2018-2019 NBA WhyPreview?
The NBA is finally back! The wait felt longer than ever this off-season, but it'll be beyond worth it. There is a buzz around this season unlike seasons before but why? Could it be that we could see the first three-peat in 15 years? Or the fact that two of the top three players in the NBA are rocking different jerseys? Or maybe it's because of the drama-filled off-season and the most exciting preseason in NBA history? Whatever the reason is, the season is here, so let's get into it!
NBA Off-season Moves
The most significant move of the offseason is obvious, the best player in the league, LeBron James, is now a Los Angeles Laker
The Lakers didn't stop there, they added Rajon Rondo, JaVale McGee, Michael Beasley, and Lance Stephenson.
Kawhi Leonard is no longer a Spur and is now the face of the Toronto Raptors
Danny Green also joined Kawhi on the Raptors
Dwight Howard is on the Washington Wizards
DeMar DeRozan was the unfortunate casualty of the Kawhi/Spurs drama, and he is now a San Antonio Spur
Carmelo Anthony's stint in OKC was short-lived,and he is now playing in Houston along the MVP, James Harden, and his best friend, Chris Paul.
Isaiah Thomas is on what seems like his 100th team since the Celtics, as he is now a Denver Nugget.
Oh yeah,I almost forgot, the best center in basketball is now a Warrior.
Top Storylines of the Season
Will the Warriors become the greatest team in NBA History?
Will the Warriors become the greatest team in NBA History? The Warriors are on the verge of history, what's crazy is that it seems already predestined. Everybody is picking the Warriors to 3peat, and the addition of DeMarcus Cousins cements it. If he comes back fully healthy, they'll have all Western Conference All-Stars in their starting line. Winning the championship shouldn't be enough for the Warriors this season though. With all this talent, they should want to do the one thing they failed at over this magical run: Becoming the GOAT. The Warriors would need to win 74 games and the championship, but do they even want to?
How far will the Lakers go?
Ask around about the Lakers, and you'll hear predictions from them missing the playoffs to them beating the Warriors. They have a shot at the Warriors, but one thing is for damn sure, they are not missing the playoffs. LeBron hasn't missed the playoffs since his sophomore season in the league, and him changing conferences shouldn't affect that. The real question is how deep in the playoffs will the Lakers go, and that answer has nothing to do with LeBron. Whether the Lakers are second round out or reach the Conference Finals or maybe even the Finals will depend on pieces around him, particularly the young Lakers and their growth.
Will the TimberBulls work?
Tom Thibodeau is a sick guy. His star player wants out, and because he doesn't want to rebuild without him, he's been sabotaging deals other general managers have offered. I hope there is a method to his madness because the relationship between Jimmy Butler and the Wolves seems irreparable, especially considering the drama with Karl Anthony-Towns and Andrew Wiggins. It looks like Butler will start the season with the Wolves and he'll have his old Chicago teammates, Luol Deng, Taj Gibson, and Derrick Rose, in tow. It'll be up to Thibodeau to try and make the TimberBulls work.
Can Carmelo be the missing piece?
The amount of disrespect Carmelo Anthony has received this summer has been very disrespectful, Chris Paul was so right about that. Melo had a terrible season last year, that can't be denied, but OKC just wasn't a good fit for him. Melo didn't know how to be a third option, but this season he'll have to learn, the Rockets season depends on it. Melo could be the difference between an early playoff out or the Rocket's first NBA Finals since '96, it all depends on if he can buy in.
Do the healthy Celtics have too much?
The Celtics have an abundance of riches. They have a loaded bench and two young stars in Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown that were able to take them to game 7 of the Conference Finals. Now with Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward back, the Celtics look poised for their first finals appearance in a decade. The issue the Celtics might face though is that there is only one basketball. With Tatum and Brown a year older, they will command more touches. Hayward will want to get his groove back and work himself back into All-Star shape. And most importantly, Kyrie Irving will be playing for his super-max deal. It'll be up to Brad Stevens to keep the offense and egos balanced.
Rookie Of The Year
The 2018 Draft class will be another draft class full of stars. A lot of rookies will have the opportunity to shine and put up numbers for their squads this season, but none more so than Kevin Knox. Selected ninth by the New York Knicks, Knox showed his scoring ability at Summer League. He showed he's a three-level scorer with bounce, and at 6'9 he can be a defensive threat on the other end. But why do I believe he'll be the ROY? Over a 7'1 DeAndre Ayton or the reigning EuroLeague MVP, Luka Doncic? WhyToby? Knox will have the greenest light of any rookie. With Kristaps Porzingus out with an ACL injury, somebody is going to have to put up big numbers for the Knicks, and nobody is more equipped to do so than Knox.
