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Here’s a riddle: If the Warriors acceptable a appellation is a foregone conclusion, why has the NBA never been added popular? Answer: Because the NBA isn’t aloof a basketball alliance — it’s a arrangement of 30 authority television dramas. The spats! The rumors! The infighting! The subtweets! Whiteboard-smashing! Crotch-kicking! Players-only meetings!
So this year we’re alleviative the advancing NBA division as what it absolutely is, by award the TV brawl at the affection of anniversary aggregation and baronial all 30 by how must-watch they will be. Will the Lakers be great? Certainly not! But they will be the highest-rated 7-seed ever. Will Houston’s breach be bigger with Melo? No way! But, hey, tragedy is the new comedy. Can the Sixers stick to the script? Will OKC’s associate brawl click? Will the Warriors jump the shark?
With that in mind, we accord you the 2018-19 NBA season, TV-guide-style.
Is there any Stranger Affair than what the Lakers did this summer? Is there anyone Leftover in Cleveland? Did we aloof about-face all 30 NBA teams into TV dramas? Yes … yes, we did.
With the fates of several All-Stars up in the air, can Draymond Green accumulate the Warriors absolutism going?
After a knee abrasion batty Year 1 in Boston, Kyrie Irving is aback to breach added ankles. Here’s what we drew up to spotlight why he ability aloof accept the best handles in the NBA.
It’s an ensemble casting that could advance to aerial jinks. But neither Magic Johnson nor LeBron James is actuality for jokes. The Lakers aren’t a contender, but Michael Beasley is appropriate … at atomic about his teammates. Rajon Rondo, Lance Stephenson and JaVale McGee accept played big account in big games. They can win. It’s aloof added fun to watch aback they don’t. –Bomani Jones
The Quote: “If everybody … stops anticipation some players, me mainly, you’ll amount out that guys like me and … Lance apperceive how to play.” –Michael Beasley, to the LA Times
The Number: 26 (Teams that Stephenson (7), Beasley (7), Rondo (6) and McGee (6) accept played for)
Team admiral Masai Ujiri has eight months to accomplish the relentlessly bashful Kawhi Leonard abatement in adulation with him, which feels like both a rom-com and a abhorrence movie. Imagine if Leonard apprehension up worse than DeMar DeRozan, the admired agent Toronto alien out for him. Far added heartrending, though, is the added acceptable reality: Leonard is every bit the superstar the Raptors accept lusted afterwards — but he still loves LA. –Pablo S. Torre
The Quote: “We don’t appetite to be the ones that are acquainted apologetic for anymore. We appetite to belong.” –Masai Ujiri
The Number: 263 (Raptors’ wins aback 2013-14, Ujiri’s aboriginal division as GM, fourth best in the league)
If Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins absolutely appetite Jimmy Butler gone, it’s an allegation of them. Butler’s attendance fabricated the Wolves one of the bigger teams in the West, and his absence about kept them out of the playoffs. Butler has to go, but you’ve got to admiration what it says aback the Wolves appetite to body about two guys who assume blessed with accepting worse. –B.J.
The Quote: “Ain’t no drillmaster in the apple that can accomplish somebody brawl hard. Ain’t no drillmaster in the apple that can accomplish anybody appetite it.” –Jimmy Butler
The Number: 47 (Wolves’ wins aftermost season, their best aback 2003-04)
If you anytime appear beyond a time machine, accede activity aback to 2012 and cogent Mike D’Antoni and Carmelo Anthony they’ll be calm in 2018. D’Antoni beeline up abdicate the Knicks because of Anthony, who alone his abhorrent scheme. But in Houston, which hungers for addition scorer, the arrangement is different: able but appreciably iso-heavy. Enter Anthony, who at atomic charcoal the latter. –P.S.T.
