The 2019-2020 NBA season is going to be one for the ages.
Following an offseason filled with the most player movement the NBA has ever seen in such a short span of time, this is expected to be one of the most exciting seasons in league history.
For the first time in what feels like forever, there can be a legitimate argument made for up to 8-10 teams to win it all.
All 30 teams this season are going to be fun to watch. However, not everyone out there has the time, or will, to watch every team play like some of us super fans do.
So for all of you casual fans out there, or just anyone looking to tune in to some unbelievably fun-to-watch basketball, here are the top 5 MUST-WATCH teams for the 2019-2020 NBA season.
5) Golden State Warriors
If not for the bombshell just recently dropped in Houston involving one Russell Westbrook, the newly-formed pairing of Stephen Curry and D’Angelo Russell would be the most exciting backcourt in the league this season.
This will be the first year since 2015 where the Warriors aren’t the clear favorites to win it all, and as weird as this feels to say, Golden State will go into this season as huge under-dogs in a loaded Western Conference. Coming off of a finals loss to Toronto, the departure of Kevin Durant to Brooklyn, and an ACL tear to their now-second best player in Klay Thompson, the Golden State Warriors have A LOT to prove from top to bottom.
Steph Curry should be expected to have yet-another MVP level season, similar to if not even greater than what we saw from him before Kevin Durant’s arrival. After being looked at as the second best player on the Warriors for the past 3 years, Curry is now seemingly more-than-ready to show the world once again why he is universally recognized as one of the leagues best players and one of the greatest point guards of all time. It’s not long ago that this guy could be seen averaging over 30 points per game and winning the only unanimous NBA MVP of all-time.
D’Angelo Russell may just have the biggest chip on his shoulders of anyone in the league. After an awful start to his career with the Lakers, which ended in him being shipped to Brooklyn for essentially Lonzo Ball, “D-Lo” exceeded expectations in his new city. He led the Nets, whom which nobody expected to do anything significant, to a playoff appearance and tough-fought series against Philadelphia this past season. Then, after essentially singlehandedly reviving the Brooklyn Nets franchise, they replaced him with Kyrie Irving without a second thought. Now, he sits in Golden State as the “consolation prize” for losing out on Kevin Durant, ready to prove to not just the Lakers and Nets, but to anyone and everyone that has ever doubted him, that he is one of the leagues top guards.
Draymond Green is entering this season on the last year of his current deal with the Warriors, which means he is fighting for what could be a difference of up to $80 million on his next contract, depending on his performance this year. For what is already one of the most passionate and aggressive guys in the league, adding the pressure of a new contract is sure to make this season one to keep an eye on Green. With the increased workload he will be asked to handle after the losses of Durant and Klay Thompson for the season, added to the pressure of a new contract, added to the fact that the team around him is worse defensively than ever before, there is going to be one heck of a burden on former Defensive Player of the Year Draymond Green. Expect to see him have one of the best, if not the best, seasons of his career. One of the most aggressive and passionate guys in the league over the past half-decade is going to be more aggressive and passionate than ever this year, with the weight of the world on his shoulders.
The Golden State Warriors will walk into their brand new, $1.4 billion arena opening night with a team full of guys with stuff to prove, and for the first time in what feels like forever, Golden State itself will have something to prove. The trio of Curry, D-Lo and Draymond Green will make the Warriors one of the most entertaining teams to watch this season. While most of the world may be counting them out of the championship conversation, they see themselves in the same position they have been in every year since 2015: as a team more than capable of being the NBA champions.
4) Los Angeles Clippers
Anytime you assemble a team consisting of the reigning finals MVP, a top 3 league MVP candidate, the reigning Sixth Man of the Year, and a top 3 Sixth Man of the Year candidate, you can guarantee an incredible show. That is exactly what the Los Angeles Clippers have done this offseason with the acquisitions of both Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, adding them to their very own Lou Williams and Montrezl Harrell.
