The 2015-16 NBA season kicks off tonight, and that means we’ll be keeping a close eye on the sneakers your favorite players will be wearing all season. We’ve already taken a look at the top 10 players to watch, but that doesn’t mean they’re the only ones.
The players may be focused on winning, but they also know we’re all watching their kicks. We’ve broken down each team and noted which players are known to wear heat on court. We’ve also taken a look at which games you might have a chance to catch them in. Holidays as well as nationally televised games often serve as a platform for players and brands to showcase something special. And finally, we’ve analyzed if they’re truly a #SoleWatch team worth watching.
Players to Watch: Dennis Schroder, Jeff Teague, Paul Millsap, Al Horford
Games to Watch: Jan. 18 vs. Magic (MLK Day)
#SoleWatch Approved?: No. The Hawks may have had the best record in the Eastern Conference last season, but the loss of DeMarre Carroll hurts them even more when it comes to #SoleWatch than on the court.
Players to Watch: RJ Hunter, Amir Johnson, Isaiah Thomas, James Young
Games to Watch: Jan. 7 at Bulls (TNT)
#SoleWatch Approved?: Young additions to the Celtics like James Young and RJ Hunter have been promising with their on-court choices. Add that to established #SoleWatch favorites like Isaiah Thomas, and you've got a team to worth watching - for their sneakers, at least.
Players to Watch: Jarrett Jack, Joe Johnson, Thaddeus Young
Games to Watch: Dec. 4 at Knicks (ESPN)
#SoleWatch Approved?: The Nets may not be exactly young and exciting, but veterans like Jack, Johnson and Young have been entertaining us with their footwear for years.
Players to Watch: Kemba Walker, Jeremy Lin, Frank Kaminksky
Games to Watch: March 21 vs. Spurs (NBATV)
#SoleWatch Approved?: Michael Jordan just happens to be the owner of the Charlotte Hornets. Hornets players just happen to wear Air Jordan PEs. Enough said.
Players to Watch: Jimmy Butler, Derrick Rose
Games to Watch: Dec. 25 at Thunder (Christmas Day), Jan. 23 at Cavaliers (ABC), Feb. 24 vs. Wizards (ESPN)
#SoleWatch Approved?: The Bulls may not have a deep roster of players with sneakers to keep an eye on, but Derrick Rose's signature line, along with Jimmy Butler's Jordan Brand deal are enough for this team to get the nod.
Players to Watch: Jared Cunningam, LeBron James, Kyrie Irving, J.R. Smith
Games to Watch: Oct. 30 vs. Heat (ESPN), Dec. 25 at Warriors (Christmas Day), Jan. 30 vs. Spurs (ABC), Feb. 21 at Thunder (ABC)
#SoleWatch Approved?: The Cavs not only have championship ambitions, but they may be the top team of all to watch when it comes to sneakers. Between LeBron and Kyrie's signature lines, J.R. Smith's past sneaker record, and newcomer Jared Cunningam's exciting pre-season, there's no team to keep a closer eye on.
Players to Watch: JJ Barea, John Jenkins, Dirk Nowitzki
Games to Watch: Nov. 11 vs. Clippers (ESPN), Jan. 27 at Warriors (ESPN)
#SoleWatch Approved?: The Mavs may have gotten the short end of the stick this summer when it came to acquiring DeAndre Jordan, but on the bright side, they still wouldn't have been a #SoleWatch team-to-watch.
Players to Watch: Wilson Chandler, J.J. Hickson, Emmanuel Mudiay
Games to Watch: November 3 at Lakers (NBATV)
#SoleWatch Approved?: The Nuggets are largely a team to forget when it comes to #SoleWatch, but Emmanuel Mudiay could become a player worth paying attention to in the future as Under Armour become a bigger force in the NBA.
Players to Watch: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Andre Drummond, Stanley Johnson, Marcus Morris
Games to Watch: April 2 at Bulls (NBATV)
#SoleWatch Approved?: The arrival of Marcus Morris from Phoenix helps to bulk up Detroit's #SoleWatch appeal.