The Quote: “Whether he starts or doesn’t alpha — and he said it — is a arguable point.” –Mike D’Antoni, to The Houston Chronicle
The Number: 12.7 (Anthony’s PER aftermost season, the affliction of his career)
Here’s how this ability go right: Scott Brooks managed the allure about Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant for years; it’s the best affair he did while he was in OKC. But what happens aback John Wall, the one guy who wants to brawl with Dwight Howard, is the guy the added Wizards don’t assume to appetite to brawl with? –B.J.
The Quote: “I apperceive I’m a aggregation player. I boilerplate about 10 assists a game. I’m actual affected in award my teammates and accepting guys accessible shots.” –John Wall
The Number: 7.9 (Drop in Wall’s net appraisement aftermost division aback amphitheatre afterwards Bradley Beal)
Zoom out on NBA history and Gregg Popovich has annihilation to anguish about. Zoom in on San Antonio, though, and you see all-overs everywhere. Kawhi Leonard and Tony Parker are gone. Manu Ginobili retired. Pop still hasn’t absent the playoffs aback his aboriginal year, over two decades ago. But now, at 69, retirement looms. One way or another, a celebrated run will be over soon. –P.S.T.
The Quote: “I am not too absorbed in talking about the past. I don’t alike appetite to allocution about Tim Duncan.” –Gregg Popovich
The Number: 9 (Players to win assorted Arresting Amateur of the Year Awards, including Leonard)
The Pelicans assuredly got a additional brilliant to brace with Anthony Davis, but the aggregation was absolutely bigger afterwards DeMarcus Cousins got hurt. Cousins is now in the Bay, and Davis has a amateur advantage in 2020. How acceptable allegation the Pelicans be this division to stop Davis from appliance his chargeless bureau advantage two summers from now? –B.J.
The Quote: “You’re apprehensive if you’re afterward in that aforementioned path.” –Anthony Davis on Kevin Garnett, who got a amphitheatre in Boston afterwards departure Minnesota
The Number: 27.1 (Davis’ PER aback 2013, abaft alone LeBron and KD)
The Blazers accept hit their ceiling. Damian Lillard aired grievances to ownership. If the Barter Apparatus were a jukebox, CJ McCollum would be “Free Bird.” The two guards are able scorers who accord ability on defense. So if aberration is accomplishing the aforementioned affair over and over afresh but assured altered results, the catechism now is simple: Does Portland like actuality insane? –P.S.T.
The Quote: “It’s not like we’re a destination. It’s boxy to get players.” –Damian Lillard
The Number: -2.42 (Combined arresting RPM of Lillard and McCollum)
We can no best say, “No one wants to brawl with Westbrook.” And while watching Russ booty 43 shots in a Bold 6 accident to Utah ability accept affronted some, it fabricated us balloon that Paul George was abominable that night, with bristles credibility on 16 shots. Westbrook will accept to allotment the brawl — but George allegation accord him acumen to do so. –B.J.
The Quote: “I apperceive who I am as a player. I aloof appetite to advice a aggregation win, and I feel adequate accomplishing that with Russ.” –Paul George
The Number: 20.2 (Westbrook’s acreage ambition attempts per d over the accomplished seven seasons)
All that babel about abacus DeMarcus Cousins is old news. The NBA’s best boundless rumor now centers on the Warriors’ best infuriating luxury. Spoiler alert: Kevin Durant is destined, allegedly, to leave Golden State for NYC. The Warriors may not allegation KD to break dynastic. But we’ll acquisition out how abominably they appetite to accumulate him. –P.S.T.
The Quote: “Draymond apparently had the affliction pitch. He was like, ‘Cous, I’m appealing abiding me and you are activity to fight.'” –DeMarcus Cousins
The Number: 118.5 (Points per 48 account the Warriors denticulate aftermost division with Durant on the floor. Without: 105.6.)
Why do things feel so ambiguous with the Sixers? Their best player’s adduce about his new GM was that he acclimated to douse on him. Their two No. 1 picks were afraid to shoot jumpers aftermost year. And aftermost season’s achievement has created the apprehension that the aggregation will accomplish a big leap. Shaq and Penny had alone three years together. Aforementioned for Durant, Westbrook and Harden. The approaching is now. –B.J.
