A full breakdown of what to expect this NBA season
This month, the 2018-19 NBA season kicks off following an offseason full of drama and major changes around the league. Obviously, the biggest move of the summer was LeBron James’s move from his hometown Cleveland Cavaliers out west to join the Los Angeles Lakers, a team that is filled with young stars but still missed the playoffs last season. However, the addition of the best player in the world should vault them into championship contention.
The Houston Rockets retained star point guard Chris Paul in free agency and also added forward Carmelo Anthony, putting themselves in contention to once again finish among the top teams in the league. In Minnesota, Jimmy Butler has caused a stir by demanding a trade, although it still appears as though he will play at least in the beginning of the season.
In the east, the Toronto Raptors traded DeMar Derozan in exchange for superstar small forward Kawhi Leonard, who should allow them to compete with the Boston Celtics and Philadelphia 76ers for the eastern conference crown.
Despite all of the major changes in the league during the offseason, the reigning champion Golden State Warriors are still the team to beat in the NBA. Steph Curry is still the best point guard in the league, and Kevin Durant is arguably the most gifted scorer in NBA history. Behind these two, alongside an all-star supporting cast consisting of Draymond Green and Klay Thompson, the Warriors should be the best team in the league once again. Not to mention, they added all-NBA center DeMarcus Cousins in free agency, who is currently injured but should make a huge impact in the Bay Area once he returns. Once Cousins is healthy, the entire Warriors starting lineup will consist of all stars from last year (!).
One thing I’m very interested about in this upcoming season is the new rookie class that looks to be one of the best classes in recent memory. Rookies like Deandre Ayton, Luka Doncic, and Trae Young all have shown flashes of superstardom in summer league and preseason play, and all look to be the missing piece for their respective franchises.
I think the Celtics and Raptors will meet up in the eastern conference finals, with the Celtics winning a hard-fought series in 6 games. I see the Warriors and Rockets having a rematch in the western conference finals, with Golden State once again prevailing in seven games.
In the Finals, I think the Warriors will beat the Celtics in 6 games to accomplish a rare three-peat.
Most Improved Player: Jamal Murray, Nuggets
6th Man of the Year: Dennis Schroder, Thunder
Defensive Player of the Year: Joel Embiid, 76ers
Rookie of the Year: Deandre Ayton, Suns
Coach of the Year: Brad Stevens, Celtics
Most Valuable Player: LeBron James, Lakers
Eastern Conference: 1. Celtics 2. Raptors 3. 76ers 4. Pacers 5. Bucks 6. Heat 7. Wizards 8. Pistons
Western Conference: 1. Warriors 2. Rockets 3. Thunder 4. Lakers 5. Jazz 6. Nuggets 7. Pelicans 8. Spurs
Jackson Stone – @tdjs_network