Basketball season gets into full swing tonight

ESPN's Stephen A. Smith breaks down the top storylines to watch this season.
17:48 | 10/16/18

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Transcript for Basketball season gets into full swing tonight
Welcome I'm Ryan Smith for ABC news liability NBA season is upon us after all these months after the Golden State Warriors won the title. The NBA season begins tonight and what better way to go through everything NBA. Then with ESPN's. Resident genius when it comes the MBA Stephen A Smith joining us thank you Stephen. My pleasure was gone wrong not to let my friend all right so the broaden his affected LA everybody's talking about it big deal all the hoopla. Will that translate LeBron joining the lakers will it translate into the NBA being among the league's top team. Well I definitely think is an already has a mean he's LeBron James is the best in the world he's a four Tom league MVPs at three time champion he's been the last eight. NBA finals albeit all in the Eastern Conference that he's taken this talents out west when you look at the Los Angeles Lakers. Too many people pay attention to the individual. They don't pay attention to the level competition you're going up against the Golden State Warriors are the cream of the crop we understand that Theo question marks in Houston because Carmelo is dia had Trevor Louisa Deluca Bobble tea going to and that compromises Houston defensively and in Oklahoma City Mello is no longer the if you got Russell Westbrook import George without Melo which some people interpret as may be. Being a plus but they have no depth and have questionable coaching these in the NBA level Billy Donovan was a champion is a college go to Florida when a professional level there's a little bit to be decide you're looking utility on the come up but as Donovan Mitchell and I want to point that work well enough to get to the playoffs but to make any real more noise you got Portland. They me a little it CJ McCollum they can flat out ball. Name another player on this squad and I'll give you cookie I don't know anybody don't care about them as to when you look at it from Napa to that particular perspective you look at the Western Conference to me. It comes down to a three horse race between Golden State. Houston and LA which teams and outside like Minnesota Denver Portland Noual leaves with Anthony Davis obviously stuff like that put all beatable teams but any squabble LeBron James who want. That puts the lake is out of the playoffs the last opposite she is in the mix which makes them relevant pluses the second largest walk in the United States is the staples center at its win Jack. And did snell and everybody else that Hollywood wants to come to that makes the lake is incredibly relevant and that's why I think everybody needs to pay attention to. All right playoff basketball as you predict back in LAR writes let's talk about the warriors. What do you think the chances are they are up to the task to defend their crown and win it he get that three. About 82 -- possibility. You've got one of the top three players in the world to Kevin to ring you've got the great issued a we've ever seen in my life Tom. His staff covering you have one of the top five shooters percentage wise three point shooters in NBA history as his backcourt mate he Klay Thompson. Doing -- green is all purpose do it all Bob way to got a duty to do is come off an ACL injury and he's not expected to be back afforded new year bulky cousins the markets cousins he just some guy Ryan and averaged 28 and twelve when he was healthy and that's when he added as the big man so when you look at it from that perspective there's no question that the Golden State wore his biggest enemy potentially. It them is themselves because you've got to maintain it just doing during a grueling 82 game schedule. But I will say this eight days could get it just being in the west the conference if Magic Johnson is a little quiet issue that. In LA all or Houston is able to get another defendant appear what they already have to make a repeat of the Western Conference finals that was them against Golden State last year and then in the east the conference I believe. That the team with the best shot up anybody in the NBA of knocking off the Golden State Warriors on the Boston Celtics they've got a car we come back they've got bored and a we're coming back remember it is the same Boston Celtics squad that went to within a game of the NBA finals losing game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals the LeBron without car re. And Gordon Hayward because Gordon Haywood had that. Debt nasty. Ankle injury in game one of the season just five minutes and economy went down before the playoffs so neither of them will play all available uplift competition they've got Jalen Braun whose at third year plea incredibly athletic and a really really good plea. Jason Taylor could easily be rookie of the year this Stoops saw is rising you got got coming off the bench and Marcus wanted to be wrote G a day Kimball cock ring is the super stalked. Gordon hey what can bowl Al Horford can ball and you haven't got by the name of Brad Stevens who's considered. All arguably one of the top two coaches in the game a basketball in the world. That's how good he is to take those things in the consideration did debt the F let us isn't Dick coaching the defensive prowess the ability to hit perimeter shot because they wanted abetted them three point shooting teams. Not to mention affected they would top two. Defending against the three point shot in the league last year. Boston had all the requisite ought to legitimately challenged the Golden State Warriors who needed seven games to get. Past Houston. Because Houston was all up in them physically defensively and athletically in his only one team in the NBA there has all those components capable of going up against the Golden State Warriors. That would be the Boston Celtics. OK so you think the Celtics have a chance that they could put it all together they're getting those stars back Hayward. Hopefully carry for the full season but let me ask you