All players are talented. All coaches are smart, and all front office decision-makers are confident. People in the NBA have every reason to believe success is imminent, because their personal history is littered with accomplishments that helped them reach the pinnacle of basketball – why would it be different this time around?
That’s what all franchises are thinking on media day, before feeling the grind of an 82-game regular season that lasts nearly six months. Anything is possible, the saying goes, and that trope is easily applied before a team hits the court and the reality of its limitations becomes obvious.
Are there varying degrees of triumph in this league? Of course. What would make a good season for the Minnesota Timberwolves isn’t anything close to what would apply for the Oklahoma City Thunder. Not every organization can contend for championships on an annual basis; the San Antonio Spurs are the exception as opposed to the rule.
But all teams, regardless of their realistic goal come season’s end, drink a half-full glass on media day – as the most optimistic, amusing, and attention-grabbing stories from the NBA’s unofficial tip-off for 2015-16 make abundantly clear.
A quick newsflash to get started: LeBron James still believes he’s the best basketball player in the world.
And The King is bound to prove it again should he play with the “rage” that Kyrie Irving says will come to define the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2015-16.
Even those outside Northeast Ohio couldn’t keep their minds from The King on Monday. What did Marcin Gortat learn from Paul Pierce in The Truth’s lone season with the Washington Wizards?
Pierce is in Los Angeles with the Clippers now, though, and has already brought his all-business approach to Southern California. Seriously, who scrimmages with this much intensity on the third day of training camp? A team led by Pierce, Chris Paul, and Blake Griffin, of course.
LA’s other team is concerned with something more than winning immediately. The Los Angeles Lakers certainly need to find a blueprint for sustained success once Kobe Bryant finally hangs it up, but that doesn’t mean the focus was on anyone but Mamba during their media proceedings. Refuting a recent claim by Phil Jackson that he might sign with another team after this season, Bryant says he won’t wear colors other than purple and gold.