If the 2019 – 2020 NBA season, which begins play on October 24, is anything like last season, fans across the world are in for a fantastic season. After three NBA titles in the previous four seasons, the Golden State Warriors made their fifth consecutive NBA Finals. Something felt different about the team, failing to win 60 games for the second straight season and posting their worst record since 2013-2014. Riding the hot hand of Kawhi Leonard, who arguably had the best playoff performances in recent memory, the Toronto Raptors took down the Warriors for their first title in franchise history.
After an off season of free agency signings and wheeling and dealing across the league, how does the 2019-2020 season shape up? Who are the main threats to take home the title?
The Raptors appear to be a once and done deal
Leonard signed with the Clippers and Toronto’s projected starting unit of Kyle Lowry, Norman Powell, OG Anunoby, Pascal Siakam
With the decline of the Raptors, does this make the Bucks the team to beat? Clearly they are in the mix with an additional year of experience under the belt for Giannis Antetokounmpo. All-Star Khris Middleton and Brook Lopez resigned with the team, however the Bucks lost a key component in Malcolm Brogdon to divisional rivals, the Indiana Pacers.
Perhaps the team to beat will be the Philadelphia 76ers, despite losing Jimmy Butler to the Heat and JJ Redick to New Orleans in free agency. The addition of veteran Al Horford from divisional rival Boston provides experience at power forward and backup to Joel Embiid, who reportedly is getting into the best shape of his career this off season. The work of Ben Simmons and resigning Tobias Harris makes the 76ers a scary team who could come out of the Eastern Conference.
Boston could be in the mix having added All-Star Kemba Walker, but also have lost key players this off season in Horford and Kyrie Irving. The Nets are a team on the rise, but lost D’Angelo Russell to the Warriors. The additions of Kevin Durant and Irving were expected to pay immediate dividends, however Durant will miss likely miss the season due to the torn Achilles tendon suffered in the NBA Finals.
Golden State’s run in the Western Conference could be over
They are a year older and lost Durant and DeMarcus Cousins via free agency. Although Klay Thompson was resigned and D’Angelo Russell was added, other teams in the conference, particularly in Los Angeles, have closed the ground and in fact have passed the Warriors as favorites, according to several oddsmakers.
The Lakers have added Danny Green and Anthony Davis to a starting lineup that includes LeBron James, Kyle Kuzma and Dwight Howard. The DeMarcus Cousins knee injury hurts the unit, but with veterans Rajon Rondo and Avery Bradley in the mix, the Lakers could return to prominence.
The potential impact of Leonard and Paul George fo the Clippers could make an already solid Clippers team to the best in the conference. In fact, they have been the early odds on favorites to win the NBA Finals this coming season.
Also worth watching is James Harden and the Rockets
One of the most entertaining offensive players
As with any season comes the unexpected twists and turns, injuries, rookies who come to the forefront and players having off seasons. The NBA season will be a six-month marathon and the champion will be anyone’s guess with several teams in the hunt. Soon time to buckle up and get ready for the games to begin!