We’re only into Week 7, but which NBA teams are worth keeping an eye on this season? Judging by the offseason and these first few weeks, here are a few teams that will be fun to watch in the 2018-2019 season. This is by no means a definitive guide, just a few of our faves. And yes, we know, the Western Conference kinda dominates this list.
Los Angeles Lakers
Certainly one of the most watchable teams this season, it’s no secret why. The Lakers acquired the most talked about man in basketball, Lebron James. There’s a reason they call him King James – he’s been doing his job with the Lakers so far, consistently scoring anywhere between 20 and 51 points (!!!) per game. While they still may not be the best team in the NBA, with Lebron, you can’t not be good – he elevates everyone around him. Forward Brandon Ingram, now in his third year, should benefit from many more wide open looks with James around. And the new addition appears to be boosting second-year point guard Lonzo Ball’s confidence as well. It’ll be fun to see how he vibes with other the young players on the team. They may not win it all, but Lakers will be anything but boring.
Golden State Warriors
Duh. This team led by Steph Curry has become a dynasty. There’s no reason to think they’ll be any worse this season either. Vegas is still favoring them to win the title… again. You’ve got players like Kevin Durant and Desmond Green, even if there is a little drama between the two of them. They’ve got a veteran core, including Andre Iguodala and Shaun Livingston, with a few new additions from the offseason. For fantastic offense and brilliant, beautiful basketball, you can’t beat a Warriors game. This is their last year playing in the Oracle Arena before moving into some snazzy new San Fran digs, so you can be sure they’ll close out the season with a bang. The Warriors are clearly the best team in the league (despite a handful of losses this season), and they’ve become so dominant, it’s almost worrisome. They just need Steph Curry to stay healthy.
Okay, they had a rough start to the season considering that last year they were one game away from the Finals. But if you’re all about that offense, check out the fast and deadly Houston Rockets. Big-time guard James Harden just scored a season-high 43 points against the Detroit Pistons, not to mention he holds the franchise record at 60 points in a single game so he has the potential to do that again. Some guys are still struggling with shooting, like Eric Gordon, but overall, the team is looking good. As it turns out, the addition of Carmelo Anthony to create an offensive holy trinity with Harden and Chris Paul totally backfired. So Melo is gone now, and the Rockets seem to be winning more because of it. They might even be able to give the reigning Golden State Warriors a run for their money this season, if they (ahem, Chris Paul!) can stay healthy. Well… maybe.
Though they’ve lost a few already this season, Vegas gives them the best odds (after the Warriors, obviously) to hang a banner in 2019. The only team in the Eastern Conference on this list, the Raptors have players like Kyle Lowry and the new additions of Danny Green and Kawhi Leonard (a top-five player in the league) this season. They could help turn the Raptors into a great defensive team. Fred VanVleet has also begun to make himself useful as backup point guard recently, showing the importance of having a deep bench. The rest of the team is pretty young but they play well together. Let’s see if they can keep it up throughout the regular season and a potential playoff run. Lucky for them, Lebron isn’t in their conference anymore…
They may not come to mind initially, but the Jazz are good – especially Donovan Mitchell, who had an amazing rookie season. And they’ve been joined this year by easily the most hateable college player they could’ve drafted, Grayson Allen. Center Rudy Gobert, probably the best defensive player in the NBA, will be getting over an injury and he’s essential to a successful Jazz team. Jae Crowder is also getting better, plus they’ve got Joe Ingles and Mitchell to do the shooting and scoring. With most of their main roster returning, the Jazz should have a solid season ahead. Yeah, we know they suffered a 50-point loss to the Dallas Mavericks a couple weeks ago… and they’ve lost three straight games recently. But keep the faith. TBD if Mitchell’s recent rib injury is serious though…