Forecasts and Predictions for the Upcoming NBA Season
It’s nearly a consensus that NBA free agency has been crazy this summer. With a few major trades thrown in there, it’s been arguably the most intriguing summer the league has ever seen. The expectation is that such a wild offseason will lead to the 2019-20 NBA season being equally as fascinating. In other words, fans can’t wait to see the new NBA season start. But while we wait just a little bit longer, let’s make some predictions for how this highly-anticipated season might unfold.
Clippers as Best Team in Los Angeles
With Anthony Davis teaming up with LeBron James, the Lakers probably think they're the undisputed kings of L.A. – even despite not making the playoffs last season. In theory, the addition of Davis should be enough to push the Lakers into the playoffs. And yes, it already has fans rushing to get Lakers opening day tickets. But the Lakers were 11 games behind the Clippers and 11 games out of a playoff spot last season. They also gave up some nice players to acquire Davis. Meanwhile, the Clippers spent their offseason adding both Kawhi Leonard and Paul George to their roster. After the way Leonard carried the Raptors to the NBA championship, he and George might just be a more formidable duo than Davis and the aging James, making the Clippers the best team in Los Angeles. Time will tell.
76ers with the Best Regular Season Record
The 76ers are getting a lot of love from pundits this offseason and for good reason. They have two rising stars in Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid, and as long as they stay healthy, there’s not much that can prevent Philadelphia from being one of the top teams in the Eastern Conference. The Sixers also managed to retain Tobias Harris long-term and add Al Horford and Josh Richardson to the mix. When everyone is healthy, the 76ers should be the best defensive team in the NBA, which should help them gain ground on the Bucks and Raptors, giving Philadelphia the best regular-season record in the NBA this season. In fact, Philly sports fans are already lining up to get 76ers opening day tickets in anticipation of a big season ahead. However, even if the Sixers succeed during the regular season, a lack of outside shooting with J.J. Reddick no longer around could catch up with them in the playoffs.
Bucks Reach the NBA Finals
While the 76ers will be undone by a lack of shooting and the Raptors will take a step back without Leonard, the door is wide open for the Bucks to win the Eastern Conference and play in the NBA Finals in 2020. Milwaukee hasn’t been to the NBA Finals since 1974, but this could be their year. Remember – they were up 2-0 over Toronto in the Eastern Conference Finals last season. That experience should ultimately help them take another step forward this year. After all, Giannis Antetokounmpo is only going to get better, which makes him a big draw for those hoping to grab Bucks opening day tickets. The Greek Freak will also have his older brother in Milwaukee with him this season, which should make him more comfortable and confident. If he gets enough support, there’s no reason why the Bucks can’t be the team to come out of the East this season.
Golden State’s Reign in the Western Conference Ends
The Warriors have represented the Western Conference in the NBA Finals for five years running, winning three championships along the way. Unfortunately for Steph Curry and company, all signs point to that streak coming to an end. Kevin Durant left to go to Brooklyn and Klay Thompson is set to miss most of the season after tearing his ACL in the Finals. The Western Conference is loaded with good teams, and most of them got better over the summer. As magical as Curry can be at times, he doesn’t have enough support to keep Golden State at the top for another year. The Warriors will surely make the playoffs, but they faltered in the Finals without Durant and Thompson, and they'll likely meet a similar fate in the 2020 NBA Playoffs.
R.J. Barrett Outscores Zion Williamson
Williamson was the top overall pick in the NBA Draft, and he has the potential to be a generation talent. But that doesn’t mean he'll have instant success in the NBA. He may not be able to overpower the competition the way he did in college and he isn’t yet a strong outside shooter, so his scoring totals could be a little disappointing during his rookie campaign. Meanwhile, Barrett, his Duke teammate, is in a better position to hit the ground running in the NBA. Barrett is a more natural scorer than Williamson and is better able to put the ball in the basket at all three levels. He’ll also get plenty of touches with the Knicks, which should allow him to outscore Williamson by a wide margin.
Knicks Lose Over 60 Games... Again
Buying Knicks opening day tickets may be the only chance fans have to see the team play without a losing record this season. While they’ll be happy about getting Barrett in the draft, the Knicks failed miserably during the offseason. They failed to get any of the big-name players they coveted, settling instead for Julius Randle, who isn’t exactly a franchise-changing player. After losing a league-high 65 games last season, it’ll be another 60-loss season at Madison Square Garden.