Waiting Until Their Superstar Returns
- 10. Indiana Pacers
- 11. Brooklyn Nets
- 12. Golden State Warriors
Indiana doesn’t have a return date for Victor Oladipo, so the additions of Malcolm Brogdon, TJ Warren and Jeremy Lamb will provide the offensive punch the team didn’t have during his absence in the playoffs. Lamb has become one of the best scorers off the bench in the league in Charlotte. Now he will be in the starting lineup to start the season. But when Victor returns (Potentially at the end of the December and I’m guessing on that one), it allows Lamb to return to the sniper role off the bench and allow Warren to slide into the small forward spot.
Using Oladipo as a play maker allows Warren to get easier shots and Brogdon to continue to be a knockdown shooter from anywhere. Because if Victor gets back to his all-star level this season, the Pacers have enough talent to become a dark-horse team to make the NBA Finals in the Eastern Conference.
Brooklyn spent their summer adding the best player (Kevin Durant) in the league. But there is a “Big” possibility that he will miss the entire 2019-2020 season with an Achilles injury. Until his return at some point, the Nets also added Kyrie Irving to take the reigns for his hometown team. When he’s on, Irving is one of the best players in the entire league. With a current roster that has Jarrett Allen, Caris LeVert, DeAndre Jordan and Spencer Dinwiddie, Brooklyn is a top-5 team right now in the Eastern Conference.
You can only imagine how good they will be if (I’m saying late March) Durant returns to the lineup. So if Durant does come back this year at 90% of the player he was and he’s not playing a full allotment of minutes (at the risk of another injury). the Brooklyn Nets will WIN the Eastern Conference.
The Golden State Warriors have made the NBA Finals in each of the last 5 seasons. But with Durant, Shaun Livingston, Andre Igoudala, and DeMarcus Cousins all gone and All-Star sharpshooter Klay Thompson injured (expected back around February), the Warriors might be ready for a bit of a down season. At the same time, Golden State still has 3 All-Stars (Russell and Draymond Green) and one them is Stephen Curry. So the idea of a down season, might not last long.
For those counting out the Warriors, they will have their up and down moments in the beginning of the season. When Thompson returns, expect the Warriors to flourish, be able to scare any team in the Western Conference in the playoffs and end up in the NBA Finals conversation in late May.