clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

5 NBA Teams I’m Excited to Watch in 2019 (Other Than the Trail Blazers)

When the Blazers have a night off who will I be watching on league pass?

NBA: Playoffs-Boston Celtics at Milwaukee Bucks Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Philadelphia 76ers: The 76ers were seemingly anointed overnight, going from Process jokes to 52 wins and playoff homecourt advantage before getting buzzsaw’ed by the Celtics in the Eastern Conference semifinals. Their next step, from 50-something wins and respectability to odds-on favorite to win the championship, is often the most difficult for a team to achieve. Throw in the question marks still surrounding Markelle Fultz and, to a lesser degree, Ben Simmons, and this team will be an interesting story line all year.

Boston Celtics: We all know the story of how Danny Ainge rebuilt this team on the fly when Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett hit the twilight of their careers, and now it’s time to watch the fruition of the Nets’ stupidity. This team was one game from the NBA Finals and now they’re adding Gordon Hayward and Kyrie Irving. How those two All-Stars impact Boston’s spectacular chemistry will be well worth watching, to say nothing of Jayson Tatum’s ascendance to stardom.

Minnesota Timberwolves: The T-Wolves have enough talent they should be challenging for the 3-seed in the Western Conference, but last year they were barely able to sneak into the playoffs. Putting together the collective talents of Jimmy Butler, Karl-Anthony Towns, and Andrew Wiggins will be fun to watch. And, hey, if things don’t work out maybe we will finally get that mythical CJ McCollum trade — Butler would look darn good in a Blazers’ uniform.

Milwaukee Bucks: This choice is entirely because I’m a massive Giannis Antetokounmpo fan. He’s on a different level and could become one of the best players of all time at the end of his career. Watching him figure out ways to singlehandedly destroy opposing teams while the Bucks continue to bumble there way toward his inevitable departure is one of the great ongoing subplots of every NBA season.

Utah Jazz: The Jazz and Blazers are linked both by division and by development curve. Whether or not the Blazers can keep up with Utah’s improvement will be a major story as the 2019 season unfolds, and will say a lot about the trajectory of both teams. I also like to hate watch Donovan Mitchell — he’s so much fun it’s pretty much impossible to to dislike him, but remembering that the Blazers missed on drafting him despite Damian Lillard’s urging makes it impossible to cheer for him.

Honorable mention: I can’t write a post like this without giving at least a cursory nod to the Toronto Raptors and Los Angeles Lakers. Kawhi Leonard seals their fate as linked inter-conference stories, and the whole LeBron James thing makes the Lakers the center of attention. But I’ll have a hard time getting into the Lakers who telegraphed by their offseason signings that this is a development year, and the Raptors who are in a holding pattern until Kawhi’s long term status is made public.

Readers let us know which non-Trail Blazers teams you’re most likely to watch this year!