The Quote: “It was aching because of the actuality that was said. But at the end of the day, I apperceive who I am as a person, as a player.” –Joel Embiid on the burner accounts angry to Bryan Colangelo
The Number: 7.0 (Philly’s plus-minus per d with Embiid and Simmons both on the cloister aftermost season)
One fun affair about actuality a Knicks fan: Expectations are so low that basal talking credibility complete revolutionary. So thanks, David Fizdale, for talking aegis and a abiding rebuild. No, Kristaps Porzingis isn’t healthy. No, the Knicks don’t apperceive whether he’ll be aback this season. And if he’s not? Well, uh, accept you heard that rumor about Durant? –P.S.T.
The Quote:”I’ve been told aggregate from December to him actuality out for the season, so I don’t apperceive what to expect.” –Owner James Dolan on Porzingis, to the NY Post
The Number: 821 (Knicks losses aback 2001-02, best in the NBA)
What, we’re blame Freaky Greeky out already? With an acting coach, the Bucks pushed Boston to seven in the 2018 playoffs. Now, with Drillmaster Bud active a agenda of long-armed defenders, it’s all about befitting Giannis happy. The catechism is how to acreage a additional star, because not abounding guys end up in Milwaukee because they had added options. –B.J.
The Quote:”[Antetokounmpo] is an figure in a baby burghal with a all-around appeal. … Added than 50 percent of our agenda cartage is from alfresco the U.S.” –Bucks admiral Peter Feigin, to 60 Minutes
The Number: 4 (The Bucks’ longest acceptable band aftermost season)
Like a No. 23 Cavs jersey on a approval rack, the Cavs are now ignored, black and heavily discounted. Cleveland already knows to apprehend tumbleweeds in Quicken Loans Arena. A advantageous Kevin Adulation ability alike advice them move on. But J.R. Smith, still employed, charcoal a city’s affecting reminder: Do not booty your time with LeBron for granted. Especially in the Finals. –P.S.T.
The Quote: “Now it’s activity to be on my aback in a lot of ways, and I’m accessible for it.” –Kevin Love, to Cleveland.com
The Number: 59 (Games Adulation played aftermost season, his atomic aback 2012-13)
It’s the 15th year of the Bobcats/Hornets era-and what’s there to appearance for it? They’ve never had the aboriginal aces during that time or a foundation that looked like the alpha of a contender. Trading Kemba Walker won’t net anyone bigger than he is, and we’ve apparent what they are with him as their best player. The Hornets are neither acceptable nor bad abundant to absolutely rebuild. –B.J.
The Quote: “I adulation Kemba Walker. I would not barter him for annihilation but an All-Star player.” –Michael Jordan, to The Charlotte Observer
The Number: 9,907 (Points that Walker, 28, has denticulate for the Hornets, a authorization high)
Once aloft a time, “Grit and Grind” was an ideal byword for this team’s affected physicality. Now the adage is beneath about what the Grizzlies do to their opponents and added about what Grizzlies admirers do to their teeth. The acceptable account is that Marc Gasol and Mike Conley are healthy. The bad news? They’re 33 and 31, appropriately — and best advantageous as barter bait. –P.S.T.
The Quote: “I get it, you appetite Gregg Popovich … and I appetite LeBron James.” –Former drillmaster David Fizdale, to Marc Gasol, according to the New York Daily News
The Number: 28 (Memphis’ rank in clip in anniversary of the accomplished two seasons)
Pat Riley is consistently in charge. If Riley could handle Charles Oakley and Anthony Mason, and if Shaq, Dwyane Wade and LeBron couldn’t beef the man, again Hassan Whiteside will never scream audibly abundant to get his way, and Dion Waiters will aloof accept to abatement in band whether he brand it or not. –B.J.
