The 2018-19 NBA season tips off


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Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid skies in for a rebound against the Washington Wizards. Embiid is a key player on what many expect to be a championship contending team this season.

After a long offseason dominated by player movement, the NBA is finally back for the 2018-19 season. As the Golden State Warriors look to defend their championship and the 29 other teams seeking revenge, the new season comes along with several new storylines and situations worth watching.

The biggest news over the summer came from the Los Angeles Lakers, with LeBron James (arguably the greatest player to touch a basketball) taking his talents to one of the NBA’s most successful franchises. James signed a four year, $154 million contract, binding himself to the City of Angels until 2022. The Lakers hope that James can speed up a sputtering rebuilding project, in which young stars Lonzo Ball and Brandon Ingram can shine alongside James.

“The Lakers just made themselves the team to beat out West,” senior Kamyab Pirouz said. “Anytime you can add the best player on the planet, you do it. LeBron will turn the Lakers into a title contender this year and will put up a fight against the Warriors in the playoffs.”

With James out of the Eastern Conference for the first time in his fifteen-year career, plenty of teams will be jostling for playoff spots in hopes of a Finals appearance. Many believe that the Toronto Raptors, Philadelphia 76ers and Boston Celtics are leading the pack in the race for the Eastern Conference title.

“The Celtics will take the top seed and make the Finals. They have so much depth, and the returns of Kyrie Irving and [Gordon] Hayward combined with the growth of Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown will propel them to the top of the East,” senior Luel Alemu said.

The class of rookies this season also looks to be spectacular. A plethora of big-name players were taken in the 2018 draft, and the Rookie of the Year race looks to be as tight as ever. Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton, Sacramento Kings forward Marvin Bagley III and Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic will be hoping to take the league by storm, but only one can lift the coveted Rookie of the Year trophy.

“It’s definitely going to be Deandre Ayton,” senior Nick Blanco said. “The Suns are going to give him a ton of chances to prove himself as the top overall pick, and I think that him and Devin Booker are going to form a deadly pick-and-roll partnership.”

Another hot debate is over the Most Valuable Player award. LeBron James has been regarded by many as the league’s best player for the past decade, yet holds only four MVPs to his name, with voters favoring statistical performances over team success. Sophomore Niko Bolbasis sees this trend continuing this season.

“I don’t think James will win it this year,” Bolbasis said. “The Lakers will be good, but he won’t play as many minutes. I think that Anthony Davis or Kawhi Leonard will win the MVP, since they’ll take over the majority of their team’s offense and put up ridiculous numbers on a nightly basis.”

With various questions and debates heating up, the new NBA season is certainly something to pay attention this year.