The NBA we all wanted is here.
After years of the preconceived Heat, Cavs, and Warriors runs to the finals, we have true preseason parity. Per NBA stats, 11 franchises have never won an NBA title. Additionally, nine franchises have only won it once. In a 30-team league, that leaves just 10 franchises to have won multiple NBA titles.
Whether it’s a big market or well-run organization, the same teams seem to find themselves in contention.
In an unprecedented offseason with player movement, we now see an NBA landscape that ushers in ‘dynamic duos’ across the league.
Lakers: LeBron James & Anthony Davis
Clippers: Kawhi Leonard & Paul George
Nets: Kyrie Irving & Kevin Durant
Sixers: Ben Simmons & Joel Embiid
Rockets: James Harden & Chris Paul
Warriors: Stephen Curry & Klay Thompson
Blazers: Damian Lillard & CJ McCollum
— Felix J. (@TwoSmooth2) July 6, 2019
What my tweet didn’t account for, was another blockbuster trade occurring days after one of the biggest free agency whirlwinds of all-time. Russell Westbrook was traded to the Houston Rockets for Chris Paul (and some other stuff). So, make that duo Westbrook and James Harden. Two guys who won NBA MVP in back-to-back seasons.
In addition to those dynamic duos, you have teams like the Milwaukee Bucks, who strut the reigning league MVP – the Boston Celtics, who turned Kyrie Irving into Kemba Walker, and replaced Al Horford with Enes Kanter – the Toronto Raptors, who played exceptionally well in the ‘load management’ runs without Kawhi Leonard – the Utah Jazz, who retooled and added two additional ball handlers to their starting unit in Mike Conley and Bojan Bogdanovic. The Denver Nuggets, who finished just three games back of the number one seed in the Western Conference, will also be back and healthy.
A potential dynamic duo not mentioned could be Luka Doncic and the returning All-Star Kristaps Porzingis. Their skillsets, in theory, complement each other, and if they play like we think they will, can be a very dangerous proposition for Western Conference opponents.
From an economic standpoint, things couldn’t have worked out better for the NBA this offseason. They’ve officially passed the NFL as a 12-month sport, with the offseason sometimes being more dramatic than the regular or postseasons. Expect a spike in either League Pass numbers or streaming numbers in general. With League Pass providing new products allowing the consumption of lesser packages, all eyes will be on NBA basketball nightly.
For the teams who have acquired talent, they will all feel confident that this is their year. For the teams with younger players, they’ll have the opportunity to unleash that talent. Fans will be loud, and GM’s will be bold. Every franchise will have something to prove.
History shows that fans typically like the ‘David versus Goliath’ storyline. But when things are wide open, everybody wins.