One more month until the NBA is back. One more month until we can see Stephen Curry hitting threes, Giannis Antetokounmpo dunking on everyone, and Russell Westbrook refusing to pass. It’s exciting after our four-month hiatus earlier this year. Since Opening Day is near, here are some of my predictions for what opening day of the NBA could look like.
Game 1: Los Angeles Clippers at Toronto Raptors
Kawhi Leonard and Serge Ibaka return to Toronto, playing with each other for the first time since their Finals win. Both teams disappointingly lost in the second round last year despite having championship aspirations. The Clippers have a core of Kawhi Leonard, Lou Williams, and Paul George. The Raptors have a core of Pascal Siakam, Fred VanVleet, and Kyle Lowry. The NBA shows off it’s star power with two very well-rounded teams. This game will go down to the wire and be a great watch.
Game 2: Memphis Grizzlies at Los Angeles Lakers
The NBA champion has to start with a home game, which brings us to the Staples Center. They celebrate the team’s success last year, give out rings, and then play a thrilling game of basketball. I think the NBA gives the reigning champions an easier opponent on opening night to make them seem even more dominant. The Grizzlies are not a bad team, nor are they great, but a decent team that hopes to make the playoffs. The Grizzlies are perfect in this regard as they have Ja Morant, who is incredibly fun to watch. LeBron James and Anthony Davis get to go against the young Grizzlies on opening day and take the W.
Game 3: Golden State Warriors at Brooklyn Nets
Stephen Curry vs. Kyrie Irving. Stephen Curry vs. Kevin Durant. I know I used Curry twice here. But Klay Thompson is out for the year so the Warriors after tearing his Achilles last week, so Curry is their lone wolf, surrounded by a decent supporting cast. This game will showcase some of the superstar talent that did not play a whole lot last year due to injury.
Game 4: Atlanta Hawks at Dallas Mavericks
This isn’t a game between two star-studded teams. This is a game between Luka Doncic and Trae Young, two of the top young players in the NBA who were traded for each other on draft night just two years ago. With Kristaps Porzingis hurt, and John Collins‘ contract negotiations going to plan, this matchup highlights the future of the NBA. Expect lots of offense between the two teams, and both Young and Doncic score upwards of 40 points each. Luka Doncic and Trae Young are the future of the NBA and will put the league on notice this season.
Those are four potential games that the NBA could start off the new season with. They could pick any of these, or even start with a matchup between the Cavaliers and Kings (though I think we all want some more interesting teams). I’m thrilled to watch the NBA in just one month.
Photo: Scott Cunningham