The paint isn’t dry on the championship success by the Toronto Raptors yet but already excitement ahead of the new season is building following the NBA draft. The Raptors will be looking to add to their first NBA Championship, while the Golden State Warriors will be hoping that the defeat in the final series means that their time of dominance has come to an end.
The 2019/20 season could be one of the most open in recent seasons with a host of teams potentially looking like champions already. The battle between the Los Angeles sides will be fascinating, while the Milwaukee Bucks and the Philadelphia 76ers will also be in contention. There are so many interesting questions being asked, but which teams have the best chance of succeeding in NBA?
Los Angeles Clippers – favourites to win NBA 2019/20 Season
The Clippers are rightly the market leaders at this early stage. They won 48 games last season; including two wins over the Golden State Warriors when they were at full strength. The arrival of Paul George made them contenders, but the signing of Kawhi Leonard from the Toronto Raptors has undoubtedly tilted the scales in their favour. Leonard was the leading light for the Raptors last season in their maiden success as he contributed 20 points per game in the finals. He could join prestigious company in John Salley and Robert Horry as players to have won three championships with three different franchises.
The Clippers’ depth is what sets them apart, and nobody in the NBA can doubt that fact. As well as that they have an elite defence and offence and that rightly makes them the team to beat this NBA season.
Los Angeles Clippers - 3.10 with STS to win Western Conference
Strong in NBA – Los Angeles Lakers
Los Angeles will be a fun place for basketball next season as their cross-city rivals also have an enormous chance at delivering the NBA title. Last season was a disappointment for the franchise and their star man LeBron James. James missed out on the playoffs for the first time since 2005, and you can be sure that he will be back fresher and better than ever. The Lakers missed a golden opportunity to close the gap on the Clippers by pursuing Leonard. In their pursuit, they missed out on the chance of signing other top players in the free agency. Although, they did add DeMarcus Cousins and Danny Green to their roster, which was smart business.
Unlike the Clippers, depth will be an issue for the Lakers should they get injuries to star players. However, James and Davis ensure that they have a credible chance, and should they make the playoffs then these stars will come alive with 20-plus points per game.
Los Angeles Lakers - 3.80 with STS to win Western Conference
Golden State Warriors wants to win NBA 2019/20 Season
The talk of the Warriors demise has been largely overplayed in the States, and while it is true they lost their title to the Raptors, and they have seen Kevin Durant, and Andre Iguodala leave; they remain a side with the best offensive and defensive players in the league. Not only this, but they will start the next season with three All-Stars in their starting line-up. Steph Curry will be crucial to their chances, as will Draymond Green. If the duo can be fit for the entire campaign and the Warriors can get Klay Thompson back in peak fitness for the start of the playoffs, then there is no reason why the dynasty ends with their 2019 defeat.
While they might not have the talent in defence like the Lakers or Clippers; their ability to outscore their opponents is the best tool in their arsenal. The Warriors will likely land in the No. 5 seed, and you will be sure that no team will want to play them in the opening rounds of the playoffs.
Golden State Warriors - 8.00 with STS to win Western Conference
Champions of NBA 2018/20 Season - Toronto Raptors
The departure of Kawhi Leonard will undoubtedly leave a massive hole in the Raptors side, and that’s why they are priced so high in the betting market. The influence that he had on the side was superhuman, and it can’t be argued that they will be worse off without him. However, even without Leonard, they haven’t become a terrible side. They still boast talent across the roster in the forms of OG Anunoby, Pascal Siakam, Kyle Lowry and Marc Gasol. There is more than enough there to start with, and the Raptors can build on that.
Toronto’s owners have always been clever in their business, and a possible return to the Scotiabank for Vince Carter has been spoken about. This scenario would be a dream for the fans, but unfortunately it won't happen. Toronto fans will be relaxed heading into the new season, as they have possibly the best coach in the NBA at the helm, and if anybody can work wonders for them next season; it will be Nick Nurse.
Toronto Raptors - 11.00 with STS to win Eastern Conference
Which NBA Team Comes Out On Top?
It is particularly difficult to say at this point, but it is hugely likely that the eventual winners will come out of the Western Conference, and a case can be made for the Lakers, Clippers and Golden State. History also backs that up, with four of the last six winners coming from the west. The only exceptions to that rule were a LeBron James inspired Cleveland in 2016 and the feel-good story of last season and the Toronto Raptors.
This NBA season looks to be a straight battle between the Lakers and Clippers, with James and Kawhi Leonard going head to head as cross-city rivals. The conference finals could be intriguing, and these two are likely to create worldwide headlines when they finally meet on the grandest stage. However, the preference at this early stage would be for the Clippers, as the signing of Leonard was a game-changer and their roster is all-rounded more so than the Lakers. And if that is to happen, it will be a history-making occasion for the current NBA champion at the Clippers.