2018 NBA offseason recap
NBA season preview: It's been a wild summer
Words— Kyle Bernard
If you were looking forward to big trades and maybe even a few fireworks during the 2018 offseason, the NBA definitely didn’t disappoint. Last season, the league truly cemented itself as a cultural phenomenon, but the power moves and storylines that have developed in the past few months have all the makings of what can only amount to one of the most exciting and memorable seasons in NBA history.
You may have overheard some of the water cooler talk, but if you’ve been too busy working on your tan, we’ve put together a rundown of the best and biggest NBA moments of the summer.
Los Angeles Lakers – Fit for a king
The Lakers aren’t strangers to superstardom, and after landing LeBron James in free agency; they’ve been thrown back into the spotlight. The players, management, and the city of Los Angeles now expect to win at least one championship, if not more, over the course of LeBron’s four-year, $153.3 million dollar contract.
If Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma, and Brandon Ingram continue to improve, L.A. Bron will have a top-tier supporting cast. With the addition of veterans like Rajon Rondo, Lance Stephenson, JaVale McGee, and Michael Beasley, the Lakers will be a matchup nightmare for any opposing team.
Boston Celtics – Gang green
There’s no such thing as too much talent, but Boston’s getting pretty close. Last season, the Celtics made it to within one game of the NBA finals. But here’s the catch, they were missing two of their best players: superstar point guard Kyrie Irving, and one of the best small forwards in the league, Gordon Hayward. With a full and healthy roster going as deep as nine very talented players, the Celtics are looking flat out scary.
Gordon Hayward/Kyrie Irving pick-and-rolls will be fun. Watch in these three plays how the Celtics invert the action, first with Hayward screening for Irving, then Irving screening for Hayward. There's so much versatility on this Boston roster. @ringer https://t.co/OL4bDA4STY pic.twitter.com/Dw5iwNEDti— Kevin O'Connor (@KevinOConnorNBA) September 26, 2018
Minnesota Timberwolves – Three the hard way
The T-Wolves have at least three reasons to be one of the best teams in the NBA: Karl-Anthony Towns, Andrew Wiggins, and Jimmy Butler. But the latter isn’t happy. And you won’t like Jimmy when he’s unhappy. At the end of the season, Butler asked to be traded. Why? He didn’t think his teammates were working hard enough. Later in the offseason, during a heated practice, he bluntly told Minnesota’s General Manager, “You fucking need me, Scott! You can’t win without me!” He was then quoted as saying, “Who’s the most talented player on our team? KAT. Who’s the most god-gifted player on our team? Wigs. Who plays the hardest? Me!” The media has had a field day with Butler’s recent eruption. And the dust seems far from settled in Minnesota. But if the T-Wolves can manage to figure things out, they’ll be very hard to beat.
A live look at Jimmy Butler's first practice back with the T-Wolves: pic.twitter.com/4CGWLDi4T3— Amir Blumenfeld (@jakeandamir) October 10, 2018
Dallas Mavericks – International appeal
After being drafted to the Atlanta Hawks and immediately traded to the Mavericks, Luka Dončić has found a home in Dallas, Texas. Despite being only 19 years of age, the Slovenian import is already a EuroLeague MVP and champion. He’s proven to be an international force to be reckoned with. His game is NBA ready. There’s no telling how long it will take for him to truly be comfortable playing in the world’s best basketball league. But when he’s ready, there’s no telling how high his ceiling will be.
Luka Doncic is different 😤😤 pic.twitter.com/IIr0MfmAZm— NBA Inside Stuff (@NBAInside_Stuff) October 13, 2018
San Antonio Spurs – A new sheriff in town
Things are looking very different for the Spurs. After 6 dominant years, and one awkward, injury-riddled, controversial year in San Antonio, Kawhi Leonard is no longer in black, white, and grey. And he’s left some big shoes to fill. A kid from Compton, former Toronto Raptors leader and MVP candidate, DeMar DeRozan, has replaced him. What does DeRozan bring to the table? All-Star calibre leadership, with the skills, athleticism, and chip on his shoulder to match.
Toronto Raptors – The king in the north
They say it’s the quiet ones you have to look out for. Truer words have never been spoken when it comes to Kawhi Leonard. Don’t be fooled by his muted demeanour and time off the court. Just one season ago, Kawhi was a top contender for Most Valuable Player in the NBA. If Leonard remains happy with the Raptors organization and healthy, he could easily be the missing piece to the Raptors puzzle. Who knows? He may even become the first star ever to propel the franchise onto the biggest stage of all: the NBA finals.
HAPPY NBA DAY pic.twitter.com/eL95qUD1eP— Count Markula (@tole_cover) October 16, 2018
Houston Rockets – Houston, we have a problem
Recording 65 wins during last year’s regular season, 15 of which without their veteran leader and star point guard Chris Paul, the Houston Rockets were almost unstoppable. James Harden, the 2017-2018 NBA MVP had a stellar scoring year, filling the basket from seemingly anywhere on the court. Although the Rockets eventually fell short in game 7 of the Western Conference finals, they are not to be overlooked.
They’ve since added 15-year veteran and elite scoring machine Carmelo Anthony to their roster. When we say there’s a problem in Houston, it’s for the opposing team.
"My bad."— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) October 3, 2018
- Melo to the Rockets bench after hitting a long mid-range jumper instead of a 3 😂 pic.twitter.com/j1txRyJCKD
Golden State Warriors – How the west was won
The Golden State Warriors are chasing legacy. They’ve won 3 championships in the past 4 years, and are in pursuit of their third NBA title in a row. There’s not much to be said about the Warriors that isn’t already known. Steph Curry is one of, if not the best shooter in NBA history. Klay Thompson rivals Curry’s shooting ability but is also widely regarded as one of the best defenders in the NBA. Kevin Durant is arguably the best scorer in the world. Draymond Green is a great all-around player, intense defender, and Golden State’s emotional leader.
With the acquisition of DeMarcus Cousins, one of the most skilled and dominant big men in the league, the Warriors are the early fan favourites to be crowned champions for the 2018-2019 season.
"Lakers sign LeBron"— BLACK ADAM SCHEFTER (@B1ackSchefter) July 2, 2018
"Lakers sign JaVale McGee"
"Lakers sign Lance Stephenson"
"Lakers sign Rajon Rondo"
With everything that’s happened, how can you not be excited for this season to start? The stage is definitely set. Let’s play ball.