The NBA’s 2019-2020 regular season will tip off on Tuesday with promising clashes in store after the league’s power balance was restored through summer moves between teams.
In the off season, Kawhi Leonard, the league’s most recent Most Valuable Player (MVP) in the finals, decided to move to the Los Angeles Clippers, marking the end on the league’s era of power trios.
While the Toronto Raptors, the only franchise in Canada, will look to protect their title — the first in their franchise history after beating the Golden State Warriors 4-2 in the finals series — many other teams are hungry for the Larry O’Brien trophy.
All eyes will be on the Lakers and the Clippers, both L.A. teams. They beefed up their squads over the summer — the Lakers acquired superstar Anthony Davis to team up with Lebron James, while the Clippers got two superstars at once, Kawhi Leonard and Paul George.
The Houston Rockets, who have chased the elusive title since 1995, got Russell Westbrook to pair with James Harden, in a trade that sent Chris Paul to the Oklahoma City Thunder.
The Warriors, having appeared in the last five NBA Finals, managed to bag three titles in their run, led by Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, and Kevin Durant.
But Durant, the 2017 and 2018 Finals MVP, decided to part ways with the Warriors and signed with the Brooklyn Nets, pairing up with Kyrie Irving, who also left his team — the Boston Celtics — after the last season ended.
The Philadelphia 76ers will also look to capture the trophy with their young guns Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons. They also strengthened their roster with Al Horford.
Meanwhile, Turkish players in the NBA are also ready for the new season.
The Cleveland Cavaliers’ Cedi Osman made a solid showing last season, averaging 13 points and 4.7 rebounds.
Like last season, the Milwaukee Bucks’ seasoned Ersan Ilyasova will add his veteran experience from 11 years in the league, as he also wants to take the title with his team, led by the league’s 2019 MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo.
The Bucks made the Eastern Conference finals last season, but faltered against the Raptors, the current champions.
The 76ers’ Furkan Korkmaz, another Turkish international, also extended his stay with the club until 2021.
- 3 matches outside US, Canada
This year three matches will be played outside the U.S. and Canada.
In Mexico City, the Dallas Mavericks will face the Detroit Pistons on Dec. 13 and the San Antonio Spurs will take on the Phoenix Suns on Dec. 15.
Across the Atlantic, the Charlotte Hornets will play the Milwaukee Bucks next January in Paris.
A total of 30 clubs will vie in the NBA finals, while the 2020 series starting on June 4.
The Boston Celtics have clinched the most championships, with 17 NBA titles, while Celtics legend Bill Russell has the most championships under his belt, having won 11 trophies in his 13-year career.
Teams with the most titles:
- Boston Celtics: 17
Los Angeles Lakers: 16
Chicago Bulls and Golden State Warriors: 6
Players with the most championships:
- Bill Russell (Boston Celtics): 11
Sam Jones (Boston Celtics): 10
Tom Heinsohn (Boston Celtics): 8
K.C. Jones (Boston Celtics): 8
Tom “Satch” Sanders (Boston Celtics): 8
John Havlicek (Boston Celtics): 8
Schedule for Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday:
New Orleans Pelicans – Toronto Raptors
Los Angeles Lakers – LA Clippers
Charlotte Hornets – Chicago Bulls
Indiana Pacers – Detroit Pistons
Orlando Magic – Cleveland Cavaliers
Brooklyn Nets – Minnesota Timberwolves
Miami Heat – Memphis Grizzlies
Philadelphia 76ers – Boston Celtics
Dallas Mavericks – Washington Wizards
San Antonio Spurs – New York Knicks
Utah Jazz – Oklahoma City Thunder
Phoenix Suns – Sacramento Kings
Portland Trail Blazers – Denver Nuggets
Detroit Pistons – Atlanta Hawks
Houston Rockets – Milwaukee Bucks
Golden State Warriors – Los Angeles Clippers
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