The NBA’s offseason has featured players moving around at an unprecedented rate. Whether it’s been stars going from one city to the next or fascinating role players bolstering the roster of a contender, this summer has completely re-shaped major elements of the NBA. The league has been known in recent years for its ability to attract interest off the court just as easily, if not more so, than it does during games, and this summer was a reminder of why that is the case.
Now, all eyes turn to the upcoming season, which is as wide-open as it’s been in some time due to things looking awfully different now that the dust has began to settle. Earlier this week, we looked at the most interesting players in the Eastern Conference as we project things out and survey where teams are right now.
We’re mimicking that exercise today, but this time, we’re looking at the Western Conference. The beneficiary of much of the player movement we saw this summer, the West promises to be a meat grinder once again. Whether teams have title aspirations now or are building towards those in the future, every squad boasts at least one player who makes us raise our eyebrows heading into 2019-20.
Dallas: Kristaps Porzingis
There are high hopes in Dallas for this season, chiefly because of the excitement around pairing the reigning Rookie of the Year, Luka Doncic, with Kristaps Porzingis, who sat out all last year with an ACL injury. Porzingis was given a max contract this summer by Dallas, who don’t seem concerned about his injury history or the rape allegations following Porzingis from his time with the Knicks.
On the court, it’s not hard to see why they’re excited, but they certainly are taking a risk. If he is healthy and cleared of legal troubles, Doncic and Porzingis could emerge as a duo worthy of being in the discussion with the best in the league (a high bar to clear after this summer). Porzingis is as unique a talent as there is at his size and has superstar potential. This season we’ll see if he can stay healthy and fulfill his incredible promise.
Denver: Michael Porter Jr.
The Nuggets are going to be really good. They were the second-best team in the Western Conference in the regular season last year, and seeing as how they brought everyone back, they’re going to make some noise this season, too. The issue is they didn’t really add anyone new, while a whole bunch of teams in the conference got better.