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The Golden State Warriors were your 2017-18 NBA Champions with Kevin Durant taking home Finals MVP.  Let’s look at the upcoming 2018-19 season and see where things stand.

WESTERN CONFERENCE

Golden State Warriors

Point Guard: Stephen Curry

Shooting Guard: Klay Thompson

Small Forward: Kevin Durant

Power Forward: Draymond Green

Center: Demarcus Cousins

The warriors stand alone at the top of the NBA.  If they stay healthy, the two best shooters in NBA history (Curry and Thompson), the greatest scorer since Michael Jordan (Durant), the most versatile defensive player in the league (Green), and the most talented offensive big man today (Cousins) will not be taken down.  Not to mention, their bench is filled with versatile playmakers such as Shaun Livingston and Jordan Bell that can play multiple positions.

Houston Rockets

PG: Chris Paul

SG: James Harden

SF: Carmelo Anthony

PF: P.J. Tucker

C: Clint Capela

The assumption with the Rockets is that they have fallen of due to offseason losses.  That the losses of Trevor Ariza and Luc Mbah a Moute leave the Rockets helpless defensively.  All these statements are false.  They upgraded over Trevor Ariza offensively with the addition of Carmelo Anthony and James Ennis is nearly a clone of Mbah a Moute’s skill.  Along with the Big 3 of Harden, Paul, and Capela, the new guys will surely be enough for at least the 2 seed in the Western Conference.

Oklahoma City Thunder

PG: Russel Westbrook

SG: Andre Roberson

SF: Paul George

PF: Jerami Grant

C: Steven Adams

The Thunder have the potential to be one of the best defensive teams in the NBA this season.  Of course, that all depends on the consistency of their superstar point guard Russell Westbrook.  Some games he is the best player on planet earth and others he’ll shoot four for 18.  But with a super sidekick like Paul George, he won’t be relied on offensively every single game because George is nearly as good as Westbrook on offense and defense.  Jerami Grant and Andre Roberson can be called upon to guard multiple positions.  And Steven Adams is the best rebounder in the NBA at 7 feet tall.

Utah Jazz

PG: Ricky Rubio

SG: Donovan Mitchell

SF: Joe Ingles

PF: Derrick Favors

C: Rudy Gobert

The Jazz are one of the younger teams in the NBA, but they remained arguably the most disciplined team in the NBA. This team just doesn’t turn the ball over or commit silly fouls. Their offense led by Donovan Mitchell runs a lot of Horn concepts where the big men lineup at the elbows of the free throw line. The defense led by Rudy Gobert in the paint and Joe Ingles on the perimeter is all about forcing outside shots. Other role players such as Dante Exum, Joe Crowder, and Royce O’Neale are all accustomed to this two-way style of basketball (offense and defense) as well.

Denver Nuggets

PG: Jamal Murray

SG: Gary Harris

SF: Will Barton

PF: Paul Millsap

C: Nikola Jokić

Denver is going to challenge the Warriors for having the best offense in the league. They possess a bevy of 3-point shooters such as Jamal Murray and Gary Harris while Nikola Jokić is the best passer in the association. But it should be expected that their defense will be near the bottom of the league as they are quite undersized. A three-guard lineup with great passing big men like Jokić and Millsap should lead the offense to new heights while a guy like Isiah Thomas off the bench will only further propel the offense forward.

Los Angeles Lakers

PG: Lonzo Ball

SG: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope

SF: Lebron James

PF: Kyle Kuzma

C: JaVale McGee

The GOAT has switched conferences. Lebron James will undoubtedly have a tougher road in the west because of the obvious gap in talent between the west and east but he already has a deeper squad in LA than he did in Cleveland last year. Though the signings of JaVale McGee, Lance Stephenson, Rajon Rondo, and Michael Beasley were heavily criticized it gives them depth in positions of need at center, power forward and point guard. Rookies Moritz Wagner(center) and Svi Mykhailiuk (shooting guard) will be expected to contribute offensively in year one as well.

