It’s that time of the year again; tickets are being sold, fantasy basketball owners are drafting, and fiery NBA debates are being argued. That can only mean one thing…the season is here. With the arrival of this new season, NBA fans everywhere are hoping the best for their teams. While some of these teams will fulfill and even exceed their fans hopes, there will also be some that disappoint. With this being said, here are TSW’s predicted seedings heading into the 2020 season.
- Denver Nuggets – Plain and simple, the Denver Nuggets have what it takes to be a 60-win team this year. The star power is there, they have the depth, coaching is one of the last things they need to worry about, and the nucleus has remained almost completely intact from last season. Expect a big regular season from the Mile High City.
- Los Angeles Clippers – Making arguably the biggest splash in free agency, the Clippers were able to acquire both Kawhi Leonard and Paul George. With this star power combining with everything else that’s been consistently great with the Clippers the last couple of years, they’re looking like the NBA’s best team. However, due to an injury to Paul George and adjustments to be made, the Clippers early season record may falter a bit. Even so, the team is full of winners and, despite not having George or Leonard last year, they still managed to push their way into a loaded postseason. Now with the two superstars, this team also appears to be a top two seed out west.
- Utah Jazz – Last season, the Utah Jazz had the 14th ranked offensive rating and the 2nd ranked defense rating. This season, that offensive rating looks to spike up. Despite losing some key defensive pieces, most notably Ricky Rubio and Derrick Favors, they were able to make up for this by adding star point guard Mike Conley and offensive and defensive threat Bojan Bogdanovic. The combination of these factors and most likely little load management should be enough to lead the Jazz to a top seed out west.
- Houston Rockets – Arguably the team with the largest range of possibilities this regular season, the Rockets come into 2020 with a hefty chip on their shoulder. Their biggest addition, Russell Westbrook, already seems to be bonding with James Harden, hopefully taking out the large threat of chemistry issues. Nonetheless, their play styles do clash quite a bit, and it will largely be up to the coaching to decide what to do about this concern. Staggering minutes is a likely solution, but it’s yet to be seen what will happen when the best five are on the court. In short, while the optimism is there for this team, and should be enough for home court advantage, there are also some apparent questions that will have to be solved in order for a deep run.
- Los Angeles Lakers – Take a deep breath, this placement isn’t as bad as it looks. Remember, the regular season doesn’t define the playoff success of this team, it merely defines the regular season success. Now, while saying any team with LeBron James and Anthony Davis not getting home court advantage seems absurd, there are legitimate points to back up that this is a real possibility. Firstly, with a completely different personnel and coach, it’s going to take some time for this team to figure things out. Secondly, just like the Clippers, load management is going to kick in most likely, and we all know that James led teams don’t always go all out in the regular season. While home court may be up in the air, they won’t have to go all out to comfortably creep their way into the playoffs.
- Portland Trailblazers – NBA fans have become almost numb to the Blazers shocking the rest of the league at this point. For this, it shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise if the Blazers once again come into the postseason with home court advantage. For now however, the rest of the west just appears to be too good for a Blazers team that stayed in a relatively similar position to last year. The team’s offense looks good this season, and they should be among the league leaders in rebounds, but they will need to rely on their big men in order to stay in the middle of the pack defensively. While they don’t look like a force out west, they certainly have the potential to make a splash.
- Golden State Warriors – Yet another controversial seeding prediction, that yet again should have no real correlation to the postseason. The reasoning for this prediction can be summarized in one sentence: Until fully healthy, the Golden State Warriors will be a tale of two sides of the ball. While the offense should remain elite with the likes of MVP candidate Stephen Curry and the dynamic D’Angelo Russell, the defense is due for a regression with Klay Thompson out until late in the season and Kevin Durant taking his talents to Brooklyn. While there are some talented defensive pieces, it remains to be seen just how big of an impact they make, making this team’s performance in the regular season a huge question mark. However, the biggest surprise may come in the postseason, especially if they become the Western Conference champions as the seventh seed.
- San Antonio Spurs – If there’s one thing that hasn’t changed in the NBA over the last twenty seasons, it’s the fact that the San Antonio Spurs always find themselves in the midst of postseason basketball. The last couple seasons have proved a struggle to make it thus far, and this season will most likely be much of the same. With little change in the roster, and Dejounte Murray coming back from injury, the Spurs just barely sneak their way into the postseason.