Anything is possible: The endless opportunities of a new NBA season
I can tell you three things about the 2018-19 NBA season: The Warriors will win the title, LeBron James will be the best player on earth and Ben Simmons will compete for Rookie of the Year. Despite Kevin Garnett’s best intentions, these are absolutes; not quite anything is possible.
But if you are not a Warriors fan, somehow dislike James or are Donovan Mitchell, you have learned to enjoy the little things. And no league does the little things better than the NBA, where J.R. Smith throwing soup at his assistant coach wasn’t even one of the 11 weirdest stories of the previous year, nor the craziest thing he himself pulled off.
So despite the predetermined outcome, the Student Life sports staff is still looking forward to tipoff Tuesday night. Here’s what we’re looking forward to seeing.
I’m not too big of a basketball fan, but I follow it in broad strokes. My dad, on the other hand––he knows what’s up. At home, New York Knicks games are always on. My dad says it’s looking up for the guys. I trust him. The team hired David Fizdale in the offseason as the new head coach and made some key draft moves, picking up Kevin Knox and Mitchell Robinson. Frank Ntilikina will stun the world. He is not just a pretty French boy any more. It is always dangerous to go into a Knicks season overly optimistic, especially since our unicorn is rehabbing an ACL injury, but this year might just be the year. Watch out, NBA world: The New York Knicks are about to coming knocking on your door. If nothing else, the New York Rangers are trash this season, so at least the Knicks won’t be the worst team in Madison Square Garden.
––Matthew Friedman, Contributing Reporter
First off, I just would like to say that this has to be one of the most exciting years in recent memory, leaving us with a lot of questions going into the season. Will LeBron lead the Lakers back to the promised land? Did Dallas just draft the best European talent we’ve ever seen? Will Carmelo Anthony finally agree to come off the bench? As an Ohio native, it’s been hard adjusting to life without LeBron. However, the Cavaliers’ front office did do one thing right by drafting Collin Sexton out of the University of Alabama. I know it’s early, but this young player has a swagger about him that is just impossible to ignore. Keep in mind, this is the same kid who looked former All-Star Penny Hardaway in the eye and told him that his son was “trash.” This is the same kid who almost single-handedly led his college team to a win…with just three players on the court. In terms of big picture predictions, I think we all know that the Warriors will beat the Celtics in the finals. However, keep an eye on Sexton and the Cavs in general. No, they won’t do much more than maybe an early playoff exit, but with other young talent like Cedi Osman, and veterans Tristan Thompson and Kevin Love, they’ll make noise.
––Heman Duplechan, Staff Reporter
Words rarely spoken: I am incredibly excited for the Nets season. The black cloud of the Celtics trade has finally, mercifully passed, and for the first time in a half decade, the boys of Brooklyn are bound to have some fun this winter. In reality, this season should have been the start of a long, arduous rebuild. Instead, Sean Marks guided this tattered vessel masterfully through the typhoon, creating assets out of thin air to repair it on the fly. Now, the Nets are young, deep and flexible, poised to be a thorn in the side of any given team on any given night. They may not make the playoffs––and admittedly don’t have a star, a byproduct of relinquishing two straight top-three picks––but they’ll be fun. And if things go awry this time, we’ll be able to hope for Zion Williamson.
––Rohan Gupta, Senior Sports Editor
The Suns are going to be a mediocre team at best. They don’t have a good point guard in a league full of elite point guards. Deandre Ayton, their promising center, is very young and still developing. They have a logjam at small forward, with Josh Jackson and T.J. Warren both as serviceable options, but both also have serious flaws. Their power forward situation is a hot mess, with Dragan Bender and Ryan Anderson looking to be serious contenders for the worst starting forwards in the league. The Suns appear to be well on their way to another high lottery pick. Despite the bleak outlook, there is one bright spot for the Suns: Devin Booker is going to be exceptional. Booker was already a borderline All-Star last season and he has gotten better. Over the summer, he injured his primary shooting hand, which gave him an opportunity to work on his off-hand scoring ability. Through 54 games last season, Booker averaged 24.9 points per game, which was the 10th highest in the league. This season, Booker is my dark horse candidate for NBA scoring leader.
––Dorian DeBose, Senior Sports Editor