National Basketball Association teams by conference to watch out for this season
Two summers ago, people talked about how the Golden State Warriors would destroy everyone else with their five all-stars lineup and ultimately win another National Basketball Association championship. However, the Warriors ended up saying goodbye to their three-peat and losing player Kevin Durant. With the fall of the king came one of the most chaotic summers in the past few years and now every team with any kind of asset wants to shuffle their cards and join the battleground. Here are some teams from each of the conferences that I will keep an eye on throughout the next NBA season.
East: Milwaukee Bucks/Philadelphia 76ers:
The reason I put these two teams together is because both of them experienced the critical transformation from quantitative growth to qualitative evolution. The “Greek Freak” and “Trust the Process” finally led their teams to becoming top tier competitors in the league. At the same time, they share a very similar team structure, with one insanely talented forward and a group of shooters. Both of them had some of the best team defense in the league. Now with the addition of Al Horford joining the 76ers, the two teams will have the top two rim protections in the league, in addition to two of the best rim attackers.
Of course, this does not mean that either of them have nothing to worry about. Facing the Toronto Raptors showed that doing well during regular season does not promise an easy playoff. Bucks Giannis Antetokounmpo and 76ers Joel Embiid need to surpass themselves to ensure that the same story will not happen again. If they can achieve that, without injuries or accidents, these two teams will be dominating the eastern conference for the next season.
East: Brooklyn Nets:
The Nets surprised just about everyone last season, thanks to the growth of D’Angelo Russell. However, the management decided not to stop there and pulled some surprising trades: Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant. However, the deal does look better on paper. Durant will not be able to play until 2020, and no one knows how long will it take for him to recover from his achilles injury. On the other hand, while no one questions Irving’s ability as a player, things did not go too well the last time he joined a team with a group of young players.
With that being said, the lineup of the Nets is more than decent. LeVert, Harris and Irving are all great shooters with the ability to shoot threes. DeAndre Jordan might not be who he was a few years ago, but he is still an excellent defender with good rebound records. One difficulty of this lineup would be time assignment. Until Durant comes back, putting all the shooters on the court will drag down the defense.
West: Los Angeles Clippers/Los Angeles Lakers:
There is no doubt that the Los Angeles Clippers had the most surprising trade of the summer. To be fair, they did pay a huge price to put together this lineup and had to send away two key members of the team. But adding Paul George and Kawhi Leonard to the roster, and already having a top sixth man and a top defensive player, makes the Clippers one of the most competitive teams in the league before the season even starts.
On the other hand, the Lebron-Davis union is equally impressive. In his entire career, Davis has been the only star of his team, which makes him the center of all the defensive effort from the opponent. Now, with Lebron on his side, his full potential may very well be released for the first time. His contract is also relatively cheaper, which is why the Lakers were able to sign Dwight Howard immediately after the unfortunate injury of Cousins.
In the end, the Lakers’ upcoming season is likely to be much better than last year, but the depth of its bench could be a problem when facing more competitive teams. The Clippers would be a tough team to play against for any other team as long as the starting lineups stay healthy, which is a reasonable concern considering both of the stars have histories of serious injuries.
These are the five teams that are likely to become major competitors in the next season. Many other teams were left out for different reasons. Look forward to more forecasts in the future.