The 2018-19 season is setting up to one of the most intriguing in recent memory. An eventful offseason has shaken the league up. New faces in new places across the league. The 2018 NBA Draft has brought a lot of young talent into the league. It’s an exciting time for the NBA as we enter the 2018-19 season. Here are the major storylines:
It’s just about guaranteed we won’t see the Golden State Warriors against the Cleveland Cavaliers as LeBron has left for LA. Now that he’s a Laker, the biggest question of the season is how big of a jump will the Lakers make?
We all expect the Lakers to be a playoff team this year but how far of a leap do they make up the standings? Do they just slide in to one of the final spots or can they be NBA Finals contenders?
The Lakers look to be an uptempo team this season and will certainly have league’s attention nightly. Thankfully with LeBron there, the Lavar Ball saga seems to have ended.
Who’s the New Beast of the East
After Lebron’s run of seven straight Eastern Conference Championships, who will represent the East in the NBA Finals? With Kawhi Leonard in Toronto and the Celtics with one of the league’s most talented roster, the race to replace LeBron as the Eastern Conference rep in the NBA Finals is on now.
The Most Intriguing Teams
Who’s going to make a move forward or backward this season? Here are the four teams to watch this season.
- Milwaukee Bucks – A new style of play will help the Greek Freak become an elite player in this league. The increased pace will showcase this teams’ wings and they’ll jump up to the third best team in the East and might even challenge the Raptors for the second spot in the East.
- Memphis Grizzlies – The Grizzlies were dismal last year but with Mike Conley and Marc Gasol returning, they should show a huge improvement. The big question is will they try to build with those two or trade them away?
- Portland Trail Blazers – This isn’t just about how the Pelicans trounced them in the playoffs. Portland surprised last year finishing as the third best team in the West. Some uncertainty if Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum will finish the season in Portland. That makes them a borderline playoff team.
- Oklahoma City Thunder – With Russell Westbrook still not 100%, the Thunder could drop from the 4th spot they finished in last season out West. The West will be more competitive than last season and if Russ is not at full strength that could have them drop a few games they’d won last season.
The MVP race is wide open. These are my top 3 candidates:
- Kawhi Leonard (Toronto Raptors) – After a controversial ending to his time in San Antonio, Kawhi has a lot to play for this season. Plus he’s a free agent at the end of the year so I expect a huge season from Kawhi and the Raptors will battle the Celtics for the top spot in the East.
- Giannis Antetokounmpo (Milwaukee Bucks) – The Bucks will play a faster tempo this year and that’s going to make for a lot of opportunities for the Greek Freak to dominate. This guy is terrifying on a fast break. He can lead the break and drop a pass for an easy bucket or come flying in off the wing for a spectacular finish. He’s going to take another big step forward this season.
- LeBron James (Los Angeles Lakers) – LeBron is a MVP candidate every season. We know what we’re going to get from him. This comes down to how the Lakers do as a team. If they’re a top 4 team in the Western Conference, LeBron could collect another MVP award.
This past draft was one that the league had been waiting on for a few years. It was loaded with talent. Who will make an impact right away? Not a bad time of year to look back at our 2018 NBA Draft Big Board.
- Luka Doncic (Dallas Mavericks) – the most NBA ready for the rookies. He’s going to make the Mavs better right away and will blossom under Rick Carlisle.
- Collin Sexton (Cleveland Cavs) – All eyes are on Sexton as he will have to help the Cavs rebuild from LeBron’s second exodus. He’s got a game that’ll translate well to the NBA.
- DeAndre Ayton (Phoenix Suns) – While he was the top pick, with Devin Booker on the roster, he has a star to play in the shadow of until he’s ready to step out on his own.
- Trae Young (Atlanta Hawks) – Had an incredible college season. He’s playing for a bad team and was considered the most boom or bust prospect in the draft. He’s worth watching.
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We’ve analyzed every NBA team and ranked them in order for the start of the 2018-19 NBA season. Get our data driven preseason NBA power rankings below.
Preseason 2018- 19 NBA Power Rankings:
|2||Golden State Warriors|
|7||Oklahoma City Thunder|
|8||Los Angeles Lakers|
|11||Portland Trail Blazers|
|12||New Orleans Pelicans|
|14||San Antonio Spurs|
|20||Los Angeles Clippers|
|23||New York Knicks|
2018-19 NBA Predicted Records
Predicting the NBA win totals for every team. The Western Conference will be tougher than ever leading to the NBA Finals potentially going through the Eastern Conference Champion’s arena.
|New York Knicks||31||51|
|Oklahoma City Thunder||49||33|
|Portland Trail Blazers||44||38|
|Golden State Warriors||57||25|
|Los Angeles Lakers||52||30|
|Los Angeles Clippers||38||44|
|New Orleans Pelicans||45||37|
|San Antonio Spurs||42||40|
2019 NBA Finals Prediction
Golden State Warriors over Boston Celtics in 6 games
Check back daily to get our NBA predictions from the 2018-19 opening night through the NBA Finals.