Though the Golden State Warriors are likely to win the 2019 NBA title, there are plenty of reasons to tune into the 2018-19 regular season.
Even if you believe the Warriors are preordained to three-peat this year, the journey between now and mid-June will feature no shortage of captivating twists and turns.
Player movement this offseason will drastically affect the title chase, as either LeBron James or the Warriors are guaranteed not to make it to the NBA Finals for the first time since 2014. The Toronto Raptors made an all-in push with their acquisition of Kawhi Leonard, but they’ll have to go through the full-strength Boston Celtics before claiming James’ vacated throne atop the Eastern Conference.
The next generation of NBA stars bears watching, too. Will 2017 No. 1 overall pick Markelle Fultz remember how to shoot a jumper? Was Victor Oladipo’s leap last season a sign of things to come, or was it a one-time fluke? What does Rookie of the Year runner-up Donovan Mitchell have in store as an encore?
There figures to be plenty of chaos throughout the league as well. With Jimmy Butler having met with Minnesota Timberwolves head coach Tom Thibodeau on Monday to have “honest conversations” about his future with the team, per Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic, might he be the next All-Star to be traded? Will the Celtics panic about the New York Knicks’ plans to gear up for a run at Kyrie Irving in free agency next summer? Will the Portland Trail Blazers or Washington Wizards decide their respective cores have run their course?
While we may already know the outcome of the 2019 NBA Finals, the upcoming season will have something to offer to everyone regardless. Let’s walk through some of the juiciest storylines to monitor over the coming months.