Thoughts on the Upcoming NBA Season

It seems like just yesterday we were crowning to Raptors as NBA champs, but already a new season is upon us. These are some of my bullet points as we enter 2019-20, year of our Basketball Lord.

* Kawhi Leonard is not the best player in the NBA.

After Toronto won the championship, Kawhi was vaulted into the conversation as best active player. This puzzles me. We've known for years how great he is, but he didn't suddenly become one of the best 2-3 players just because he hoisted the trophy.

His advanced stats were much, much better his last two full seasons with the Spurs, when he was decidedly NOT in the conversation for "best player." I understand how absolutely crucial winning rings is to people in assessing a player's greatness, buuuuut ... we aren't arguing that Fred VanVleet is better than Giannis Antetokounmpo because Fred has won a 'chip and Giannis hasn't, right?

So there is a line to be drawn somewhere, and I don't think winning an NBA Finals automatically means you're the most skilled player on the planet.

* The West's dominance will continue.

By my count, the Lakers, Clippers, Rockets, Jazz, Nuggets, and Warriors (yes, even their current iteration) would be favorites for conference champions if they were in the East, and perhaps the Blazers, too.

* Utah's win total projection at Bovada is 53.5. Give me the under.

NBA wonks and statistician nerds love the Jazz and love what they've done this offseason. Obviously, the pickup of Mike Conley is great, and their other acquisitions were just sort of canny and wise, too.

But Derrick Favors and Ricky Rubio were such a big part of the Jazz's heart and soul these last two years, and the roster has really undergone a big overhaul. Can Quin Snyder make all these new pieces hum together? Maybe, but I'd feel better about it if he had more of a championship background in either the NBA or college, as the head honcho.

* Houston's win total Projection at Bovada is 53.5. Give me the over.

I love love, love love love, the Rockets acquisition of Russell Westbrook. I said I don't think Kawhi Leonard has an argument as the greatest player in the game; the Rockets have two in Westbrook and Harden. I tend to think that they will benefit both from having played together before, and from spending a few seasons apart, now more mature and refined.

I also love Clint Capela and think he's one of the most underrated players in the game. He was almost quiet in the way he averaged a double-double last year, and was third in the league in offensive rebounds per game. So even if I'm wrong and Westbrook and Harden have a hard time playing together with just one basketball, Capela is going to give them a lot of second and third chances. This is the best team in the league, for my money.

* The Nets had the best offseason uniform upgrade.

I can't believe, in a game with such a strong city culture, it took us this long to give us a uniform that utilizes (essentially) graffiti font. There's a lot of contenders for the best uniform upgrades this year, but Brooklyn has them all beat.

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