The 2019-2020 NBA season is approaching and it is expected to be a season to remember. Many teams have gotten better during the offseason, and there are several teams that have the potential to be contenders. Here is a look at some teams that you should watch for this season.
Last season, the Toronto Raptors defeated the Golden State Warriors to win the NBA championship. The team has lost key players, such as Kawhi Leonard, who signed with the Los Angeles Clippers and Danny Green, who signed with the Los Angeles Lakers. Both players were pivotal to their success last season and although it will be hard to replace them, the team still has the potential to compete this season. The roster has a solid foundation of players and will look for veterans such as Kyle Lowry, Mark Gasol and Serge Ibaka to lead the team back to their winning ways.
The Los Angeles Clippers improved their roster during the offseason, adding star players such as Leonard and Paul George to go alongside a group that includes Patrick Beverly, Landry Shamet and Lou Williams. The Clippers sneaked into the playoffs last year as an eighth seed and managed to put up a good fight against the Golden State Warriors. They are now loaded with talent on both ends of the floor, and will look to win their first championship in team history.
The Warriors have had an interesting offseason that included the addition of guard D’Angelo Russell, and the loss of star forward Kevin Durant, who signed with the Brooklyn Nets. They have been labeled as a “modern day dynasty” due to their success in recent years. They have made five straight NBA Finals appearances, and have won three of them with players such as Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and Durant leading the way. Expectations are high once again for the Warriors this season as they will look to avenge last season’s Finals loss at the hands of the Raptors.
The Philadelphia 76ers have made the playoffs in each of the last two seasons. While the team lost key players such as Jimmy Butler and JJ Redick — they have no shortage of talent on their roster. The team has arguably the best starting five in the NBA: a group that consists of Ben Simmons, Josh Richardson, Tobias Harris, Al Horford and Joel Embiid. They have the potential to dominate on both ends of the court, as the team possesses a lot of size and athleticism and should be expected to make a deep postseason run.
The Los Angeles Lakers underwent a major overhaul this year, adding players such as Anthony Davis, Danny Green and Dwight Howard to support superstar Lebron James, while letting go of players such as Lonzo Ball, Josh Hart, Brandon Ingram and Reggie Bullock. The team disappointed last season, finishing 10 in the Western Conference with a record of 35 wins and 47 losses. Davis and James will form a dynamic duo that will be hard to stop, and will look to lead the Lakers back to the playoffs for the first time since 2013.
Both the Nets and the Rockets formed dynamic duos as well this past July. The Rockets paired former Oklahoma City Thunder teammates Russell Westbrook and James Harden together again, while the Nets signed both Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant. Harden and Westbrook previously led their team to the NBA Finals in 2012, but lost to the Miami Heat. The Rockets have been postseason contenders since Harden’s arrival in 2013, and will certainly have high expectations heading into the 2019-2020 NBA season. Durant is expected to miss most of the regular season with an Achilles injury, but once healthy, him and Irving should be a fun duo to watch, and will look to lead the Nets to their first championship in team history.
Each team heads into the season with the goal of winning a championship, but only one will finish the year at the top. Many teams have improved since last season, and it will be interesting to see if anyone can dethrone the Raptors and take the NBA crown this season.
Erick Klambara is a first-year student majoring in media and cultures. EK924666@wcupa.edu