The NBA is as evenly distributed talent wise as it has been since LeBron’s valiant return to Cleveland in 2014. And in 90’s throwback fashion, the narrative of the season is dominated by the dynamic duos which have formed all across the league. Tonight is like Christmas morning for all of us NBA fans as the Association always has incredible match-ups on tap for opening night.
The evening will kick off with the Pelicans facing off against the defending champion Raptors. The game has been tainted a bit with #1 overall pick Zion Williamson out for two months with a meniscus injury. As well as Kawhi Leonard leaving Toronto for the bright lights of Los Angeles in free agency. But the game serves as the starting point of the 2019-20 season, and that’ll make it worth the watch as two young cores face off.
The creme de la creme of the night comes in the form of “The Battle of Staples Center.” Newly acquired Clippers, Kawhi Leonard & Paul George (out with injury), will face off against LeBron James & Anthony Davis of the Lakers. It’s just game one of the season, but watching how head coaches Doc Rivers & Frank Vogel use their newly acquired pieces to attack the other is worth noting as well. Both duos have the opportunity to be one of the best the NBA has seen in sometime.
LeBron James is entering his 17th season in the league. Obviously thoughts of fatigue creep into one’s mind when thinking of how many minutes LeBron has racked up over those years. But the man spends an enormous amount of his wealth on body conditioning and care yearly. I would be shocked if he didn’t have a satisfactory night against a formidable opponent.
When NBA GM’s are asked which player they would choose to start a franchise, most answer with either Giannis Antetokounmpo or Anthony Davis. Davis is a premiere forward/center hybrid who’s defensive ability is absolutely staggering. In the last few seasons, his offensive game has taken leaps. He’s become a consistent jump shooter with an efficient back to the basket game. He can switch every screen and provides incredible flexibility to the Lakers defense. On paper, he seems to be the perfect player to match with LeBron in the effort to bring the Lakers back to prominence.
As for Kawhi Leonard & Paul George, I can’t recall the last time two dominant defensive wings of this caliber suited up for the same team. The two also posses the ability to create their own shot and score at will. If both are fresh and healthy, this team could be a defensive juggernaut when paired with the likes of Patrick Beverly and Montrezl Harrell. Kawhi Leonard is coming off a Finals MVP and is at the height of his powers. PG has been struggling with shoulder trouble, but before the flair up, he was playing at a MVP caliber level last season. If both can sync, we could be looking at the future NBA champs.
I keep having to remind myself it’s just opening night, pump the brakes a bit, but we could be potentially watching a Western Conference Finals preview tonight. LeBron James, Kawhi Leonard, Anthony Davis, and Paul George are four of the biggest names in basketball. Tonight, three of the four will share the floor (Paul George is sidelined with an injury.) Strap in because this should be an incredible match-up with major playoff implications.