Forecasting the 2018-19 NBA Season
Huge changes were afoot during the recent NBA offseason. With training camps open, it’s time to have a look some of the boldest and biggest happenings last summer.
It seems like only yesterday when the Warriors dusted off the Cavaliers for their third title in four years, but the start of the 2018-19 season really is just around the corner. The confusion probably comes from all the offseason excitement the league gave us this year.
With all the player movement and drama we saw, it’s almost like last season never ended. The news cycle was filled so often with splashy signings, conflict, and sweeping changes that it served to obscure the NBA’s upcoming season.
And that’s what we’re here to sort out as part of our 2018-19 NBA preview. Looking back on all the drama that unfolded last summer will give us a great way to frame what promises to be a great season. Not surprisingly, the drama this NBA offseason centered on LeBron James.
Without a doubt, the Lakers’ acquisition of James was the biggest change we saw during the offseason. How could it not be the biggest? No matter how much the NBA might be shaken up during a given summer, the movements of the best player in the world are bound to be at the center of things.
But this doesn’t mean there isn’t a whole lot more to talk about. James’ move to the Lakers definitely changed the NBA landscape, but this offseason’s story doesn’t stop there. Let’s have a look at three more of its most tantalizing moments.
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1. DeMarcus Cousins Signs With The Warriors
It was a case of the rich getting richer (and bigger) when the Warriors nabbed All-Star DeMarcus Cousins in July. ‘Boogie’ has been one of the best big men in the league for several years, with career averages of 21 points and 11 rebounds a game. And his numbers have been off the charts the past few seasons.
The Warriors already seemed unbeatable. But if Cousins can return to even half strength from the torn Achilles he suffered last year, another Warriors title will be that much more likely.
2. The New Balance of Power in the East
James’ departure from Cleveland sent ripples through the entire league. Most notably, it completely transformed the pecking order in the Eastern Conference. While the Cavs had enjoyed a veritable chokehold over the East since James’ arrival, his departure promises to have an equally powerful impact in the opposite direction.
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At least three teams will be vying to fill the void left by James’ flight to Laker Land. With the imminent return of injured stars Gordon Hayward and Kyrie Irving, the Boston Celtics are the consensus favorite to represent the Eastern Conference in next year’s NBA Finals.
But you can bet that Celtics coach Brad Stevens won’t overlook the challenges posed by the Toronto Raptors and the Philadelphia 76ers. The Raptors made a defining move all by themselves when they acquired Kawhi Leonard from the Spurs, but things get really interesting when you add the possible improvements by the 76ers. Either the Cavs or the Miami Heat have bulldozed their way into the finals for the past eight years. Look for that end this year.