Jun 8, 2014; San Antonio, TX, USA; San Antonio Spurs forward Tim Duncan (21), guard Tony Parker (9) and guard Manu Ginobili (20) talk during the fourth quarter against the Miami Heat in game two of the 2014 NBA Finals at AT&T Center. The Heat won 98-96. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
The bulk of the off-season is finished for the NBA. What are some key questions that need answering for 2014-2015?
What have the Chicago Bulls got in Nikola Mirotic?
People knew Nikola Mirotic was pretty good even when he was drafted back in 2011. They knew he was good when he won the Spanish League MVP and won a championship for Real Madrid. The only question left unanswered is how good can he be in the NBA? Apparently the Chicago Bulls have high expectations. Otherwise they might have made a different decision when other teams offered a top ten pick in the 2014 draft for the rights to the 23-year old Spaniard. Player comparisons have varied over a wide range from Dirk Nowitzki to Ryan Anderson. The one common thread? They can put the ball in the basket. It’s what the Bulls need and are hoping for.
Can LeBron James heal rift between Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters?
As the euphoria of returning to Cleveland begins to settle, realizations have begun to hit. There is no question the addition of LeBron James makes the Cavaliers relevant in the Eastern Conference. Just how relevant is up for debate. It’s important to remember this Cleveland team is not exactly a cohesive group like the one James fled to in Miami. A big part of the concern centers around the rift between star point guard Kyrie Irving and shooting guard Dion Waiters. The latter reportedly has accused Irving of not getting him the ball enough. It’s a problem that even veteran Luol Deng admitted to witnessing. If Cleveland is unable to trade him, the real challenge will be whether James can get his team directed towards the same goal.
Will Father Time finally conquer the San Antonio Spurs?
They got their revenge on Miami and once again showed that age is just a state of mind. Still, the San Antonio Spurs can’t elude Father Time forever, no matter how hard they work and how well they are coached. Tim Duncan is 38-years old while Manu Ginobili is 36 and Tony Parker is 32. Even with the presence of Kawhi Leonard this is a team leaning heavily on a core that has an inevitable breaking point. Throw in the obvious difficulties of repeating and a tough Western Conference and it is certainly a challenge NBA fans want to see undertaken.
Is the Phil Jackson magic reserved for coaching only?
When the Zen Master came out of retirement to take over as team president for the New York Knicks, more than a few fans probably predicted instant championship success. Why not? The man has eleven championships to his credit. However, it is very important to note that all of those came as a head coach. When it comes to getting the most out of players on the court, there are none better than Jackson. Such is not the job of a team president. They are tasked with building rosters, collecting the right players. For the first time Jackson is on the other end of the spectrum, an end he has proved himself exactly zero times in. The NBA can only speculate about the results to come.