in terms of how America views the NBA. Who do you think America will want to see more Golden State in the finals or the lakers in the finals coming out of the Western Conference. Well good question it all depend has not see if you ask somebody like me you gave yourself the trouble here is why and I'll get myself into because they and he hates when I see this. What I'd rather be in Oakland. Ella picket line. Six at red vehemently LK the weather's warm up its rodeo drop is now row it's it's the bill believe widows sit out late Lott is then isn't reached ballots they've bought. All this stuff front that's where I'd rather be put all the very nice city OK that obviously they have a rabid fan base. You have people that look at the Golden State Warriors and all series as the series this as a basketball team and obviously the air a leak is so did the crime Della cramped. But that you have to take into account. The store we live that would exist to do what LA vs Boston. Not only that historic rivalry the two most storied franchises in NBA annals what you also have LeBron going up against Cairo re. All were a year ago what does Carrie do I want to be traded I want. Out I don't want to be a little brother ball it due to LeBron James I don't want to be his teammate Eddie long and that story line. Dominated the first half of the NBA season so now would yield laid up what LeBron out west that he would end up in the finals. Going up against army herb it. That would be an incredible story line. Boston vs Golden State would be a great story line as well and two teams colliding. Even though obviously everybody would have Golden State as the favorite. What Boston and an LA it would be a toss up day. And be it would be a very juicy storyline will look abroad going up against Conn every so it all depends on your taste OK I don't know CNET Q madam makes people at Oakland Matta ninth city. They're losing teams you got the late that does the raid is leaving for Vegas okay. You've got to Oakland Athletics you got Billy V you know obviously carbon Colston you don't put together a quality team but in the same Brett. Never really spending. Any money so you got that going on as well you've got going to stay. Moving this San Francisco so yes Oakland is a nice town what a phenomenal phenomenal fan base. But if they was such a great great city why's everybody looking Li. Off all you heard in the heart of local residents that's okay though someone asked you ask me a question how McGee yeah that's right that's right. Let me just about Kevin Durant them because I think it's going to be one of the big story lines during the season Kevin Durant could be a free agent at the end of the year. You do you think that he will stay with Golden State and if not where do you think he will go. Who are just from an informed reporters perspective let me give you two language talk to go to stay warm his they would tell you they speak to Kevin to ran all the time in their very confident they're going to be able to keep them. He's going to want to stay. You go around the NBA elicits of the scuttled what being bandied about about Kevin Durant some of the stuff he's obviously putting out the it. You get the impression that the New York Knicks of or people may actually have a chance at grabbing him. He may end up going to New York if Chris steps was in his comes back. And he's healthy even though he's in the Greenwood extension with the New York Knicks the deadlock was this past Monday didn't happen. So he could be restricted free agent come next season. You've got that situation he's got to come back from his nasty knee injury. Prove that he's healthy so the knicks could acquire a marquee free agent that would want to come. And play with them they're not gonna wanna come it was saying this is it healthy. What Kevin Knox proves to be a Boston as the ninth overall pick in this past NBA draft so not acceptable form as a rookie and he asked to dual without the services opposing this to fall on. And that's going to be challenge of payment was in his have to come back. From his injury in time to play well enough to Sheldon he's healthy and ready to go into the future so marquee free agent. Like it can underwent like a Karmi Irvin could ultimately end up changing their minds and wanted to come to New York. That you hear about Kevin Durant and possibly pairing with LeBron James or why is that compelling because again. Anthony Davis a superstar on this lead plan for the new all these Republicans averaging 28 and eleven over the last two years. Five his agent. Connect that would got about a name of rich poll was sees clutch sport and it happens to be the same which fall whose best friends with. And the representative of LeBron James so the belief is is that Anthony Davis would be willing to. Com to Los Angeles but it Kevin Durant says I wanna go to LA then Golden State I think we'll Anthony David comedy. We don't know what's gonna happen right now and I didn't even bring local watt limit who's in another country in Toronto player for the raptors and he says that you know what you all every all the new whose that he wanted to come LA would be in Atlanta put his one year he got one of the league GMs in basketball. Aside history that is overseeing the Toronto Raptors franchise that believes he can give fiscal watt to stay in the doesn't commit squad stay cool watts going to go to LA while both the lakers and the clippers think they have a shot at him to you have the lakers. With LeBron James it position because Magic Johnson what have Max dollars to get those got. They will give you the Anthony Davis Kevin Durant. Walker watt led. And difficult why if Kevin the Red Sox go to LA what an Anthony Davis might go to will go to state or Boston. Law wild and a Mike and LAN double come to the lakers and Kevin to ram and a standing go to state he might go to New York is that outlay and Anthony. This is the kind of stuff that's going I wanted to game of basketball right now for the next few. And that's what makes basketball so great that's why we love it so much players can end up anywhere in the next year's let me ask you about a player who