Challenge Day: 5 2018 NBA Opening Night Storylines

Will Markelle Fultz help lift Philly to that next level a year early?


Too Many Cooks For The Celtics?

Philadelphia Sixers at Boston Celtics, TNT, 8 pm ET

The Celtics have an overload of talent that will either make them great or break them into pieces.

Terry Rozier will be the only backup point guard, which will afford him some minutes, but he’s a starter on plenty of other teams and that fact is already causing a riff. Rozier rejected the Celtics’ $12 million extension offer and he appears headed for free agency in July.

The Celtics Wire on Twitter

Report: Terry Rozier rejects Celtics’ $12 million per year extension

Marcus Smart’s playing time will take a serious hit with the two second-year sensations solidified as starters and Rozier’s stock booming after last year’s impressive playoff performance.

Al Horford is going to get his shots and be a big part of how the offense moves. The return of Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward will take a gang of shots away from Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum, but if Brad Stevens can get this abundance of talent to click, then the Celtics are the clear-cut favorites to win the Eastern Conference.

Will Markelle Fultz Finally Help Lift Philly To That Next Level?

Not to say that Philly is just going to lay down and let Boston rule the East without a fight.  But do they arrive a year early? Or do they fall victim to the veteran leadership of their rival Celtics? Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons are a year older. The return of Markelle Fultz gives the Sixers another No. 1 pick to bring into the fold and strengthen the team. The NBA world is anxious to see a physically and mentally healthy Fultz back on track in his young NBA journey.

NBC Sports Philadelphia on Twitter

Markelle Fultz is still a bit of an enigma at this point. But one day before the season is set to begin, we see plenty of opportunities ahead for him to grow.

Can Elton Brand And Co. Usher In A Return of The Boston Strangler?

The stench of former Sixers GM Bryan Colangelo’s self-eroding burner accounts that attacked star players has evaporated. The Sixers brought Elton Brand into the fold and have allowed Brett Brown an opportunity to see the ultimate success of “The Process” come to fruition.

The battles between these two team will conjure memories of the 80s when Philly was often the underdog, but the greatness of Dr. J and Moses Malone, along with a cast of role players who executed their jobs to perfection, led Philly to an elusive title in 1983.


Before the todays Warriors and the Lakers of Kobe and O’Neal there were the Sixers. The Sixers raced through the regular season, finishing with a league-best 65-17 record. Heading into the Finals, Malone was asked for his prediction and responded with the classic “Fo’, fo’ fo’.”

They finally got past the Green Machine.

The 2018 reboot of that classic rivalry beings Tuesday night in the first of 82 grueling games.

How Long Will Russ Westbrook Be Out?

OKC at Golden State, TNT, 10:30 pm ET

OKC was one of the big winners in the off-season as they unloaded a disgruntled Carmelo Anthony and were able to re-sign Paul George to a long-term extension while acquiring Dennis Schroder and Nerlens Noel.  2017 MVP Russell Westbrook is still recovering from arthroscopic surgery on his right knee and could miss the first couple games of the season. If he’s not able to go that dampens the luster of opening night.


Will DeMarcus Cousins Make The Big Four A Fab Five?

The Golden State Warriors are stacked for a three-peat and DeMarcus Cousins has joined the fray. When he’s healthy enough to play and his Achilles is at full strength, he will provide Golden State with another unstoppable offensive force.

Post Sports on Twitter

Now that the @Warriors added DeMarcus Cousins, the roster features five players in the top 50, and four in the top 20.

That’s the biggest question hovering around Golden State right now. That and whether or not they will exceed the 70-win plateau again.

Cousins was the only NBA player last season to average at least 25 points, 10 rebounds and five assists. Reports say he could be back as early as December, which would provide him enough time to make a serious move on a starting position. That would be every NBA team’s worst nightmare come true, but it’s a ways off. Everything else will remain true to form for Golden State and on Tuesday we should get a glimpse into how explosive their offense could be this season.

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