2018-19 NBA season is back, and more competitive than ever


Jason Byrd and Christian Nolan

2018-2019 NBA season, who will be the Champions?

by Christian Nolan and Jason Byrd

The 2018-2019 NBA season has just tipped-off and it’s already shaping up to be a pivotal year for the NBA. Over the off season, teams and players have been making decisions that are changing the organization from a Michael Jordan era to a ¨super team¨ era. We as fans are getting to watch a show as the league is only a week into the season and we have seen a fight between two teams (Lakers and Rockets) and over five game winners.

A ¨super team,¨ in terms of NBA basketball, is any team that holds more than 3 all-star players. Years back the NBA never held more than three. The Boston Celtics had Ray Allen, Paul Pierce, and Kevin Garnett that won one championship back in 2008, the Los Angeles Lakers with Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol, and Metta-World Peace that won one championship in 2010, or even the Miami Heat that had Lebron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh that won two back-to-back championships in 2012 and 2013.

The Golden State Warriors changed the game today. Drafting three all-stars Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green. They won the championship in 2015 by themselves, but when the combination of Lebron James and Kyrie Irving in 2016 led them and the Cavaliers to win their first championship in over 40 years, coming back from a 3-1 deficit.

That offseason the Warriors became the NBA´s supervillains with Kevin Durant being the face of it all. His decision shocked the NBA when he signed a two-year $53.4 million deal with a player option in his second year. He was the one who put the label ¨super team¨ being the 4th all-star to start on the team. After winning back-to-back championships (2017 and 2018), everyone thought Durant was going to leave and prove he can win a championship without the team, but once fans found out he decided to stay for one more year, everyone became suspicious of what the Warriors were planning.

A few days later, all-star Center of the New Orleans Pelicans, Demarcus Cousins, signed a one-year deal with the Warriors worth $5.3 million. Which was and still is a low blow for all the NBA fans because everyone knew that Cousins was worth way more that just $5 million. Back in the 2016-2017 season he was about to get a $209 million extension with the Sacramento Kings, before they decided to move on and trade him. Now the Warriors are coming into the new season with 5 All-stars, which has never been done before.

The odds may be in the Golden State Warriors favor this season, but there are both Western and Eastern Conference teams that they have to beat to prove that they are the best ¨super team¨ of the league, and also prove that they can still win the championship.


Western Conference

     Although the NBA seems rigged to some fans, it still isn’t. As the Warriors built their team, so are others, and the Western Conference is building up other competitive ¨super teams¨.

Houston Rockets

     The Rockets look better this year thanks to an amazing trade in the offseason. The Rockets were able to get power forward Marquese Chriss and guard Brandon Knight for Ryan Anderson and De’Anthony Melton, which benefits Houston greatly. They were in need of a solid power forward that can play defense but also can get rebounds and score under the basket. And with the veteran assistance of Clint Capela, who averaged a double-double, and Chris Paul and the reigning MVP, both of which led the team in averaged points with at least 18 points per game, the Rockets are still one of the top dogs in the Western Conference.

Los Angeles Lakers

     The Lakers picked up Lebron James on a 4-year, $154 million contract. The main question of Lebron heading to LA is who is going to be the Robin to his Batman. When he was on the heat he had Dwyane Wade. On the Cavaliers he had Kyrie Irving, and when Irving left- all last season, Lebron was looking for another player to help him carry the team. So, is Brandon Ingram going to step up? Some NBA fans haven’t processed that the best player in the history of basketball is now in the west-coast getting a chance to go head-to-head against the Warriors.

Oklahoma City Thunder

     OKC last year was a rough season to watch. With Carmelo Anthony having chemistry issues and Paul George trying to fit in to a new system, the Thunder really need to step up if they even want to make playoffs. Other young teams such as the Blazers, Nuggets and Timberwolves all are threats for fighting for the bottom seeds in the West. Last year Melo averaged only 16.2 points per game, which was his career-low in averaged points per game in the regular season. If OKC wants to even get in the top eight, their going to need team chemistry that’s not just between Russell Westbrook and George.

Denver Nuggets

     Rising stars Jamal Murray and Gary Harris are slowly becoming team leaders right along side Nikola Jokic. Both Murray and Harris have their own dynamic duo, with averages of 16.7 and 17.5 points last regular season. The young guards have drastically improved over the last year that they’ve been in the league. Even Murray, who has only been in the league for 2 seasons, has already put up higher numbers since his rookie year. Isaiah Thomas is now the bench point guard for the nuggets after going through Cleveland and the Lakers last year. Michael Porter Jr. comes in as a possible mini superstar for the Nuggets at small forward, a position they’ve somewhat struggled with for a while. And of course, Jokic. Since being on the All-Rookie 1 team in 2016, his numbers have skyrocketed. Last season, he averaged a double-double in points (18.5) and rebounds (10.7). This could be the breakout team for the West this year.


Eastern Conference

Boston Celtics

     The Celtics all last season have dealt with injury. They went as far as a game 7 in the Eastern Conference Finals against Lebron James and the Cavaliers, but fell short. Kyrie Irving missed out due to a hip injury, but the player that they missed most of all was Gordon Hayward. Hayward is finally back, and looking to make a big impact this season. After signing him last year to a 4-year, $128 million max deal, Hayward played the Cleveland Cavaliers the very first game and broke his left leg, causing him to get surgery and wait a full season to return.

Toronto Raptors

     Where to start with the newly formed Raptors. Since the Kawhi Leonard trade, the Raptors have actually gotten somewhat better (not to throw any shade at Demar Derozan). They have Danny Green, who was apart of the 2014 championship Spurs team and has always been a consistent shooter for the Spurs. Of course, former defensive player of the year Leonard at small forward, a position the Raptors haven’t had since Vinsanity, will be needing to prove himself this year. Not only coming off of injury but proving he can help lead his team to possibly the Finals. It worked for Kyrie, maybe it will work for him to. Along with a healthy Kyle Lowry and veterans Serge Ibaka and Jonas Valanciunas, the Raptors look like a bigger threat this year than previously.

Philadelphia 76ers

     After ROY Ben Simmons breakout year after not playing the entire previous season, Simmons plans on getting his revenge against the Celtics. Joel Embiid is coming off of his best season yet, averaging 22.9 points and 11 rebounds per game, Embiid plans to continue in wanting to follow Hakeem’s footsteps. Markelle Fultz has been working on fixing his jump shot ever since he returned from injury. The 76ers have a solid case for being the best in the East.

Indiana Pacers

     After his 4-year, $72 million extension, center Myles Turner “can’t see himself anywhere else.” While isn’t the biggest scorer on the team, he averaged 6.4 rebound, which was second on the team, and led the team in blocks. Victor Oladipo is, however, the face of the Pacers. After the Paul George trade, it seemed as if the Pacers had gotten nothing. Oladipo wanted to prove everyone wrong, averaging 23.1 points and 2.4 steals per game, which led his team last season. He was able to help direct Indiana to the playoffs. They lost in Game 7 to LeBron and the Cavs. This year, the Cavs aren’t as big as a threat this year. This opens up many new opportunities for the Pacers to make a huge potential playoff run.