury but like they say, time heals all and when there’s a minor setback, it only sets it up for a major comeback.
According to reports, Kyrie Irving may not be back till January but he still has his eyes on the prize, picking up right where he left off in the 2015 NBA Finals that was cut inconveniently short after a fractured left knee cap. The injury ruined the point guard’s first-time trip to the Finals but with a solid roster, an Irving sighting might happen sooner rather than later.