NBA Season Gets Underway
By Colin Lawless, Staff Writer
As October turns into November and the weather gets even colder, the NBA season tips off. While always an exciting time, this 2019-20 season is being looked at a little bit differently than the last few. This is due to the vast amount of changes that have taken place in the Western Conference.
Aside from the end of the Warriors’ championship dynasty with the Toronto Raptors winning their first title this past June, several teams have made moves to try and take the Dubs’ spot at the top.
The East also looks a little bit different, especially in Brooklyn. Manhattan’s younger brother has made a few moves that will likely take the spotlight from the Garden for the next few years.
The West is always strong, but it hasn’t had depth like this for the last decade or so. The Lakers and Clippers both were very busy in the offseason as they looked to become the new gold standard in the West.
The Lakers’ big move was acquiring Anthony Davis in a trade with New Orleans to help Lebron in his quest to bring a title to LA. They made several other smart moves by bringing in seasoned veterans like Danny Green and Avery Bradley, and even decided to give Dwight Howard a second try in the purple and gold.
The Clippers took an already promising young team and added two of the best players in the league during the 2018/19 season. The acquisition of Kawhi Leonard and Paul George will surely help a gritty core made up by the likes of Pat Beverly and Montrezl Harrell.
These two teams have all it takes to be at the top, and it’ll be interesting to see where they fall. The West’s depth doesn’t stop there however.
The Nuggets, Trail Blazers, Rockets, Jazz, and Mavericks, among others, are all viable teams that have made solid offseason moves and will certainly be in the fold to compete with the best.
The East, while not normally being particularly strong, saw its fair share of moves throughout the offseason. The biggest one is certainly the Brooklyn Nets’ acquisition of both Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. While they’ll be without Durant for the 2019/20 season due to his achilles injury suffered in the 2019 Finals, they are essentially a lock for a deep playoff run with Uncle Drew and KD, even if he comes back as even half the player he was before.
In the meantime, it’ll likely be a battle between Philadelphia and Milwaukee at the top. The Giannis’ led Bucks will almost certainly look to pick up where they left off last year after narrowly missing the Finals.
The 76ers will likely be right there with them. The loss of Jimmy Butler will likely be felt, but the acquisition of Al Horford along with an extension for Tobias Harris will help Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons keep Philly among the top teams in the East.
Below these two, the defending champion Raptors will look to prove themselves after the loss of Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard, and the many other young teams will look to see what works for them as they begin to build their own dynasties.
The Heat, Celtics, and Pacers are all solid young teams with potential that could see them challenge those at the top in the years to come. With all this new uncertainty in a league that has been filled with certainty for the last few years, one thing is for sure: NBA basketball is back, and it’s just as exciting as it’s ever been.