Golden State Warriors
Players to Watch: Stephen Curry, Andre Iguodala, Jason Thompson, Klay Thompson
Games to Watch: Oct. 27 vs. Pelicans (TNT, Ring Night), Nov, 19 at Clippers (TNT), Jan. 18 at Cavaliers (MLK Day), March 19 at Spurs (ABC)
#SoleWatch Approved?: With a title now under their belts, the Warriors will have more national exposure than ever, which means you'll have plenty of opportunities to see this #SoleWatch-worthy team.
Players to Watch: James Harden, Dwight Howard, Terrence Jones, Ty Lawson
Games to Watch: Oct. 30 vs. Warriors (ESPN), Dec. 17 at Lakers (TNT), Jan. 18 at Clippers (MLK Day)
#SoleWatch Approved?: Yes. Curiosity regarding James Harden's new partnership with adidas is enough to carry the Rockets to a #SoleWatch co-sign all on its own.
Players to Watch: Monta Ellis, Paul George, C.J. Miles, Joe Young
Games to Watch: Nov. 6 vs. Heat (ESPN), Jan. 22 at Warriors
#SoleWatch Approved?: Monta Ellis has had an interesting sneaker career, including a signature line with AND1 before joining on with Jordan Brand. And Paul George's frequent Nike PEs are worth watching out for as well. But it's rookie and Oregon-alum Joe Young who's sneakers we're most looking forward to watching.
Los Angeles Clippers
Players to Watch: Blake Griffin, Chris Paul, Josh Smith
Games to Watch: Nov. 11 at Mavericks (ESPN), Dec. 18 at Spurs (ESPN), Jan. 18 vs. Rockets (MLK Day)
#SoleWatch Approved?: Chris Paul is on his ninth Jordan signature model. Blake is one of the brand's biggest name players. So yes, that qualifies them as a team who's sneakers we'll be keeping an eye on.
Los Angeles Lakers
Players to Watch: Kobe Bryant, Jordan Clarkson, Julius Randle, D’Angelo Russell, Lou Williams, Nick Young
Games to Watch: Nov. 24 at Warriors (TNT), March 10 vs. Cavaliers (TNT)
#SoleWatch Approved?: The Lakers have a number of players worth watching, but long-time #SoleWatch favorite Nick Young may be the most interesting, as he enters the season without a contract and wearing whatever brand he pleases on a given night.
Players to Watch: Courtney Lee, Mike Conley, Russ Smith
Games to Watch: Nov. 2 at Warriors (NBATV), Jan. 18 vs. Pelicans (MLK Day)
#SoleWatch Approved?: Good team? Yes. But the Grizz don't offer much on the sneaker front.
Players to Watch: Tyler Ennis, Greg Monroe, Johnny O’Bryant, Jabari Parker
Games to Watch: Nov. 19 at Cavaliers (TNT)
#SoleWatch Approved?: The young Bucks surprised many last year with a competitive season. And while they're looking to build on that success, you'll be much more interested in watching their mascot's sneakers than those of their players.
Players to Watch: Zach LaVine, Kevin Martin, Andrew Wiggins, Karl-Anthony Towns
Games to Watch: Nov. 12 vs. Warriors (TNT)
#SoleWatch Approved?: Former number-one pick Anthony Bennett's career has been a bust so far, but when the T-Wolves bought him out, they lost one of their only players with sneakers worth watching. However, if Andrew Wiggins continues to progress and build on his rookie season, along with Zach Lavine and number one pick Karl-Anthony Towns on Nike contracts, this could be a team to watch in the future.
Players to Watch: Chris Bosh, Dwyane Wade, Justise Winslow
Games to Watch: Oct. 30 at Cavaliers (ESPN), Dec. 3 vs. Thunder (TNT), Dec. 25 vs. Pelicans
#SoleWatch Approved?: "Heat" is a word often used to describe coveted sneakers. Don't let that confuse you when it comes to Miami's #SoleWatch accolades - or lack thereof.
New Orleans Pelicans
Players to Watch: Jrue Holiday, Quincy Pondexter, Nate Robinson
Games to Watch: Jan. 18 at. Grizzlies (MLK Day), Feb. 11 at Thunder (TNT)
#SoleWatch Approved?: Nate Robinson's career looked bleak after spending some time out of the league, but finding a roster spot with the Pelicans immediately makes them a #SoleWatch-worthy team.
