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10 Questions to Answer This NBA Season: Part 2

Training camp is just a few weeks away. Here are 10 more questions to consider for the 2014-15 NBA season.

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Last week we brought you Part 1 of 10 questions to answer in the 2014-15 NBA season. From the future of playoff teams to emerging stars to veterans eager to get back to winning, there are still plenty of other questions to ponder. With training camp just a few weeks away, here is Part 2.

1. What Now for Carmelo Anthony?
After exploring his options this summer, Carmelo Anthony decided to stay in the Big Apple with a five-year, $124 million contract. Rather than being a piece of an existing star-studded tandem (what would have been the case joining a team like the Chicago Bulls) Anthony is the number one option on the New York Knicks. So where will he take the team this season? They finished just 37-45 last season and did not make the playoffs. Can Anthony lead the Knicks to the postseason or will he be a big-money player going home in mid-April?

2. Will the Los Angeles Clippers Stay in Tact?
The lineup looks daunting on paper: Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, DeAndre Jordan and a cast of proven veterans among others. So far, though, that hasn’t been enough to make it to the Western Conference Finals. They have the talent and one of the best coaches in the league. If that doesn’t look to be enough during the season, will the team begin to look at its options elsewhere?

3. How High is Anthony Davis’ Ceiling?
Anthony Davis quietly emerged as a dominating big man in his sophomore season on the New Orleans Pelicans. The 21-year-old averaged 20.8 points, 10 rebounds and 2.8 blocks in 67 games (66 starts). This summer he is playing on Team USA, giving him the experience of playing with some of the best talent in the NBA and against top talent around the world. Add that to his existing talent and it should only increase his game next season.

4. Who Will the Memphis Grizzlies Be?
Over the past three years it has been one extreme or the other for the Memphis Grizzlies. Their 2013 Western Conference Finals appearance was bookended by first round eliminations. Which version of the Grizzlies will we see this time around? They have plenty of talent on their roster, but do they have the right pieces to get them deep into the postseason?

5. What Will Ray Allen Do?
The ball is in Ray Allen’s court. If he wants to return for his 19th season, there will be suitors lined up making their pitches. The Cleveland Cavaliers, San Antonio Spurs, Los Angeles Clippers and Washington Wizards are among the teams who reportedly have interest. Allen isn’t under any pressure to return at the start of the season. Contending teams are pursuing him for playoff runs, and it’s hard to imagine him walking away from the chase when he can still compete at a high level.

6. How Good Can the Portland Trail Blazers Become?
The Portland Trail Blazers were one of the feel-good stories of the playoffs last season. LaMarcus Aldridge emerged as a dominating postseason player. Damian Lillard proved his leadership in just his second year (and first playoff experience). The team is looking to carry the momentum and knowledge into this season in the competitive Western Conference. Eyes will be on their success as stars are developing in Portland.

7. When Will Joel Embiid Play?
The Philadelphia 76ers are not going to rush Joel Embiid as he rehabs from foot surgery. Just as the case with Nerlens Noel (ACL) last season, Embiid’s NBA debut is a wait and see. Until he can entertain fans on the court, he has been keeping them laughing on social media.

8. Can the Charlotte Hornets Create a Buzz?
The days of the Charlotte Bobcats are over and the Hornets hope their years of struggles will be in the past, too. Last season the Bobcats finished with a winning record and earned a playoff berth for only the second time since 2002. This summer made a splash by signing Lance Stephenson in free agency. Stephenson will be joining returning players Al Jefferson, Kemba Walker and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, as well as veteran Marvin Williams and rookie Noah Vonleh. With more depth than they have had in years, the Hornets should be looking to the postseason again.

9. What is the 2014-15 Version of DeMarcus Cousins?
Lots of talent, lots of distractions. DeMarcus Cousins has developed a reputation over his short NBA career. This summer, however, he earned a spot on the Team USA roster. This is not a place for antics and outbursts, certainly not under head coach Mike Krzyzewski. Just how much Cousins has grown and matured this offseason will be seen in the coming months.

10. Who Will Be the Sophomore Standout?
Rookie seasons are filled with the ups and downs of adjusting to the NBA. With a year of experience behind them, which sophomore players will make a statement? Mason Plumlee is turning heads this summer on Team USA. Anthony Bennett has shed pounds and shown drastic improvements to shake the label of first-pick-bust. Kelly Olynyk turned heads during Summer League action. They aren’t the new guys anymore, and they are ready to show they belong.

Jessica Camerato is a bilingual reporter who has been covering the NBA since 2006. She has also covered MLB, NHL and MLS. A graduate of Quinnipiac University, Jessica is a member of the Professional Basketball Writers Association and the Association for Women in Sports Media.

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