New Orleans Pelicans

PG: Elfrid Payton

SG: True Holiday

SF: E’Twaun Moore

PF: Nikola Mirotić

C: Anthony Davis

This team’s success will once again hinge on the health of superstar Anthony Davis. But the supporting cast with the help of True Holiday and Nikola Mirotić along with the shooting of E’Twaun Moore will allow Davis to take centerstage without being double-teamed constantly. The signing of Julius Randle has been constantly overlooked as he is a guy that can handle the ball and make plays at either power forward or center.

Portland Trail Blazers

PG: Damian Lillard

SG: CJ McCollum

SF: Maurice Harkless

PF: Al Farooq-Aminu

C: Jusuf Nurkić

The Blazers massively underachieved last season. Despite finishing 3rd in the west, they were swept out of the playoffs by New Orleans. Even though the tandem of Lillard and McCollum is elite, the rest of the supporting cast is very underwhelming. Jusuf Nurkić has shown flashes as a stud rebounding and scoring in the paint at center, but only flashes. Mo Harkless and Aminu are decent role players but they’re not special because they’re quite limited offensively. Players like Evan Turner and Zach Collins will provide just enough sparks off the bench in facilitating and shot blocking to get Portland to the playoffs.

San Antonio Spurs

PG: Dejounte Murray

SG: DeMar DeRozan

SF: Rudy Gay

PF: LA Marcus Aldridge

C: Jakob Poeltl

The Spurs will once again produce a winning product on the court but for the first time in 20 years, San Antonio will miss the playoffs. The backcourt of Murry and DeRozan should work hand in hand as Murray will provide elite defense such as steals and DeMar will provide elite offense such as making shots. The front court is also revamped with the addition of athletic big Jakob Poeltl from Toronto. Count on Rudy Gay and LaMarcus Aldridge to take on bigger scoring roles as well. Patty Mills and Pau Gasol will also continue to provide scoring off the bench.

Minnesota Timberwolves

PG: Jeff Teague

SG: To Be Determined

SF: Andrew Wiggins

PF: Taj Gibson

C: Karl Anthony-Towns

With the unrest growing in the T-wolves locker-room leading to a rift between the young core and Jimmy Butler, Butler has requested a trade. With the superstar out of commission for the moment, there’s no way of telling what their backcourt will look like. Teague is the most average point guard in the association and nobody knows who is going to start at shooting guard. Wiggins and Towns headline the frontcourt along with Taj Gibson. Expect a lot of highlight plays with Wiggins and Towns leading the pack. But also expect some very porous defense as those 2 still need to get the fundamentals down.

Los Angeles Clippers

PG: Patrick Beverly

SG: Avery Bradley

SF: Luc Mbah a Moute

PF: Tobias Harris

C: Marcin Gortat

Defensively this team should be sound. With 2 uber versatile forwards in Harris and Mbah a Moute, the Clippers can switch nearly everything. The same thing can be said for their guards with Bradley and Beverley. It won’t be easy replicating what DeAndre Jordan brought to the table such as shot blocking and rebounding, but Marcin Gortat can be slightly more reliable on the offensive end as he’s a lot more efficient, so they shouldn’t miss too much there.

Dallas Mavericks

PG: Dennis Smith Jr.

SG: Luka Dončić

SF: Wesley Matthews

PF: Harrison Barnes

C: Deandre Jordan

The Mavericks are loaded with young talent in their backcourt. Dennis Smith Jr. figures to improve on a stellar rookie season in which he averaged 15 points per game. Luka Dončić as a rookie was labeled the most NBA ready coming out of Slovenia and should be prepared for a big workload right out the gate. The addition of Deandre Jordan as a rim runner and shot blocker will fill a role they have needed since Tyson Chandler 7 years ago. The forward spots will be occupied by 3-point threats Wesley Matthews and Harrison Barnes.

