2018-19 NBA Season Preview

Charlie Bonney, Sports Editor

This past NBA offseason has produced a huge amount of drama—drama that NBA fans have enjoyed thoroughly—and foreshadows another excellent season. From the move of the league’s biggest star, LeBron James, to a series of dramatic trades, as well as one of the most hyped draft classes in recent years, this offseason promises a memorable regular season.

The offseason began with a second consecutive NBA championship won by the Golden State Warriors in a lopsided matchup against the Cavaliers, led by LeBron James, ending in a 4-0 victory by the Warriors. This resounding victory from the Warriors set up yet another exciting NBA summer, beginning with the draft.

The 2018 NBA draft was anticipated as a historic draft class, even LeBron himself said it was the best since his class of ‘03. The class was headlined by DeAndre Ayton, Marvin Bagley III, and Luka Doncic, the top three picks. All three had stellar performances in the NBA Summer League, as well as in preseason action. These three players, along with their fellow rookies, are set to make a big impact this season, but no move throughout the offseason will have an effect like that of LeBron James.

Basketball icon and one of the greatest basketball players of all-time, LeBron James, signed with the Los Angeles Lakers this offseason. After LA missed out on other big-name signings, LeBron will now have to lead a Lakers team surrounded by a young core. As the season tips off, basketball fans are fascinated by how the Lakers and the new-look LeBron will perform.

LeBron’s move marked the end of his reign over the Eastern Conference. James, previously of the Miami Heat and Cleveland Cavaliers, has led his team to the Eastern Conference for the past eight years. The Boston Celtics, the last team to win an Eastern Conference title before James, will attempt to regain their position atop the East, following a tough loss to Lebron’s Cavs last season in the playoffs. The Celtics’ injury-plagued season last year benched two of the team’s stars, Kyrie Irving and Gordon Irving, but the injuries also provided a stage for rookie Jayson Tatum and second-year player Jaylen Brown to shine.

Another team that has a chance to emerge victorious in the Eastern Conference is the Toronto Raptors, who had a very turbulent offseason. The first controversial move that the team made was firing Dwane Casey, the team’s coach of seven years. Yet, despite being fired, Casey still won the Coach of the Year. The next move made by the Raptors that rocked the NBA was trading all-star and Toronto fan favorite, DeMar DeRozan, for former MVP candidate Kawhi Leonard. Leonard, with one year remaining on his contract, will be a crucial piece in the Raptors’ title run this year as they look to defeat Eastern Conference foes such as the Celtics, the Philadelphia 76ers, and the Milwaukee Bucks.

The Western Conference remains strong, as the Golden State Warriors yet again look to be the best team in the league. The Warriors’ addition of all-star DeMarcus Cousins adds even more depth to their already loaded roster. The Warriors will be tested by the likes of the Houston Rockets, who fell to the Warriors in Game 7 of the Western Conference last year. The Utah Jazz, Oklahoma City Thunder, and Lakers will also be teams to beat in the West next year.

Excitement is continuing to build for the NBA season which will begin on Tuesday, October 16th with two important matchups: Celtics vs. 76ers and Warriors vs. Thunder. These games will likely provide a great start to another season of basketball.