With one week to go before NBA teams start gathering for training camps, our weekly summer pastime is nearing the end of its run. It has been fun. But this is our penultimate installment of the Friday Five.
The focus this week is singular. We're casting a glance around the league in hopes of determining the five most interesting training camps. We think we have them, and it's OK if you disagree.
5) The Mavericks
Dallas has missed the playoffs only once in Mark Cuban's 14-year run as owner. The Mavs last season squeaked into the No. 8 seed. Cuban responded by taking action.
Not long after the Mavericks were eliminated they sent a bunch of guys they didn't want, including center Samuel Dalembert, to the Knicks for center Tyson Chandler and point guard Raymond Felton. Chandler is the key. He was an essential part of the 2011 championship team, the only title in franchise history.
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Dallas then plucked small forward Chandler Parsons from intrastate rival Houston and, perhaps aware that Felton is a gamble, later added veteran point guard Jameer Nelson.
Can the old guys, including Dirk, summon one more run?
4) The Lakers
One of the league's most accomplished franchises fell on hard times last season, finishing with the worst record (27-55) in their 54-season Los Angeles history. What happened? The SoCal answer is, well, that Kobe got hurt.
Well, Kobe Bryant is hard on the comeback trail, out to prove to everybody that a team can succeed on the back of a 36-year-old with preposterously high mileage, tender knees AND a repaired Achilles tendon.
Show us Kobe. Silence the doubters. Defy Father Time for 35 minutes a night, over 82 games – or even 30 over 70.
Is it pointless to tell Hollywood there is no happy ending for this tale?
3) The Pacers
This team gave its fans a splendid first half, only to spend the final three months collapsing like a cardboard box in the rain. The best team in the league became the biggest pity party in sports.
And now for the real pity: Star forward Paul George sustained a compound fracture in a Team USA scrimmage and could miss the entire season. Electrifying guard Lance Stephenson took his mercurial game to the Hornets. Roy Hibbert might still be in Swagger Rehab.
Can it be fascinating to watch one team trying to open so many windows that were closed so emphatically?
2) The Bulls
Chicago added a terrific offensive force, Pau Gasol, to play alongside defensive whiz Joakim Noah in the paint. There are those who insist rookie Doug McDermott is the real deal.
But all eyes are on point guard Derrick Rose, to see if he can overcome two severe injuries and regain the dynamic explosion that made him a franchise player.
The general consensus is Tom Thibodeau is one of the five best coaches in the league. This will be his closest inspection. Can the former Doc Rivers assistant pass the test?
1) The Cavaliers
The most carefully constructed team of stars since LeBron James (and Chris Bosh) took their talents to South Beach four summers ago, the Cavs are masterfully rebuilt and poised to win 65 games.
There is LeBron's return to Cleveland. There is the arrival of Kevin Love on the shores of Lake Erie. There is the explosively talented point guard, Kyrie Irving, positioned to run what could be the league's most dynamic offense under first-year coach David Blatt.
Will Blatt's international success translate to the NBA? Will LeBron satisfy the euphoric fans in Cleveland? Will Love validate his lofty status? Will Irving be able to mold his game to fit with two of the league's top-10 offensive players?
If you could chose any training camp in the league to observe, how can it not be this one?