The free-agent NBA summer frenzy that has been likened to The Game of Thrones has led us to this moment.
The start of the 2019-2020 NBA season will be underway in a week and with it comes all of the new faces in new places, intense preseason coverage and the gelling of talent-laden Super Teams.
All of this is taking place as a political firestorm between the United States government, Rockets GM Daryl Morey, Lebron James, the NBA, Hong Kong protesters, and communist China warms the media cycle, creating some off the court drama in anticipation of a great season.
LeBron was asked if he understood where the backlash comes from on not speaking out on human rights/freedom of speech issues.
— Yahoo Sports (@YahooSports) October 15, 2019
The East has some heat with the arrival of KD in Brooklyn, but the West is clearly the dominant Conference as the three-time defending champion Golden State Warriors (minus Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson, plus D’Angelo “Icewater” Russell) are being picked by some basketball analysts to finish out of the playoff race. The Lakers are a popular squad with King James and Anthony Davis.
Houston is looking unpredictable but very formidable with the combination of James Harden and Russell “Mr. Triple Double” Westbrook. #brothersgonnaworkitout
The Clippers, however, are the team that people are California dreaming about. Kawhi Leonard‘s reputation is still riding the high of his historic NBA Championship with Toronto in June. He flipped it and hooked up with Paul George in LA this summer. With mastermind Doc Rivers at the helm, LA’s stepchild team is shooting to the top of the cool list.
According to ESPN, the Clippers have the highest chance of any Western Conference team to win the NBA title at 27.5 % and have the highest projected win total.
Call it the “Kawhi Effect”.
The odds and percentages vary depending upon the outlet and who knows how all of this will shake out, but all signs point to LA as the center of the basketball media universe this season.