NBA Preseason – A Freshman’s Perspective

by Henry Huang ’27

The National Basketball Association (NBA) is a professional basketball league in North America. The league is composed of 30 teams, divided into the Eastern and Western Conferences. Each team plays 82 games during the regular season, which runs from October to April. The top 10 teams from each conference qualify for the playoffs, which culminate in the NBA Finals, a seven-game series to determine the league champion. The current champions are the Denver Nuggets, with the finals MVP being Nikola Jokic.

I started watching the NBA in 2019, when the Warriors were still good. I regularly watch the NBA and the EPL, especially during the playoffs. The NBA, to me, is very interesting, as the games are all very fast-paced and there is a lot of room for comebacks. The people on the court are always playing and there are a lot less ads than does the NFL, which makes it even more interesting. The halftime commentary is also insightful. Personally, I am a fan of the Mavericks. I think the Mavericks have a lot of room for growth and they will be up-and-coming this season.

  1. Denver Nuggets
    1. With Aaron Gordan and Nikola Jokic at the center of the Nuggets, they are likely to win back-to-back titles to make their first back-to-back title. Murray and Porter Jr. are both young and talented players who are still coming off of injuries. If they can stay healthy, the Nuggets will be one of the most dangerous teams in the league.
  2. Milwaukee Bucks
    1. Even with elimination by the eighth-seed last season, Giannis and Damian Lillard are an unstoppable duo.
  3. Boston Celtics
    1. One of the most exciting young duos in the NBA in Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, and they reached the NBA finals in the two previous years.
  4. Phoenix Suns
    1. A disappointing end last season, but they have a good defense and one of the most explosive offenses in the NBA.
  5. Philadelphia 76ers
    1. They are doing well, but they really need to figure out how to get James Harden and Joel Embiid to play well together,
  6. Los Angeles Lakers
    1. Even with LeBron James, Anthony Davis, and Russell Westbrook, the Lakers have struggled to keep healthy, but they are up and coming.
  7. Memphis Grizzlies
    1. With Ja Morrant and Derrick Rose, the Grizzlies have some of the strongest point guards. The new signing Marcus Smart from the Celtics also improves their team.
  8. Sacramento Kings
    1. They haven’t had any exciting new signings, but they still have a pretty strong team with Sabonis and De’Aaron Fox.
  9. Cleveland Cavaliers
    1. Although they lost to the Knicks in the first round, Max Strus and George Niang have a shot at carrying the team to a higher standing this season.
  10. New Orleans Pelicans
    1. With the health of Zion Williamson and their new No. 14 draft pick Jordan Hawkins, the Pelicans are ready for the upcoming season and expect a couple of new moves in the upcoming weeks.
  11. New York Knicks
    1. With Jalen Brunson and Donte DiVincenzo from the Pacers, the Knicks are likely to finish better than last season, and hopefully make it to the conference finals this season.
  12. Golden State Warriors
    1. With a not-so-great signing of Chris Paul in exchange for three better players, the Golden State Warriors shouldn’t expect any success this season. 
  13. Miami Heat
    1. With a surprising entrance into the finals last season, the Miami Heat fought a good battle last season. However, the loss of Max Strus and Gabe Vincent will deeply impact the Heat, but their successes should still play into this year’s season.
  14. Oklahoma City Thunder
    1. They underperformed a lot last season, not even making it past the play-in. However, with Chet Holmgren fully recovered after missing all of last season for an injury, the Thunder will have a good chance of getting pretty far into the playoffs this season. Furthermore, they added two-time EuroLeague MVP Vasilije Micic, which gives them an even bigger boost.
  15. LA Clippers
    1. We will see how the James Harden situation works out. They can’t really expect anything this season.
  16. Minnesota Timberwolves
    1. The Timberwolves really need to figure out a way to improve their team chemistry, or they’ll find themselves even more down on the table.
  17. Dallas Mavericks
    1. Kudos to the Mavericks for improving the team’s defense lines. Luka Doncic’s commitment to improving his playstyle is undoubtedly also going to help the Mavericks this season.
  18. Indiana Pacers
    1. Recently signed Bruce Brown can really change things up for the Pacers.
  19. Atlanta Hawks
    1. Signing of Dejounte Murray was a valuable one; the release of John Collins was also a thought-out transaction. The Hawks can find themselves higher up on the table this season.
  20. Utah Jazz
    1. Slow and steady does not win the race this year.
  21. Toronto Raptors
    1. Team leader Fred VanVleet gone. Raptors should not expect to do well without him.
  22. Orlando Magic
    1. The two picks for Magic this season were some good picks, and with the mentorship of Joe Ingles, they may find themselves better up.
  23. Brooklyn Nets
    1. Big signing Cam Johnson can maybe lead to a better season, but the rest of the team is still not as good off.
  24. Chicago Bulls
    1. Zach LaVine, DeMar DeRozan and Nikola Vucevic will likely do better this season, but the rest of the team also needs to improve for the whole team to move up.
  25. Houston Rockets
    1. Still not-so-good, hopefully new picks Jalen Green and Jabari Smith Jr. will improve soon to improve the state of the team.
  26. Portland Trail Blazers
    1. After losing Damian Lillard, the Trail Blazers can’t expect to do well this season.
  27. San Antonio Spurs
    1. Even with the all-new Victor Wembanyama, they still need to figure out a way to build up their team chemistry to find themselves higher on the table. A first round pick is far from enough.
  28. Washington Wizards
    1. With Jordan Poole as their best player, they will not do well.
  29. Charlotte Hornets
    1. With LaMelo Ball and Brandon Miller, the Charlotte Hornets are undoubtedly in better shape, but without making any significant moves, they will still find themselves in the same position as they were last year.
  30. Detroit Pistons
    1. With a huge collection of young players, the Pistons are not in good shape right now, but can possibly find themselves higher on the table in upcoming years.

I really hope the Mavericks can improve their record this season. The NBA will have some major changes in their standings with the new trades and signings, with the especially talented draft picks, such as Wembanyama and the Thompson twins. Underdog teams can find themselves higher up on the table this year. I will be following the NBA season and watch the Mavericks go up on the table.

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