With the release of the 2018-19 NBA schedule, there are more headlines leading into this season than any in recent memory. From trades, to the biggest free agent signing in years, to several ‘what ifs’, this season is sure to entertain. Let’s look at the top storylines, in no particular order, along with some of the top matchups around the league.
Everyone knew Deandre Ayton would be the top pick for the Suns. Many thought Luka Doncic was the second-best (or best) prospect, but the Kings made Marvin Bagley III the second pick. The Mavericks pounced at the chance to work out a deal with the Hawks: Atlanta traded Doncic to Dallas for fellow prospect Trae Young. These players will forever be linked to each other and we’ll be analyzing these sequences of moves for years.
Top 2018 Seeds
Last year’s top seeds from each conference will meet early. The Celtics get Gordon Hayward back after his season-ending injury on opening night last season, while the Raptors swapped out DeMar DeRozan for a disgruntled Kawhi Leonard. The Rockets – the closest team to unseating the Warriors since Kevin Durant moved west – added Carmelo Anthony.
Much has been made about LeBron James joining the Lakers, and rightfully so. We’re seeing the greatest player of his generation join one of the most decorated franchises in any sport. It’s been a minute since LA made the playoffs, and The King’s move to the West Coast already has analysts penciling them into the postseason.
Top Young Sleepers
There were some teams that shocked us all last season – looking at you, Pacers – and should improve this year. You can pick the top two teams from each conference fairly quickly, but below are teams that could make a run to the conference finals or even NBA Finals if things break their way.
There will be many reunions between star players and their former homes this season. While most of them should make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside, one of them will likely make you cringe.
2018 Playoff Stories
There were some intriguing developments from the 2018 playoffs. Both the Blazers (third seed) and Thunder (fourth seed) lost in the first round to young underdogs. Meanwhile, the Timberwolves beat the Nuggets on the final night of the season, in overtime, to claim the last playoff spot and eliminate Denver; they play on the final night again this year.
Where Are They Now?
It’s interesting to think about where players have been, where they are now, and where they will end up. Leonard – who has made it known he wants to be a Laker – was originally drafted by the Pacers before he was sent to the Spurs on draft night. He and Paul George together in Indiana may have been the answer to LeBron’s dominance in the East. Speaking of Indiana, now that George has decided to stay with the Thunder, who won that trade last offseason? And with DeAndre Jordan joining the Mavs, he will now see former teammate and Lob City conductor Chris Paul multiple times a season in the Southwest Division.
For tickets to see your favorite team, click on their name above, or visit us at ticketcity.com.