Phoenix Suns

PG: Devin Booker

SG: Josh Jackson

SF: T.J. Warren

PF: Trevor Ariza

C: Deandre Ayton

The Suns continue to slowly attempt to complete their rebuild. With the #1 pick in the draft, Deandre Ayton and Devin Booker the Suns have 2 offensive building blocks with which they can create a playoff team. The assortment of wings on this team is another strength. Josh Jackson will remain a wonderful perimeter defender heading into his 2nd season. In the offseason, they spent $15 million on Trevor Ariza to be a 3 and D wing. T.J. Warren is a professional scorer at small forward. The present may be bleak, but the future is bright.

Memphis Grizzlies

PG: Mike Conley

SG: Dillon Brooks

SF: Kyle Anderson

PF: Jaren Jackson Jr.

C: Marc Gasol

Memphis’s goal this season should be to stay healthy as the team’s superstars’ Marc Gasol and Mike Conley return from injury after missing all last season. The young guns in guys like Dillon Brooks and Kyle Anderson will continue to develop. Dillon Brooks particularly must work on becoming a consistent perimeter defender while Anderson should continue to develop a jump shot from three. The superstars, Mike Conley, and Marc Gasol have remained optimistic throughout the offseason, but that optimism will surely be for naught because, in the end, the Grizzlies will stink.

Sacramento Kings

PG: De ’Aaron Fox

SG: Bogdan Bogdanović

SF: Justin Jackson

PF: Marvin Bagley

C: Willie Cauley-Stein

The Kings have been in a continuous rebuild for the last 15 years. Management is praying that the #2 overall pick, Marvin Bagley, pans out. He and center Willie Cauley-Stein form one of the more athletic frontcourts in all of basketball. Justin Jackson has Trevor Arisa potential. De ‘Aaron Fox is already one of the fastest players in all of basketball. Bogdan Bogdanović and Buddy Hield at shooting guard will also provide elite and efficient shooting from deep. All in all, the Kings will be enjoyable to watch but they’ll lose a lot of games.

EASTERN CONFERENCE

Boston Celtics

PG: Kyrie Irving

SG: Jaylen Brown

SF: Gordan Hayward

PF: Jayson Tatum

C: Al Horford

Boston has quickly become the most complete team in the entire NBA. First, you have the guards in Kyrie Irving, Terry Rozier, and Marcus Smart. Then the small forwards with Jayson Tatum, Gordon Hayward, Jaylen Brown, and Marcus Morris will surely score and defend at an exceptional rate. And finally, you have big men in Al Harford, Aron Baynes, and rookie Robert Williams out of Texas A&M who can rebound and shoot from the perimeter. Overall, Boston’s goal should be NBA championship and that is very possible.

Philadelphia 76ers

PG: Ben Simmons

SG: J.J. Redick

SF: Robert Covington

PF: Dario Šarić

C: Joel Embiid

The 76ers season long hopes will come down to whether they stay healthy. The 2 best players on this team, Ben Simmons and Joe Embiid, showcased last season how great their chemistry is along with their 6’10” and 7’2” frames. Other 3 and D players on this team such as Robert Covington and Wilson Chandler will see extended action this season. The championship hope of Philly will depend on how much former #1 overall pick Markelle Fultz has improved after a lost season last year.

Toronto Raptors

PG: Kyle Lowry

SG: Danny Green

SF: Kawhi Leonard

PF: Serge Ibaka

C: Jonas Valenciennes

A new era begins for Toronto with the acquisition of Kawhi Leonard. If he can return to 2016 form when he led the Spurs to 67 victories, the Raptors will have the best player in the Eastern Conference on their side. Expert sidekicks Kyle Lowry and Jonas Valenciennes will provide exceptional 2 way play on the interior and the perimeter. The other role players like Danny Green, Serge Ibaka, Delon Wright, Fred Van Vleet, OG Anunoby, and Pascal Siakam can all shoot 3s and play shutdown defense.