might end up somewhere else the end of this year. Jimmy Butler went off at practice but last week. On his teammates on the GM. Basically talking about how they need them he's been trying to force his way out of Minnesota on a trade he said he's gonna play opening night but do you think he ends a season in Minnesota. I don't think so not this small it is a wanna be there on my smoke in the Jimmy but look on several occasions over the last few weeks he's not happy day he wants out. Bomb and he's not gonna say so publicly no question about it. What he looks at you know call Anthony Townes was an absolute stud inside the Max extension with the timberwolves. I'll but he thinks they're calling it the task is just as much about his numbers as he does about winning. In a case of Andrew wig is a former number one overall pick by Cleveland which traded to Minnesota. A right after the draft in favor of Cleveland getting Kevin Love what's LeBron James at the sot it. To come back to Cleveland for years ago it's one of those situations we he has no respect for Windiz whatsoever he thinks when is a soft Scott no tissue. That he doesn't have that caught and that he does not want to win nearly as much as he wants to do is money I. I haven't spoken into wing is about that that is the word that has been out about him in Jimmy Butler clearly has no respect little to no respect. Fop either of them as a result. They know wait. Pop I'm sure they're offended by it. And it's hard to imagine that there's going to be a long term relationship that ultimately comes out of this particularly when Jimmy Butler is free. Ought to be a free agent 2019 when the Minnesota symbol war struggle or from a 110 million dollar extension. This past offseason he didn't want to sign it riot. Because had he signed it he would have been passing up 78 million potentially he could get from Minnesota next somewhat. One additional thirty million. He can get I'm going to another team so in other words he turns out a 110 million so he can be a position to get a 140 million from one team that it. At the Minnesota Timberwolves next somewhat. Or if he decides to stay in a miracle happens and they work it out he would get a 178 million from Minnesota. That's not gonna happen the likelihood is that he's going to be going so since he's going to be goal want you modest well let him go indicates Tom Thibodeau a president that we'll operates with the timberwolves as well as its head coach who's Jimmy Butler is also formal coaching Chicago. Pivotal of the of the mindset that they have a good enough relationship he can get him involved and give Max effort and didn't what was the type prison riot that will never shortchanged you would effort. But what he was mad about it white came in the practice ways and all the Al. Was because he wanted to go to Miami witness former Chicago teammate Dwayne way they would they believe they will close to a deal. And Tom Thibodeau nixed it but demanding so much from the Miami Heat that it forced them to walk away from the table so I. Basically answer the question in this simplest in the simplest fastest for you Ryan you're in freezing Minnesota. And you believe your heartbeat away from ended up south. Antonio coach mixes to deal. How would you feed. You make of my heart hurt is here and now my friend all right let's do let me go to South Beach yeah Minnesota's outrage. You make him or Minnesota people alike but there's this Knoll. Yeah Scott looking man I was not with the Minnesota. I was in Minnesota Ryan for the Super Bowl. Down mode I'm a native new Yorker Warner raised wonder bras brazen Hollis queens. Brian I was out there for the suitable. It's different kind of cold. In Minneapolis missile. It was so cold I was mad that they could they dropped a truck. The cost service that it meets at the you know the Mall of America I was mad he could drop to talk into the mall. Assets and and you got a dam road to Alston aka began dropped god we thank you so I don't the idea what is what about. The day. But it and listen Matt do Jimmy Buffett and president hey man let's go over a light in this to a lightly around questions I wanna get your one word answer is sure to these questions we'll take another minute. How many wins well Laker Willa bronze lakers have. I say 52535053. Pretty good seasons of the Dietrich Jimmy Butler won the season where. I have no clue what I would hope Miami worst team in the league this year. Stuff. Happen. I'm gonna say the Brooklyn nets. Even though active sand has helped them improve did they win 28 games last year. Pitt leading scorer was De'Angelo Russell. Okay they got a Dudek can play but his name is dead and Whittle. I just don't know. I mean I've got guy just now I would say that nets. The Phoenix Suns are a possibility. The Atlanta. Whole walks actually okay might be worse than a bolts at them but yet they drafted tree young they're just a young team Mona come up. They might be worse are readily get to one word on these. Most likely to stick around with their current teams Kevin Durant acquire when Leonard. Given were okay. Describe the knicks in one word this season. This season the not gimmick they say. Not everything title role pathetic little more than that I'm a mama puts fiction said this season eyewitness eight out what's that day. Hopeful. OK all right for names are new most improved player this year. No just give me one person who do you think will be most improved player. And Steve it's okay replace it with a brawl nice rookie of the year. This kid Don chicken Dallas and get a lot of promise that things about Danny looks good already MVP he does. LeBron and world champion. Go to stay war we use beats the Boston Celtics in seven games. All right you're our world champion my friend Stephen A Smith thanks for joining us appreciate it. Thank you they've had our eye and by the way folks don't forget to catch Steve an eye on first take every single weekday on ESPN at 10 AM eastern. Don't miss it well thank you so much for joining us for ABC news lot I'm Ryan Smith.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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