NBA Tipoff Preview
Congratulations! You have successfully survived the NBA “offseason”.
I use that term loosely with the offseason that we had. Between the draft, the FIBA World Cup, Free Agency, Summer League, and the preseason, there hasn’t been much down time. All of that aside, tonight we get our first look at meaningful basketball.
The first game of the season puts the defending champions, Toronto Raptors, against a young, athletic team with a lot of hype around their future, the New Orleans Pelicans.
The Raptors are coming into this season in a very unique situation. It is very rare that a team starts their championship defense without their Finals MVP, and that is where the Raptors find themselves.
Not only did the Raptors lose Kawhi Leonard, they also saw Danny Green depart to a warmer climate.
They decided not to opt into a full rebuild. They retained Kyle Lowry. Pascal Siakam got his due money as a rising star.
They brought in new players in Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and Stanley Johnson.
This team is still predicated on the same philosophy as last year. They are a group of team players, who can fill their role extremely well, while playing very good defense. They may not always hang 130 on you, but they won’t be a walk in the park to score on.
On the other side of the ball, the Pelicans have been one of the most talked about team in the NBA.
After there were trade rumors last season surrounding Anthony Davis, they finally came to fruition this season. As if that wasn’t enough, the Pelicans also landed the number 1 pick in the draft. That allowed them to draft Zion Williamson, the most hyped rookie since LeBron James.
The Pelicans have almost an entirely new look with the likes of Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart, and JJ Redick. They will join some returning Pelicans in Jrue Holiday and Jahlil Okafor.
The downside for this Pelicans team is that Zion underwent knee surgery on Monday and is expected to miss 6-8 weeks.
The Raptors seem more likely to be meshed and ready in terms of chemistry going into tonight and should be the favorite.
Look for the Pelicans to have some exciting plays, but the Raptors will still prevail.