It has been a busy offseason in the NBA and in less than two weeks when the season proper starts, games will replace speculation as the league's biggest talking point.
We’ve seen the most sensational trade of the summer as Kyrie Irving left the Cavaliers for the Celtics, with Isaiah Thomas going the other way. Boston also signed Gordon Hayward from the Jazz. Then, just last week, Carmelo Anthony swapped New York for Oklahoma City, joining Paul George who arrived from Indiana earlier.
With George and Anthony on the team alongside league MVP Russell Westbrook, the Thunder will expect to move up the Western Conference standings this year and make some noise in the playoffs, having lost to the Rockets in the first round last season.
The Celtics, however, will have even higher hopes. With Irving and Hayward teaming up with Al Horford, Boston will hope to usurp the Cavaliers in the East.
But even if that comes true, both teams would need to get past the Warriors, who have won the title twice in the last three years. And, according to the league's general managers, nobody sees that happening.
In a poll of GMs conducted by NBA.com, a whopping 93 percent expect the Warriors to win the title in 2018, with the remaining seven percent opting for the Cavaliers. No team in the history of the poll has ever been such an overwhelming favorite. Last season, 69 percent of league GMs expected Golden State to win the title. And they did.
Despite Boston’s offseason efforts, the Celtics have registered only a slight improvement in expectations in the Eastern Conference. A total of 97 percent of the league GMs picked the Cavs to win the East last year, which has fallen to 86 percent, as the Celtics polled 10 percent and Washington three.
Fair to say that both the Celtics and the Thunder have something to prove this season.
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