The NBA is one of our favorite sports leagues in the world thanks to how volatile the rosters are. In a single off season you can see a franchise go from last place in the division all the way to first place in the league. Just look at the Cleveland Cavaliers and their rocket like ascent to the NBA Finals thanks to LeBron James. So knowing that the league is capable of such huge change on a year in and year out basis, we can’t help but get excited about the season before it actually gets going. We’ve decided to highlight a few key players and their teams that you will want to be paying attention to this coming year!
Al Horford – Atlanta Hawks
When Bruce Levenson sold the Atlanta Hawks many fans thought that the franchise might be in for a few rough seasons. We don’t think that is going to be the case. After the Hawks made it to the Eastern Conference Finals last year the expectations will be high once more. At the center of that hype is Al Horford. Horford was drafted in the lottery back in 2007 but he has never quite lived up to the selection. Horford needs to take that dominant step forward and start filling the stat sheet. He was a no show in the ECF against Cleveland, dropping only 2 points in the final elimination game.
Greg Monroe – Milwaukee Bucks
Last season was a little bit rocky for the then Piston, Greg Monroe. Monroe missed a handful of games thanks to injuries but he still managed to post a 16PPG, 10RPG stat line while averaging over 30 minutes per game. Despite his misuse early in the season, where Monroe was oddly coming off of the bench, he would go on to post his best year yet. When the off season came around Monroe spurned the Pistons in order to sign a lucrative deal with the up and coming Milwaukee Bucks. Milwaukee is a franchise on the verge of prolonged success thanks to their young talent and they NEED to see Monroe pay off. The last few big free agents that Milwaukee has signed (OJ Mayo, Larry Sanders) have not paid off.
Deron Williams – Dallas Mavericks
The Brooklyn Nets were supposed to become the next big Eastern Conference franchise after relocating and signing Deron Williams to big money. Unfortunately nothing ever really clicked as Williams battled injuries and the Nets under performed as a whole. Things got so bad that the former All Star was cut from Brooklyn. Mark Cuban and the Mavs swooped in and quickly signed the veteran to handle the starting duties in Dallas. Williams is 31 and coming off of a rough season, posting just 13PPG and 7APG, and he will need to play well in Dallas to shake the stigma that is currently holding sway. Williams is an elite talent and he can be a big part of what Dallas needs to do out in the Western Conference.