The Quote: “Stuff happens, things are said, players are frustrated.” –Pat Riley, to the South Florida Sun Sentinel
The Number: 7.3 (Decrease in account per d Whiteside played aftermost division vs. the division before)
As org archive go, there’s no outdoing the one-two bite of Kings buyer Vivek Ranadive and GM Vlade Divac. An optimist would alarm their stockpiling of big men and denial of wings “countercultural.” A realist would admiration if they’re elaborately tanking. The catechism isn’t if the NBA’s longest-running playoff aridity will hit a 13th year. It’s how awe-inspiring it’ll get. –P.S.T.
The Quote: “My aggregation is a superteam, aloof young.” –Vlade Divac, via ABC10 in Sacramento, afterwards drafting Marvin Bagley III
The Number: 9 (Coaches aback ’05-06, their aftermost postseason trip)
There ability be a beam on these Pistons, but it’s never bad to accept two absolutely good, absolutely big guys on a basketball team. Quietly, Blake Griffin attempt 5.6 3s per d aftermost season, authoritative 34.5 percent. That won’t about-face the Pistons into the Warriors, but it’s credible-which is all his attempt needs to be. –B.J.
The Quote: “My ambition for [Griffin] is to be the best casual ability advanced in the league, which he can do.” –Coach Dwane Casey, to Vice Sports
The Number: 92 (Andre Drummond’s /- exhausted amphitheatre with Griffin)
No pressure, Luka Doncic. All you accept to do is booty the bake from Dirk Nowitzki, advertise tickets immediately, be account the barter for Trae Adolescent and a 2019 first-rounder, absolve those European accolades and advice admirers balloon the abode animal aggravation aspersion that resulted in your buyer accepting broiled on The Jump. Then, and alone then, may you about-face 20. –P.S.T.
The Quote: “If you anticipate he’s a game-changing amateur for you, a franchise-changing player, you don’t affliction about your aing pick. You aloof appetite that player.” –Owner Mark Cuban on Doncic
The Number: 31.75 (Doncic’s regular-season basis rating, a EuroLeague metric for quantifying a player’s absolute performance, the accomplished there in a decade)
What acclimated to be a accumulating of appealing acceptable players is now two ascendant scorers, two two-way wings, a abundant big man who’s additionally their best passer, and a abysmal bench. But is it the approaching yet? The Celtics are acceptable abundant to accomplish the Finals now. What are they accommodating to do to win them eventually than later? –B.J.
The Quote: “Everybody has a job to do. Brad’s job is to administer amphitheatre time and administer all sorts of stuff. That’s why he’s the coach.” –Jayson Tatum, to Boston.com
The Number: 4,590 (Combined ’17-18 account for Tatum and Jaylen Brown in their age-19 and age-21 years)
Fred Hoiberg was already nicknamed the Mayor; he actually accustomed applicant votes during the 1993 mayoral acclamation in Ames, Iowa. But in Chicago, the Mayor’s approval appraisement has hit an best low. The Bulls had hoped Hoiberg was a guru; what they got was 110 wins in three seasons. There should be an abhorrent anarchy coming. It aloof ability not be the affectionate the Mayor survives. –P.S.T.
The Quote: “I anticipate if you absorb yourself with [job security], you’re activity to accept a boxy time accomplishing your job.” –Fred Hoiberg, to The Athletic
The Number: 2% (Bulls’ allowance of authoritative the playoffs, academy than alone the Hawks, Suns and Kings)
There aren’t abounding one-year wonders in the NBA, but are we a little agitated abroad about a aggregation whose additional advantage abaft Victor Oladipo is Bojan Bogdanovic? That additional advantage should be Myles Turner, but it isn’t yet, and it won’t be until we see it happen. –B.J.
The Quote: “We accept a adventitious to bawl loud: ‘Here we are, and we’re activity to be boxy to beat.’ It could go in the added administration too.” –Pacers admiral Kevin Pritchard
The Number: 45% (Increase in Oladipo’s scoring from his aftermost division in OKC to his aboriginal with Indiana)
The Hawks don’t appetite 6-foot-2 Trae Adolescent to analyze himself to Steph Curry — admitting the actuality that his new GM, Travis Schlenk, acclimated to assignment for the Warriors and chose to barter Luka Doncic, the best Euro anticipation ever, for Young, the fifth all-embracing aces in June. Acceptable luck! No, actively — acceptable luck: Adolescent attempt 27 percent from 3 in summer league. –P.S.T.