Indiana Pacers

PG: Darren Collison

SG: Victor Oladipo

SF: Bojan Bogdanović

PR: Thaddeus Young

C: Myles Turner

Indiana is one of the deeper rosters in the NBA as they have a true backup for every single position. At point guard, Darren Collison led the league in 3-point percentage a year ago and his backup Cory Joseph is a tremendous 2-way player. At shooting guard, Victor Oladipo emerged as a superstar making his first all-star team in his career in 2018. Offseason signing Tyreke Evans will be expected to handle secondary playmaking and scoring duties. Wings Bojan Bogdanović and Thaddeus Young will provide shooting and athleticism respectively. Their backups (marksmen Dough McDermott and TJ Leaf) will see plenty of open looks with Oladipo and Evans drawing defenders. At center, Myles Turner and Domantas Sabonis produce elite offense and defense respectively.

Washington Wizards

PG: John Wall

SG: Bradley Beal

SF: Otto Porter

PF: Markieff Morris

C: Dwight Howard

John Wall and Bradley Beal return to form one of the deadlier backcourts in all of basketball with their combination of speed and shooting. John Wall has that deadly speed while has a deadeye jump shot. Otto Porter and Markieff Morris will continue to space the floor and play good defense. The addition should improve the wizards off the loss of Marcin Gortat. Off the bench, Kelly Oubre Jr. will provide switch ability that only guys like Trevor Ariza and Luc Mbah a Moute have. The only question with this team is how the locker-room will hold up when things go wrong.

Milwaukee Bucks

PG: Eric Bledsoe

SG: Malcolm Brogdon

SF: Giannis Antetokounmpo

PF: Ersan İlyasova

C: Brook Lopez

The Bucks backcourt hopes to be a lot healthier after Malcolm Brogdon was out for 2 months last season and Eric Bledsoe dealt with nagging injuries the entire year. Giannis returns as one of the premier small forwards in the NBA. His goal this year seems to be MVP. New big men Ersan İlyasova and Brook Lopez will finally give Giannis the spacing he needs. The bench is also filled with great 3 and D guards such as Tony Snell, Matthew Dellavedova, and rookie Donte DiVincenzo.

Miami Heat

PG: Goran Dragić

SG: Dion Waiters

SF: Josh Richardson

PF: James Johnson

C: Hasson Whiteside

This team takes the cake for the most physical roster in all the association. The main key for a successful season for Miami this year will be the play of Hassan Whiteside. If he can return to his shot blocking and rebounding ways, the Heat will have an elite force in the paint. At guard, Dion Waiters and Goran Dragić will provide solid shooting and playmaking as will Tyler Johnson off the bench. On the wings, Josh Richardson, James Johnson, and Justice Winslow will all see big minutes. Kelly Olynyk should also see time at center along with Whiteside.

Detroit Pistons

PG: Reggie Jackson

SG: Reggie Bullock

SF: Stanley Johnson

PF: Blake Griffin

C: Andre Drummond

The less said about Detroit’s recent seasons the better. Reggie Jackson’s continuous injuries have hindered this team from becoming what it was supposed to be. But they’re hoping their fortunes have changed after last season’s acquisition of Blake Griffin. Blake Griffin’s only true hindrance is his susceptibility to injury. Andre Drummond comes back for another season of ridiculous rebounding (16 rebounds per game). Reggie Jackson’s production has really declined as of late, but he can still shoot consistently. Reggie Bullock, Stanley Johnson, and Luke Kennard all need to pray to heaven that their 3-point percentages rise so that the pistons can finally have reliable 3-point shooters.

Chicago Bulls

PG: Kris Dunn

SG: Zach Lavine

SF: Denzel Valentine

PF: Lauri Markkanen

C: Robin Lopez

The Bulls launched their rebuild in 2017 when they traded away Jimmy Butler. But they’ve quickly rebounded by drafting well and getting the best deal out of every trade. Lauri Markkanen looks like a true building block at power forward. Robin Lopez provides defense and rebounding. Denzel Valentine and Zach Lavine are becoming a great shooting duo. Kris Dunn may be inept as a perimeter scorer with his lack of a jump shot but he’s a great defender. Bobby Portis and Justin Holiday should see extended time off the bench along with rookie Wendell Carter Jr.

