The 2018-2019 season of the National Basketball Association (NBA) opens on October 16 with the defending champions Golden State Warriors taking on the Oklahoma Thunder. The other opening game pits the Philadelphia 76ers against a healthy Boston Celtics lineup.
There was a lot of drama that unfolded during the NBA offseason. Lebron James moved to LA; Kahwi Leonard was traded to Toronto; Manu Ginobili retired; and Jimmy Butler demanded a trade. The balance of power has shifted yet again, and teams have different players who just might carry them all the way to the NBA Finals. Which teams are we most excited to see this October?
The Toronto Raptors
There are now reports of a smiling Kahwi Leonard displaying MVP form. When Lebron James decided to join the Los Angeles Lakers, most people said that the Eastern Conference just got so much weaker and less interesting. But then the Leonard trade ended months of speculation. In past seasons, Toronto was a team that just could not make it past the second round. But the Raptors have Kahwi now, and that makes all the difference.
The Boston Celtics
Gordon Hayward is returning from injury and playing alongside a healthy Kyrie Irving and the rest of the starting lineup composed of Jaylen Brown, Jason Tatum, and Al Horford; the Celtics never had it so good. Much of the bench that carried them to a Game 7 in the Eastern Conference Finals remains intact, and their closest obstacle to the Finals should be the Leonard-led Raptors, or the Philadelphia 76ers.
The Dallas Mavericks
You can say that for most of Dallas’ competitive era, Dirk Nowitzki was the face of the franchise. Dallas dealt picks to the Atlanta Hawks to move up in the draft order to sign up another European player. Luka Doncic can shoot the three like Nowitzki, who has said that the rookie was so much better than him at the age of 19.
The Los Angeles Lakers
There are so many new pieces in this team hoping to reassert its domination in the league. Lebron James signed a 4-year contract, with the final year as a player option. How many years before they win a championship? Your guess is as good as mine.
The Utah Jazz
This is a team that always plays intelligent basketball. The Jazz has become more interesting with the newly improved Ricky Rubio, sophomore Donovan Mitchell, and Defensive Player of the Year Awardee Rudy Gobert.
Featured image from the official Instagram account of NBA.