It was media day on Monday 9/24 and all 30 NBA teams got underway in front of the media as a team for the first time this season. There were many moving parts this off-season with stars being traded to others deciding to take their talents from one coast to another.
Here’s a quick look at a few teams who landed players who will look to have an immediate impact on his new team and others who will be looked upon to be the face of the franchise and others whom may be excited to just get back on the court after not being able to finish the season the way the hoped:
-Boston Celtics finished their 2018 season losing a Game 7 at the TD Garden to a LeBron James led Cavaliers team who have been to the NBA Finals three straight. They did this without the services of All-Stars Kyrie Irving & Gordon Hayward due to injuries. These two will be expected to help elevate a Celtics roster already loaded with young talented players: Terry Rozier, Jayson Tatum, & Jaylen Brown. Coach Brad Stevens is one of the best young coaches in the league and he has all of his guys buying into his system.
-Golden State Warriors repeated as NBA champions and revamped and retooled with the addition of All-Star Demarcus Cousins who will likely be out for the earlier part of the season as he recovers from his Achilles injury last year while playing for the New Orleans Pelicans. The Warriors return their entire core (Durant, Curry, Thompson, & Green) and will get every teams best shot every night. This is definitely not something new to them. They will look to be the first team to three-peat since the 2000 Los Angeles Lakers.
-Houston Rockets the team that finished with the best overall record during the regular season and had the defending champion Warriors down 3-2 in the Western Conference Finals before ultimately losing in seven games. They return last year’s regular season MVP in James Harden and All-Star Chris Paul. They lost key pieces to last year’s team in Trevor Ariza (PHX) & Luc Mbah a Moute (LAC) in Free Agency, but welcome a former All-Star in Carmelo Anthony. Anthony will be looked upon as someone to help take the Rockets to the next level (offensively) and try and take down the Warriors team. Anthony hunger to win is what his new teammate Chris Paul believes is his biggest asset. Does that mean Anthony is willing to accept a certain role?
-Los Angeles Lakers a team that was full of young up and coming talent and with Former Laker Legend Magic Johnson running the show were able to go out and land the best player in the world in LeBron James this past summer. James signed a 4yr/ $153.3m James along with former champions in Rajon Rondo who came over from New Orleans, and Javale McGee from the defending champion Warriors, and veteran in Lance Stephenson (IND) the Lakers will without a doubt be the most intriguing team entering the season. The young core of Brandon Ingram, Kyle Kuzma (First Team All-Rookie), and Lonzo Ball will look to be counted on heavily this season if the Lakers believe they can contend in a tough Western Conference.
-Oklahoma City Thunder was a team entering the 2018 season with so many expectations and they came up short. This team including former league MVP in Russell Westbrook, All-Stars Paul George and Carmelo Anthony. This team had high hopes but failed to live up to them and was bounced in six games to a Utah Jazz team led by a rookie Phenom in Donovan Mitchell. Westbrook who just recently had arthroscpic surgery on his same knee where he has had before maybe out to start the season, George who Sam Presti and the Thunder organization was able to resign to a 4yr/$137m contract in the summer now will be the two to led the Thunder. The addition of Dennis Schroder from the Atlanta Hawks should be a nice piece to compliment Westbrook in the backcourt. Westbrook spoke about the importance of his leadership this year with his team.
-Toronto Raptors will also be an interesting team as they traded away a guy in Demar DeRozan who gave them nine solid years as their starting two guard since drafting him out of the University of Southern California and fired the coach of the year in Dwane Casey who won 59 games. They swapped him out for arguably the second or third best player in the association (when healthy) according to many in Kawhi Leonard. Leornard a NBA champion and former Finals MVP is one of the best two-way players in the league. He now begins his season not under the helm of Greg Poppovich. The Eastern Conference is not known to be as tough as the Western Conference, so Leonard and his Raptors should be better with him now running the show.
Media Day was great for the fans and the players to show their personalities away from the court, now these teams will begin to prepare to chase a NBA championship.