Sixth Man Of The Year
This year Sixth man will be a former starter on a new team. Dennis Schroder will come off the bench for the Thunder but he'll in all likelihood play starter minutes. Playing in Atlanta, a lot of people didn't get the chance to see precisely how good Schroder is. He put up 19 and 6 for the Hawks, and if it weren't for Russell Westbrook being on this team, he would be a surefire starter.
Coach Of The Year
This is probably the easiest award choice this season. Brad Stevens will run away with this award. The Celtics won't just be good, they'll be great, it's just a matter of how great and that will lie with Brad Stevens' coaching. The Celtics should be the best team in the East, if not the league, and if he can win 60 plus games, the award will have his name on it by the time playoffs start.
Most Improved Player
This year's MIP will be from LA. With LeBron on the team, he's going to make life much easier for everyone in the Lakers, but none more so than Brandon Ingram. Ingram should excel playing next to LeBron. He'll get a myriad of easy buckets and a lot of open threes because of the gravity LeBron creates. Ingram boosted his production about 7 points last season, and he should do at least that this season. If Ingram can average about 23 points this season, the Most Improved Award will be his to claim.
Defensive Player Of The Year
This will be the only award with a repeat winner this season. Rudy Gobert should walk away with his second DPOY this year. Last season Gobert only played 56 games, and he still won the award. This year with the Jazz a year better and Gobert fully healthy, he will be the defensive anchor of maybe the best defense in the league.
Most Valuable Player
The past few seasons we've seen all the superstars collect and cement their legacies with MVP awards. Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, and most recently have all added the MVP to their trophy case. Now this season, the award is coming back to the best player in the game. LeBron James will win his fifth NBA MVP award; the storyline is just too perfect. The greatest player in the game will begin his first season with the greatest franchise in the game. The Lakers have been one of the worst teams in the league the past five years, seeing a level of failure this franchise never saw before. Now the King comes to save them finally. If the Lakers can make the playoffs, LeBron should win the award. If the Lakers win 50 plus games, it will be a guarantee.
1. Boston Celtics 61-21
2. Toronto Raptors 59-23
3. Philadelphia 76ers 55-27
4. Milwaukee Bucks 48-34
5. Indiana Pacers 46-36
6. Washington Wizards 44-38
7. Miami Heat 43-39
8. Cleveland Cavaliers 41-41
Eastern Conference Finals
Toronto Raptors vs. Boston Celtics
For the first time in eight years, the Eastern Conference Finals will be LeBron-less. These are by far the best two teams in the East. The Celtics made it to the East Finals without their two best players last season and fully healthy, they should make it back. The Raptors were the best team in the East last season and swapped their best player for a top-five player in Kawhi. The difference in this series will be Kawhi. If he can contain Irving and or Tatum, the Raptors could win this series. I just don't think it'll happen. The Celtics are too deep and too well coached for them to let Kawhi takeover the series, not to mention they have the second, third and maybe fourth best players in this series. It will be a competitive series, but the clutchness of Irving will seal this series.
Celtics in 6
1) Golden State Warriors 70-12
2) Houston Rockets 58-24
3) Los Angeles Lakers 54-28
4) Utah Jazz 50-32
5) Oklahoma City Thunder 50-32
6) Portland Trailblazers 49-33
7) Denver Nuggets 48-34
8) New Orleans Pelicans 45-37
Western Conference Finals
Los Angeles Lakers vs Golden State Warriors
There doesn't have to be much said about the Warriors here, we all know they will reach the West Finals. But the Lakers? Over Houston who pushed the Warriors to seven? Yes. The Lakers will beat Houston on their way to Golden State. Houston is not as good as they were last season, plus Chris Paul being a year older and James Harden's tendency to choke in the playoffs, it's an easy choice. But sadly, this is where the Lakers magical run will end. For them to beat the Warriors, Ingram will need to be a star, and I don't know how possible that will be with either Klay Thompson or KD guarding him. LeBron will be LeBron, but this series will provide flashbacks of Cleveland.
Warriors in 6
Boston Celtics vs Golden State Warriors
Yes, this is the season LeBron's final streak comes to an end, and Boston's begins. The Warriors will be putting their 3peat on the line against the young, but battle-tested Celtics. This is the Finals everybody believes we'll see, but I don't think it'll play out the way most people think. It's going to get ugly, maybe Cavalier ugly. Kyrie will give the Warriors all they can handle, expect a series of the ages from him. But that will be the only bright spot for the Celtics. We don't know if Hayward will be back to form for this series, and I believe the moment will be too big for Tatum and Brown. Not to mention KD will be going all out for his third straight Finals MVP and Steph Curry will be gunning for his first. It will be too much for the Celtics.
Warriors in 5
Finals MVP: Kevin Durant
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