This summer will feature some of the biggest storylines the sports world has ever seen, and will dominate media outlets around the country for months to come. For this week’s Pick-Six, to celebrate this great time in sports, we count down the top storylines that will be coming your way throughout the summer.
6. Can Chicago’s Baseball Teams Continue Hot Start?
The Cubs are proving with their hot start this season that they are here to stay, after their appearance in the NLCS last season in a losing effort against the Mets. The White Sox are trying to prove that they belong at the top, especially after a lackluster fourth place finish last season. Combined they are the top two teams in the MLB, and will be looking to keep up their hot streak throughout the warm summer months. It’s highly unlikely both teams stay at the top in their respective leagues, as at least one of their hot starts will cool down. Either way, it’ll be a fun summer of baseball for the city of Chicago, and it’ll be interesting to see where the two teams end up come late September.
5. Stanley Cup Playoffs
Hockey is slowly rising to the number two spot on the four big sports out there currently (NFL, NHL, NBA, MLB), especially when the playoffs arrive. Playoff hockey is arguably the greatest to watch with its non-stop action and high stakes in every game, and this year has proven that time and time again. This year, there will be a guaranteed new Stanley Cup winner, with some big names vying for the chance to hoist the trophy in two months. With talented teams all around, there will no doubt be solid match-ups in the conference finals and Stanley Cup Finals, meaning endless great hockey.
4. “DeflateGate” Continues
This was the dominant storyline of last summer, and probably has a case to be higher on this list for this summer. However, this is literally playing out almost exactly the same as last year, just on a bit higher of a scale. It is the top storyline in the NFL (actually the only big one in the NFL), and will change how the league operates no matter the result. Either way, it’s the same story, different summer. It will dominate ESPN and the NFL Network as details come about in the next few months, but some stories are definitely more deserving of the attention.
3. UFC 200
I personally don’t think anything can top the hype that surrounded UFC 100 and its plethora of storylines, but UFC 200 is pretty close. With Conor McGregor out and now making headlines for a potential fight with Floyd Mayweather, the UFC had to pull out all of the stops to make this big event the best it could, and it came through. Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier will have their long-awaited rematch in the main event for the light heavyweight championship, and we will see two solid match-ups in Jose Aldo vs. Frankie Edgar and a battle for the women’s bantamweight title between Miesha Tate and Amanda Nunes. I may not be reaching its full potential with the loss of McGregor and Nate Diaz, but UFC 200 is definitely an event any fight fan will want to tune in and see.
2. Will the Warriors Repeat?
Many think it’s almost guaranteed that the Warriors will repeat in this year’s NBA Finals, but there are a couple of roadblocks for the top team in the league. With league MVP Steph Curry out with ankle and knee injury, Golden State has slowed their hot pace slightly. Factor in their future battles with either the ever-dominant Spurs, red-hot Thunder, and potentially a 2015 NBA Finals rematch against the Cavaliers, and you have a rough road ahead for the Warriors. Steph Curry’s health will be a huge storyline to follow throughout the rest of the playoffs, and Golden State’s fans are hoping he can return to his regular form quickly with big match-ups upcoming.
1. Kevin Durant’s Potential Free Agency
This has been the biggest story of the year, and it really hasn’t even started it. With the Thunder currently in a tight series with the stacked San Antonio Spurs, many believe Durant won’t be going anywhere this offseason, and will sign a long-time deal with Oklahoma City. However, depending on how Durant and his Thunder finish the season, the NBA’s landscape could completely change with one of its biggest names leaving town. Washington, Los Angeles, Boston, and even San Antonio have all been noted as potential suitors for Durant, and if he decides to pursue free agency legitimately, this could turn into the biggest story the NBA has seen since LeBron took his talents to South Beach.