Charlotte Hornets

PG: Kemba Walker

SG: Jeremy Lamb

SF: Nicolás Batum

PF: Marvin Williams

C: Cody Zeller

The less said about all these teams tenth or lower in the east the better. This is the dark side of the NBA where nearly no fan wants to be. Charlotte will go into the year riding the coattails of Kemba Walker once again as he averages 25+ points per game again this season. Jeremy Lamb is completely inconsistent offensively and defensively. Nic Batum is always hurt. Same story with Cody Zeller. Marvin Williams is one of the biggest busts in NBA history as he was picked 2nd overall. And outside of Miles Bridges, the bench is completely irrelevant as there is no one who has made a solid career for themselves.

Cleveland Cavaliers

PG: Collin Sexton

SG: J.R. Smith

SF: Cedi Osman

PF: Kevin Love

C: Tristan Thompson

Cleveland is going to be a very interesting team this year after the departure of Lebron James. For the first time since his Minnesota days, Kevin Love will be the lone superstar once again. The #8 pick in the draft, Collin Sexton, will see plenty of runtime. Outside of those 2 players though, the rest of the roster is a complete mess devoid of any and all talent and not even worth bringing up.

New York Knick

PG: Frank Ntilikina

SG: Tim Hardaway Jr.

SF: Kevin Knox

PF: Kristaps Porzingis

C: Enes Kanter

It’s going to be another forgettable season in New York. Their franchise player, Kristaps Porzingis, will miss at least half of the season with a torn ACL. Rookie Kevin Knox figures to give the Knicks some hope with his scoring and defensive abilities but not too much. The rest of the roster is filled with average to below average role players such as Enes Kanter and Tim Hardaway Jr. Frank Ntilikina and Trey Burk will continue to attempt to shake their bust labels as high draft picks who didn’t pan out. Operative word being attempt.

Orlando Magic

PG: D.J. Augustin

SG: Evan Fournier

SF: Johnathan Isaac

PF: Aaron Gordon

C: Nikola Vučević

Orlando is just an absolute failure of an organization. Their management has yet to find a franchise player despite not making the playoffs any of the last 8 years. Aaron Gordon is the closest thing they have to a franchise guy and he’s not even close. Maybe rookie center Mohamed Bamba can be the answer to their carousel at center. On the wing, we shall see if Johnathan Isaac has finally developed a consistent jump shot. Evan Fournier can shoot. So, can D.J. Augustin. That’s all there is to this roster.

Brooklyn Nets

PG: D’Angelo Russell

SG: Caris LeVert

SF: DeMarre Carroll

PF: Rondae Hollis-Jefferson

C: Jarrett Allen

Brooklyn led by Kenny Atkinson will be a joy to watch this season. They will lose a lot of games, but their pace and space style of offense is tons of fun. D’Angelo Russell and Caris Levart will run and gun ‘til no tomorrow. Carroll and Hollis Jefferson are both great 3 and D options. Guys like Joe Harris and Spencer Dinwiddie will continue to develop into more complete players on both sides of the ball, not just offense. Jarrett Allen’s further development after a stellar rookie season, where he averaged 10 ppg and 2 blocks per game, will be the key this year for Brooklyn to take another step forward.

Atlanta Hawks

PG: Trae Young

SG: Kent Bazemore

SF: Javen Prince

PF: John Collins

C: Dewayne Dedman

Atlanta is toast. New coach in Lloyd Pierce. Doesn’t matter. This team may have intriguing young talent but don’t let it fool you. Trae Young and Taurean Prince bring shooting and athleticism respectively. The rest of this roster from Jeremy Lin to Kent Bazemore is filled with bloated contracts from the summer of 2016. It’s unbelievable to think 3 years ago this team won 60 games. Quite unbelievable.