Wacky NBA off-season leading to drama-filled 2019-20 campaign

Anthony Capua, Staff writer

This NBA offseason was one of the wildest we’ve seen in a while. Many star players signed to different teams, and there were several trades that involved big names. A few of these included Chicago native Anthony Davis, NBA Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard, and Regular Season MVP runner up Russell Westbrook, all going to different teams. These are just a few of the many huge changes the league saw.

The hyped rookie, Zion Williamson, missed most of the first 50 games this year with a knee injury as the New Orleans Pelicans have been cautious with their franchise No. 1 overall pick. Also, superstar and former MVP Kevin Durant will miss the entire season with an Achilles injury he suffered in the finals last year against the Raptors. That didn’t stop him from getting a max deal from the Nets, despite the fact he won’t play until the 2020-21 season. Also, Kyrie Irving, who the Nets also gave a boatload of money to, is out for the rest of the season after only playing 20 games with his new team.

All these injuries mean the Eastern Conference is up for grabs. The Milwaukee Bucks, with reigning league MVP Giannis Antetokoumpo, have the No. 1 seed currently, with a six-game lead over the Raptors and an eight-game lead over the Boston Celtics, who appear to be thriving without the drama that surrounded Irving each of the last two years.

The Western Conference, however, is another story. It will be a showdown as to who will make the playoffs. Each team in the west has at least two big names. The rivalry in Los Angeles is a battle between the Clippers’ Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, and the Lakers’ Lebron James and Anthony Davis. The powerhouse in Oakland has seem to downgrade after losing Kevin Durant in the offseason, as well as Klay Thompson with an injury. Things only got worse for Golden State when Steph Curry injured his hand and he has also missed most of this season with that injury, relegating the Warriors, who played in five straight NBA finals for the West, to the worst record in the league.

The Lakers sit atop the West by five games over the Nuggets, five-and-a-half over the Clippers and six-and-a-half over the No. 4 seed Jazz.

As for the Bulls, well, they’re still in rebuild mode for what seems like the 20th year since Michael Jordan’s second retirement after the 1998 season. They sit 11th in the Eastern Conference with a 19-37 record, five games out of a playoff spot.

However, there are some bright spots for the Bulls as Zach Lavine is becoming a superstar, with Coby White also showing some flashes of brilliance this year.