The Clippers will be such a fun team to watch this season for 2 main reasons, among many.
Firstly, because they will simply be great. The Los Angeles Clippers will inevitably be one of the best teams in the league; they have too many good players with such a small amount of ego to not be. If there are any two words to describe this years Clippers squad, those words are: talented and egoless. It is universally recognized that Kawhi and Paul George and among the leagues most talented players. It is also known that Lou Williams and Montrezl Harrell give this team a better bench and better depth than just about any team they will play. Finally, ask anyone who has ever been around or played with any of these guys, and they will tell you the same thing: these are some of the most humble and egoless guys you will ever meet. If there really is a distinct recipe for success, this is it: a deep group of talented, egoless guys who play both ends of the floor as well as anyone.
Secondly, because they are new. New is fun; seeing things for the first time is exciting, and the Los Angeles Clippers have now put together two of the leagues top 12 guys for the first time in a completely new domain for both of them. Kawhi Leonard and Paul George are both from the Southern California area, and now for the first time in their NBA careers, they will both return to where it all started for them, as teammates ready to go to war.
The only reason this LA team is not higher on this list is because of the lack of risk, the lack of mystery with this team. We know this team will be very good. We know their stars will work well with one another based on their individual history and personalities. We know Doc Rivers will do a great job at the helm of everything. Every team above the Clippers on this list have some uncertainties: will the stars work well together? How will this team fit? Will so and so have a good year? Questions like these provide some of the entertainment when watching a team. Questions like these make the 82-game long season one full of excitement from start to end.
So, yes, we know what to expect from the Clippers this year; we know we can expect a great group of talent to have a great season. However, we also know this: they will be one of the most fun teams in the league with their brand new star-powered roster. They will have arguably both the best duo and best depth in the association. They will also be a part of the biggest rivalry in basketball, the Clippers-Lakers battle for LA. Anytime the Los Angeles Clippers play this season, it will be must-watch television.
3) New Orleans Pelicans
Two words: Zion Williamson.
Okay, there is much more to look forward to with this Pelicans team than just Zion Williamson, but come on. This guys alone makes New Orleans one of the most exciting up-and-coming teams in the league. Standing at the size of Charles Barkley with the jumping ability of Domonique Wilkins, Williamson is the most electrifying rookie we have seen since LeBron James. Add to him a young group of guys with as much to prove as anyone in Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram and Josh Hart, and you have put together the most intriguing young core in the association.
Not to mention they will all be joining all-star caliber guard Jrue Holiday, who put up a career-high in both points and rebounds this past season, while also tying his career high in both blocks and steals.
Finally, bringing this team full circle, are the Pelicans incredible 2019 draftees. Both their number 8 pick Jaxson Hayes and number 17 pick Nickeil Alexander-Walker have quickly become summer-league standouts.
Jaxson Hayes, the 6’11” center from Texas, has already proven to be one of the best big men from the 2019 draft, taking the summer-league by storm. Hayes’ extraordinary ability to block shots, catch lobs and leap out of the gym was a skillset proven to be quite unique in comparison to his fellow rookie-class. He was awarded NBA Summer League Second Team honors.
Alexander-Walker may have had an even greater summer league performance than Hayes. A stat line of 24.3 ppg, 6.0 apg and 2.8 spg was enough to earn him NBA Summer League First Team honors. He has quickly shown that he deserves to be looked at as one of the top rookie guards, with his strong and advanced skillset both offensively and defensively being clearly displayed over these past few weeks.
In addition to Jrue Holiday, the Pelicans new young core of Zion Williamson, Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart, Jaxson Hayes and Nickeil Alexander-Walker make for one of the most exciting rosters in the NBA.
This team is full of question marks. They could realistically win anywhere between 25 and 45 games. Nobody truly knows exactly how good this team will be, or how well they will work together…
and that may just be the most exciting part of it all.
