The Carolinian Sports Section
The NBA regular season is now underway, and the Golden State Warriors are yet again the favorites to win it all. Do you think they can pull off the threepeat? Will a new team rise to glory? Who wins the MVP award? The sports staff chimes in.
I’m going to have to go with Golden State again. They’re just too good, both on paper and on the court. Presuming that Boogie Cousins gets healthy later in the season, their starting five is literally an All-Star team. That in itself is insanity. Competing teams in both the East and West just don’t have the firepower to match up with GSW. I believe they will end up playing the Boston Celtics in the Finals, which will not be an easy matchup. With Gordon Hayward coming off of a serious leg injury and a relative lack of team playoff experience, I don’t think they will be able to topple the empire that is Golden State.
Of course Golden State would be the favorites, they have five All-Stars on their team. They definitely have the necessary pieces to three-peat this year. However, I think the time has come for a new team to take the Warriors down a notch. Assuming Golden State makes it out of the West and the Boston Celtics make it out of the East, I have the Boston beating Golden State in the Finals. Yes, the infamous Golden State are not invincible. I think Boston can make them bleed a little. Boston is a team that has depth, a resilient coach in Brad Stevens, and the strongest young core in Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, etc. If anyone could pull it off, it’s Boston. In terms of who’s winning MVP, I would have to go with King James. The pressure is on LeBron, as always. A majority of the Lakers fan base feel LeBron has something to prove. I think LeBron feels he has nothing to prove, and I think he is going to ball out and stand apart this season.
Team USA should definitely be the favorites heading into this season. Did I say Team USA? I meant to say the Golden State Warriors. It’s easy to get the two confused seeing as they currently have six gold medalists on their roster. Their opponent will be the Toronto Raptors led by a fully unleashed Kawhi Leonard free to play in an offense tailored to him. In terms of awards, I expect the MVP race to come down to Anthony Davis and Giannis Antetokounmpo, the sole All-Stars on teams that should both make their way to the playoffs. I’m convinced that the media has conspired to ensure LeBron James never wins another MVP, the Warriors automatically eliminate each other and I also don’t see James Harden repeating from last year.
LeBron has taken his talents to LA this time and wherever the King goes wins are sure to follow. I think they challenge for the title right away. He took a team that couldn’t make the Final Four in college to the NBA Finals last season and was a bad call and a J.R. Smith episode away from winning Game 1 on Golden State’s home court. Maybe the youthful talent on the Lakers roster can reenergize James in his 16th season. Of course, the Warriors will be a tough out, and the Rockets and Thunder make the Western Conference an absolute gauntlet. In the East, I see the Celtics as the most talented and deepest team. Pair that with the best young coach in the game in Brad Stevens and Boston should be making their first Finals appearance since the days of the Big 3.
This season is going to be interesting to say the least, as the Western Conference is completely loaded with talent. But the Golden State Warriors are a different type of talent. The only team that can keep up with them is Houston and the Lakers later on down the line this season with the addition of Lebron James. But the Golden State Warriors will meet a similar team to them in the Boston Celtics and they will lose, and the Celtics will get a ring this year. They are completely loaded, athletic and long. I believe it will go seven games but I see the Celtics taking it all the way this year. As far as the MVP I have a few names in mind; Anthony Davis, Lebron James, Kyrie Irving and Kawhi Leonard, but ultimately it’s Lebron’s MVP to lose, I feel like he will win it again this year.
Listen, I know everyone besides people in the Bay Area and bandwagoners are sick of the Warriors winning, and that day will come, but it won’t be in 2019. The Warriors will glide through the regular season, perhaps enter the playoffs as a two-seed or even three-seed, but they won’t be denied once they get rolling in May. Even if Demarcus Cousins returns as half of the player he once was, the Warriors’ All-Star lineup of doom will be far too much for any team to handle. The Warriors will complete the threepeat and set their sights on a coveted four-peat. As for MVP, I have a gut feeling it will go to Kawhi Leonard. In an unfettered offense designed for him, he’ll be putting nearly 30 points per game. Combine that with his stifling defense and he’ll be the most valuable player to his team in the League.