By Alexa Garrett, Staff Writer
The NBA season kicked off Oct. 24 with the opening game between the Los Angeles Lakers and reigning champion Denver Nuggets. Since then, other notable teams such as the Phoenix Suns, the Miami Heat, the Golden State Warriors, and the Milwaukee Bucks have started their seasons and are expected to have much success.
Following their opening night victory against the Warriors, the Phoenix Suns are a team with high expectations. Kevin Durant is slated to be one of the better players on the Sun’s team this year, scoring an average of 18.5 points per game last season. Shooting guards Devin Booker and the recently acquired Bradley Beal are also two stars for Phoenix.
“They had an excellent offseason on the trademark as they acquired Bradley Beal from the Washington Wizards and now they have the super team with Devin Booker, Kevin Durant, and Bradley Beal. It’s going to be a very strong team offensively which is going to be hard to guard,” freshman business management major Arjun Bhatia said.
The Nuggets caught many people’s attention last June when they defeated the Heat in the NBA finals. Nikola Jokić was named the finals MVP, averaging 30.2 points per game last season.
Bhatia believes that even though the Nuggets have a majority of the same players from last season, they will not repeat as champions.
“They look good because on paper, they’re pretty much the same as last year and they have two-time MVP Nikola Jokić paired with Jamal Murray. It’s going to be quite a strong team, but I think that this year, they’re not going to repeat it,” Bhatia said. “We have so many great teams this year. I think last year we couldn’t exploit their weaknesses because it was a new style of play with Jamal Murray and Nikola Jokić, but this year I feel like all the teams will be ready for both of them.”
The Trailblazer’s fans are disappointed as one of their favorite point guards decided to trade into the Bucks. Damian Lillard swapped into the Bucks a few weeks ago. Working alongside two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo, Lillard might be a good addition to Milwaukee this season. He averaged 32.2 points during last season when he played for the Trailblazers and is a seven-time All-NBA selection.
New York has high hopes for the Knicks, having won a playoff series last year. The Knicks have some key players that will help lead them to success, including one acquired this offseason.
According to NBA.com, the Knicks “used the mid-level exception to sign Donte DiVincenzo, adding to their wing depth with a guy who can shoot (39.7% from 3-point range last season) and defend.” Returning point guard Jalen Brunson scored an average of 24 points per game last season and should continue to be a major contributor for New York.
Senior health science major Anthony Salazar evaluated the Knicks expectations for the upcoming season.
“They did well in the postseason last year, I know they are supposed to be around the same level that they were last season. I think they can make the playoffs and go pretty far,” Salazar said.
With the season now underway, there is a lot to look forward to for basketball fans across campus and beyond.