While we are still engulfed in the middle of football, the NBA has finally returned after a wild ending to the NBA Finals and an even crazier offseason. It’s an exciting time around the league as we know it with a lot of new faces in new places.
To start off, the NBA season ended with a major injury to superstar Kevin Durant. With that happening, the Toronto Raptors walked their way to an NBA Championship upset win over the Golden State Warriors. The craziness of the NBA playoffs was clearly not enough fireworks for the league.
Leading off the craziness was probably one of the biggest free agent signings of the offseason with Kevin Durant AND Kyrie Irving both signing 4 year deals with my Brooklyn Nets, yes that is my team and I have been a fan of them since I was born. If that wasn’t enough already, the LA Lakers finally hauled in Anthony Davis for basically their entire roster while the other LA team in the clippers one upped them bringing in Paul George and Kawhi Leonard.
Kemba Walker ended up in Boston, Jimmy Butler flew down to south beach and Russell Westbrook somehow ended up on the Houston Rockets with James Harden. This crazy list could go on and on, but these were some of the headliners of the NBA offseason.
The league finally seems to be in a good spot as the balance of power has really leveled out across the NBA. For this season, it finally seems like the Warriors may not win it all with Klay Thompson being out for the entire year with an ACL injury. Personally, I feel like this free agency is one of the biggest ones that the league has seen in its entirety. The power shift across the league is tremendous as there are finally a good amount of teams that have a good shot at contending for a title which I will get into below.
There are at least 9 teams that I could envision as legitimate contenders for an NBA finals appearance this year. To list them out, here you go:
- Brooklyn Nets
- Boston Celtics
- Milwaukee Bucks
- Philadelphia 76ers
- Los Angeles Lakers
- Los Angeles Clippers
- Denver Nuggets
- Houston Rockets
- Golden State Warriors
My list is powered off of how the these teams performed last year and the free agent accusations that they have pulled off over the offseason. Although the Warriors lost Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson, D’Angelo Russell isn’t a bad replacement. Remember, the team that the Warriors had before Kevin Durant is still there for the most part.
The Denver Nuggets and the Milwaukee Bucks were the only teams to not make a real big splash in free agency. Both teams are solid and proved it as being in the top 5 in standings last year. The rest f the teams picked up some sort of high level free agent which makes their teams better and serious contenders in my eyes.
There are definitely some teams that I could see as sleepers to sneaking into the playoffs this year or even having an improvement of a year.
- Atlanta Hawks
- New Orleans Pelicans
- Dallas Mavericks
- Detroit Pistons
The top three teams in the Hawks, Pelicans, and Mavericks all have really good young cores to the teams which will help as these players develop as the league advances. Although the Pelicans will be without Zion for a few months, they still have a strong young core that the Lakers traded away. The Mavericks is my most interesting pick as I am very excited to see how a healthy Kristaps Porzingis and Luka Doncic play together in this league.
Keep an eye out for these four teams. I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw a sneaky 7/8 seed in them.
Although I would love to say that my Brooklyn Nets will be in the NBA Finals this year, it probably won’t happen. Now if Kevin Durant somehow came back by playoff time and was back to himself, then this prediction would change.
Here’s my prediction. The Milwaukee Bucks will be coming out of the east after a heartbreaking end to their season last year while the new power house in the Clippers will come out of the East.
Although I am a huge Giannis fan, the Clippers will pull away with the NBA championship in 2020. Kawhi was unstoppable in last years playoffs and now he gets to play alongside Paul George and a young Clippers team who gave the Warriors a run for the their money in the playoffs last year.
Clippers beat the Bucks in a 6 game series.