As the NBA gears up for the start of its 74th season, we take a look ahead to who might make it all the way to the NBA Finals in Summer 2020. With plenty of consistent performers and new talent, as well as old warriors (no pun intended) and great players, the season could be an electric one.
This basketball season is already shaping up to be an absolute classic, but the battle lines for the playoffs next year are already being drawn. So, who can you expect to see in next year’s match-up, and how might it all go down?
We break down the contenders, the highlights, and the possible outcome of the biggest night in basketball.
The Raptors celebrate their Championship. Photo: Toronto Times.
The Big Teams
Perennial contenders, young guns, and those hungry to prove a point: these teams are out to show they mean business in the battle to be playing in the playoffs come January.
In no particular order, they are the following.
- Toronto Raptors – Last year’s Champs face an uphill battle to repeat last year’s heroics, with free agent legend Kawhi Leonard departing for the Clippers after their Championship win. The quiet but brilliant star was a huge factor in their historic run.
- Los Angeles Lakers – After a disappointing season last year for LeBron James and his team, where off-court issues seemed to dictate things at times, the Lakers will be looking to make their mark and return ‘King James’ to the playoffs.
- Golden State Warriors – The pre-eminent franchise in basketball came close to increasing the legend of this particular dynasty, led by Steph Curry, last time around. But they came up short at 2-4 to the Raptors and will be looking for Curry and others to make the big plays this time around, as they surely make the playoffs for another year.
- New Orleans Pelicans – He hasn’t played a single game of professional basketball yet, but Zion Williamson has done a sterling job of sky-rocketing the sport’s profile internationally. The unbelievable young star, whose size and physical ability have already drawn comparisons with LeBron, Shaq, and other superstars, joins a team that has lost some of its stars but still has the potential to shine.
- Boston Celtics – Another franchise from New England that can constantly produce winning teams. Don’t sleep on the Celtics, who enjoyed a comfortable sweep of the Pacers in the first round of last year’s playoffs but succumbed to a strong Bucks team.
- Los Angeles Clippers – The destination for the victorious Leonard, the Clippers are gearing up for a sunshine state battle for hearts and minds, with the Warriors, the Lakers, and the Clippers all competing not just for a jam-packed Western Pacific Conference, but to be California’s greatest team.
Predictions for the NBA Finals
It’s always so difficult to guess how a season where so much can change might shape up. There’s half a dozen teams not on that list who all have a brilliant chance to make it to a Championship series.
But if we’re staking our claim, here’s our prediction for the finale next year.
Lakers vs Celtics
The Lakers come up triumphant in the free-for-all fight that will be the Western Conference, despite fierce competition from the Warriors in particular.
The Celtics stay consistent to win in the East, setting up another classic Boston-LA showdown.
Final Score: Lakers Win 4-1
Lebron lets the legend increase with another brilliant Championship victory, combining with AD to dominate the Celtics in a one-sided Finals series.
You heard it here first… Let’s see what happens in the NBA Finals.