2) Houston Rockets
Over the last 3 seasons, with Mike D’Antoni as head coach, the Houston Rockets have been one of the best regular season teams in the association. Since the 2016-17 season, they have finished with 55, 65, and 53 wins. However, every year seems to be the same story for Houston: have a spectacular regular season, rack up tons of wins, win a series or two in the postseason, and then lose to Golden State. This has been the story for the Rockets every one of the past 3 years. However, two things are different now… two major things.
Golden State is not what they have been in the past. Every year Houston has fallen at the knees of the almighty Warriors, it has been to the hands of Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, and Kevin Durant. Now, with Durant gone and Klay out for what will be almost the entire season, the only team who has been capable of taking out the Houston Rockets is essentially a thing of the past. Now, don’t get it twisted; Golden State will be a formidable team this year, and is on this list for a reason, but they will no longer be the pure powerhouse that has ended Houston’s season each of the past 3 years.
The other major difference now is… oh, what was it… oh yeah,
that Russell Westbrook guy.
You know, the 8x all-star and 2017 NBA MVP who is one of only two players to ever average a triple-double over an entire season, accomplishing that incredible feat for what has now been 3 years in a row.
Yeah, that guy.
Houston has somehow found a way to replace Chris Paul, their injury prone, aging 34 year-old point guard with Russell Westbrook who, by the way, has played in 314 of a possible 328 games over the past 4 seasons.
While the dynamic duo of James Harden and Russell Westbrook may or may not be the best duo in the league this season, they are undoubtedly the most intriguing.
Things could go perfectly for this Rockets team, who outside of the Russell Westbrook addition is running it back with the same group as years past. Or, things could go horribly wrong and we could see one of the worst internal struggles a team has faced in recent NBA history.
Either way, whether we see a championship brought home to the city of Houston at the seasons end, or a storm of head-butting personalities and egos all season long, the Houston Rockets will be a show you simply can not miss.
This is going to be fun…
1) Los Angeles Lakers
The Los Angeles Lakers are back!
Is it too soon to say that? Probably, yeah.
But who cares?!
Anthony Davis, DeMarcus Cousins and Danny Green will be joining LeBron James and Kyle Kuzma on a Lakers team in desperate need of a successful season. After the absolute train wreck that was LeBron James’ first year in LA, they have completely revamped and reworked the roster. The Lakers are bringing in a new group of guys consisting of 10 All-Star appearances, 5 All-NBA selections and 4 All-Defense selections between Davis, Cousins and Green.
Now, the Lakers look like a team more than capable of winning a championship, with a roster full of guys with everything to prove:
Anthony Davis is ready to prove that he is worth every bit of what was given up for him, which many believe was way too much for what any single player is worth.
Kyle Kuzma is ready to show the world exactly why the Lakers were so reluctant to give him up in the Anthony Davis trade, leaving him as just about the only asset not shipped off to New Orleans.
Demarcus Cousins is prepared to finally earn himself the huge contract he has been coveting since before his 2017 Achilles tear, and prove to everyone that he is still every bit of the All-NBA center he once was.
And finally, LeBron James: LeBron is chasing the ghost that is the great Michael Jordan, and while a small number of people may already see him as the “G.O.A.T,” the fact of the matter is that he will never be universally recognized as the Greatest Of All Time with only 3 rings. Now if LeBron were to bring a championship or two to the city of LA, to a Lakers squad that hasn’t seen a playoff appearance since the Kobe days… now that would be something worth while. That may just make his case as the greatest to ever play the game.
The Lakers are new. The Lakers will be good. The Lakers have as much star-power as anyone in the league. The Lakers are full of guys with EVERYTHING to prove from top to bottom. The Lakers are full of question marks and mystery.
The Los Angeles Lakers have everything and anything anyone could imagine a captivating and electrifying team would have. If this LA team is playing and you aren’t tuning in, you’re missing out on what may not just be the most MUST-WATCH team in the NBA today, but the most MUST-WATCH team in recent NBA history.
You DO NOT want to miss this.
– By Zack Weiss