The Quote: “He blew up and got civic acceptance because of the shooting, but to us, his best asset today is his passing.” –Travis Schlenk on Young, to CBS Sports
The Number: 36% (Young’s 3-point allotment in his final academy year, compared to Curry’s 38.7%)
Nikola Jokic is admired by those who watch way added basketball than the boilerplate fan. And the activity for the Nuggets has consistently been to use home-altitude advantage and outscore teams. If Jokic can advice with that, aegis will be the accommodation — and he has a arrangement that suggests the Nuggets accept fabricated accord with that. –B.J.
The Quote: “You put Nikola on Olynyk, they put him on the action-on James Johnson, on the action.” –Coach Mike Malone, to The Denver Post
The Number: 220 (Jokic’s arresting appraisement rank aftermost season, 53rd amid centers)
The Lakers and Clippers allotment the aforementioned amphitheatre in the aforementioned way that Iron Man and Artery Pedestrian #2 are both in Infinity War. Can you name a Clipper at this point? Would you admit one on the street? Their better draws — besides Boban Marjanovic — are area and cap space. A abundant blueprint for an A-lister who doesn’t apperception activity like a B-minus. –P.S.T.
The Quote: “There was aloof so abundant pettiness. Like, Donald Trump-level pettiness.” –JJ Re on his aftermost canicule in LA, to Pardon My Take
The Number: $57M (Cap amplitude the Clippers could accept aing summer)
Being bad and amphitheatre in the Mountain time area is a abundant way to get forgotten; if you’re attractive for Tyson Chandler, he’s here. But are these youngsters up for amphitheatre a d of Survivor? At some point, some of that abeyant allegation be adapted into success, and that usually requires a few aboveboard adults. –B.J.
The Quote: “We appetite to be in June on TV.” –Coach Igor Kokoskov, to The Associated Press
The Number: 24.3 (Suns’ boilerplate age, abounding by minutes, aftermost division — the NBA’s youngest)
Teams dream of landing a adolescent bouncer like Donovan Mitchell and a adolescent big like Rudy Gobert. But they accept nightmares about those aforementioned two players declining to coexist. In theory, it should work: Gobert prides himself on defense, while Mitchell is volume-scoring his way to stardom. But for two aspirational alphas, celebrity can be a zero-sum game. –P.S.T.
The Quote: “You don’t accept to be best friends. The ambition is to win a championship.” –Rudy Gobert, to The Salt Lake Tribune
The Number: 187 (Mitchell’s 3-pointers fabricated aftermost season, a amateur record)
It allegation be someone’s job to accomplish abiding no one tells the bang-up that Jimmy Butler is absorbed in advancing to Brooklyn, because there’s no cogent what Mikhail Prokhorov would accord up to get a brilliant in his prime. The catechism is how continued it’ll booty the Nets to do so, aback it feels like their aftermost first-round aces was Kerry Kittles. –B.J.
The Quote: “What bothers me sometimes are the adulation you get after: ‘Oh, they played so hard.'” –Nets drillmaster Kenny Atkinson
The Number: $193M (The Nets’ amount in 2013-14, the accomplished in NBA history)
The greatest ambush the Magic anytime pulled was acceptable the alliance they didn’t exist. While Philly got abandoned for tanking, Orlando’s best division of the accomplished six peaked, quietly, at 35 wins. The difference? The Magic didn’t appetite to lose. I think. Orlando cycled through four coaches in that span, which makes it adamantine to analyze amid amateurishness and intent. –P.S.T.
The Quote: “Our fan abject is atrocious for wins, and we feel the weight of that.” –Jeff Weltman, admiral of basketball operations, to NBA.com
The Number: .319 (Win % aback Dwight Howard was traded in 2012)
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