NBA previews can be great, but they all have one significant problem: they’re too long and too geeky. No casual fan wants to read 10,000 words about individual player shot charts and how player movement and coaching scheme will potentially boost a team’s win total by 5.7 games at a high probabilistic value. This largely runs counter to the best effort that the NBA has undertaken over the past few years by democratizing fandom.
The league has been ahead of the curve in allowing rampant sharing of highlights (correctly judging it as free marketing) and encouraging players to speak their mind and let personalities shine through. As a result, there are plenty of NBA fans who just want to know what to watch for this upcoming season in the department of potential jokes or dramatic interpersonal conflict. So, let’s cater to that market not only in what we discuss, but how tight we keep things geographically.
Instead of going through each individual team to remind you that almost all of them have at least 2-3 players worth paying attention to and new schemes, let’s reignite a geographic rivalry. That’s right: New York versus L.A. is a thing again! Well, it’s probably not a thing this year, but it’s coming. It feels like a return to normalcy, and it couldn’t have come at a better time. For many, the allure of the cryptic social media posts and off-court dramatics are just as interesting as Al Horford’s nuanced and extraordinary pick-and-roll defense.
It’s perfect for this bi-costal rivalry. While the die hards have never left, the casual fan is, for the most part, back, and the two cities that inspire the most bandwagonism are relevant at the same time.
Los Angeles Lakers
2018-2019 Record: 37-45
The Same: The Greatest Player of the 21st Century, Alex Caruso, Kyle Kuzma, Rajon Rondo
Key Losses: Almost everyone else
Key Additions: Anthony Davis, Danny Green, Avery Bradley, The Ghost of Dwight Howard’s Lower Back
For the Junkie:
Since his second stint in Cleveland, people have jokingly asked if anyone is actually coaching LeBron James. This is a somewhat shallow analysis, as Tyronn Lue and David Blatt both contributed to the success of the Cavs through offensive scheme and, in the case of Lue, excellent player management. But, it was hard to watch at times without wondering just how much of the traffic was being directed by LeBron.