New York Knicks
Players to Watch: Carmelo Anthony, Lance Thomas, Derrick Williams
Games to Watch: Nov. 4 at Cavaliers (ESPN)
#SoleWatch Approved?: Some teams are worth watching for the exciting basketball they play. Some are worth watching for their sneakers. The Knicks don't fall into either of those categories.
Oklahoma City Thunder
Players to Watch: Kevin Durant, Cameron Payne, Russell Westbrook
Games to Watch: Nov. 5 at Bulls (TNT), Dec. 25 vs Thunder (Christmas Day), Feb. 6 at Warriors (ESPN)
#SoleWatch Approved?: Some teams are worth watching for the exciting basketball they play. Some are worth watching for their sneakers. In contrast to the Knicks, the Thunder fall into both of those categories.
Players to Watch: Channing Frye, Victor Oladipo
Games to Watch: Jan. 18 at Hawks (MLK Day)
#SoleWatch Approved?: The Magic are young and improving, but days of Shaq and even Dwight having sneakers worth watching are long behind us.
Players to Watch: Kendall Marshall, Jahlil Okafor, Tony Wroten
Games to Watch: Nov. 9 vs. Bulls (NBATV)
#SoleWatch Approved?: Sneakers may be the one and only thing worth watching the 76ers for, but thanks to players like Kendall Marshall and Tony Wroten, at least there's one reason to tune in.
Players to Watch: Eric Bledsoe, Devin Booker, Markieff Morris, P.J. Tucker
Games to Watch: Nov. 12 vs. Clippers (TNT), Jan. 21 vs. Spurs (TNT)
#SoleWatch Approved?: The Suns may have lost one of their best #SoleWatch assets in Marcus Morris, but their sneaker roster was thankfully deep enough to survive the hit.
Portland Trail Blazers
Players to Watch: Damian Lillard, CJ McCollum, Moe Harkless
Games to Watch: Nov. 5 vs. Grizzlies
#SoleWatch Approved?: When the majority of the Blazers roster (worth watching) left town, that left Damian Lillard as the sole player with any type of #SoleWatch credentials. Unfortunately, those rather weak credentials can't carry a roster.
Players to Watch: DeMarcus Cousins, Rudy Gay, Rajon Rondo
Games to Watch: Jan. 7 vs. Lakers (TNT)
#SoleWatch Approved?: The Kings made major roster moves this summer, and while they're looking to improve in a major way on court, one thing will be the same: they're still a team to watch on the sneaker front, and Rajon Rondo's Anta line adds some variety to the popular retros and PEs we often see Rudy and Boogie wearing.
San Antonio Spurs
Players to Watch: LaMarcus Aldridge, Kawhi Leonard
Games to Watch: Oct. 28 at Thunder (ESPN), Dec. 25 at Houston (ESPN), Jan. 14 vs. Cavaliers (TNT)
#SoleWatch Approved?: The revamped Spurs not only added an additional inside presence with Aldridge, but a second Jordan Brand athlete to go along with Kawhi Leonard.
Players to Watch: Anthony Bennett, DeMarre Carroll, DeMar DeRozan, James Johnson, Terrence Ross
Games to Watch: Jan. 28 vs Knicks (TNT)
#SoleWatch Approved?: If the Raptors were half as good of an actual team as they were a #SoleWatch team, they could be a strong title contender. They aren't, but at least they're worth watching for the kicks.
Players to Watch: Trey Burke, Rodney Hood
Games to Watch: Feb. 25 vs Spurs (TNT)
#SoleWatch Approved?: The Jazz have traditionally been a team you could skip on the #SoleWatch front, and that doesn't appear to be changing any time soon.
Players to Watch: John Wall, Bradley Beal, Martell Webster, Alan Anderson
Games to Watch: Dec. 1 at Cavaliers (NBATV), March 29 at Warriors (TNT)
#SoleWatch Approved?: The Wizards may not be the most exciting sneaker team in the league, but thanks to Bradley Beal's PEs, and John Wall's signature line - along with the fact that they're one of the top teams in the East - they qualify as a team worth watching.