Now that the schedule has been released for the upcoming NBA season, our NBA.com Staff breaks down which games they are most looking forward to in 2019-20.
Scott Rafferty (@crabdribbles): This might be a cop-out, but I'm most looking forward to all four of the games the Lakers and Clippers will play against each other this season, the first coming on opening night (Oct. 22) and the second coming on Christmas Day (Dec. 25).
Beyond the obvious intrigue of watching several All-Stars go head-to-head in Kawhi Leonard, Paul George, LeBron James, Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins, I can't wait to see how the teams match up. Whereas the Lakers are much more forward and centre-heavy, the Clippers are much more guard and forward-heavy with the likes of Patrick Beverley, Lou Williams, Landry Shamet and Maurice Harkless surrounding their superstars.
The combination should make for a fascinating showdown between two teams that are expected to headline the Western Conference next season.
Gilbert McGregor (@GMcGregor21): The Bucks and 76ers met twice in the final month of the 2018-19 regular season. The results? Sixers by five on March 17 and Bucks by six on April 4 in two high-intensity games where the talents of young stars Giannis Antetokounmpo, Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons were on full display.
Now, these two teams are the favourites to come out of the Eastern Conference this season and while Philadelphia lost Jimmy Butler, it added Josh Richardson and Al Horford to make things more difficult for Antetokounmpo. I'm looking forward to the first meeting between these teams as it will most definitely be a statement game to establish supremacy in the East.
Micah Adams (@MicahAdams13): Giannis Antetokounmpo vs. Zion Williamson on Dec. 11 and Feb. 4. Circle those in red sharpie on the calendar, keep your schedule open and don't make any other plans.
The Greek Freak ran away with his first MVP award last season and could be on the verge of a LeBron-esque run of four in five years as he's not yet 25-years-old and stars for a team positioned to contend for the foreseeable future. Antetokounmpo himself mentioned that he's tapped into only 60% of his potential, which should be enough to incite nightmares for players, coaches, fans and front offices of the other 29 teams. Every night it seems as if he bends the laws of physics for what should be possible on a basketball floor.
When it comes to suspending reality, he'll soon meet his match in the form of Williamson, who just turned 19 yet might already be the most physically imposing force in the entire league. Forget basketball for a moment, these two sharing the floor at the same time and potentially guarding each other promises to serve as a referendum on the limits of what is and isn't physically possible.
Wear a chin strap or run the risk of a fractured jaw as it repeatedly drops to the floor as they play a game of one-upmanship.
Carlan Gay (@TheCarlanGay): I don't know how anyone else can pick anything other than Bucks and 76ers. Those are the two teams in the Eastern Conference who are expected to be in the Finals. Those are the two teams again in the Eastern Conference who have the most to prove. And those are the two teams with superstars who are waiting for their crowning achievement.
Joel Embiid and Giannis Antetokounmpo are the two best players in the East. Both of them are on their way to the Hall of Fame, but they'll need a championship along the way to cement their legacy in their respective cities.
The 76ers have made the case all summer long that if Kawhi Leonard's shot rims out, they're in the Finals. Well, Kawhi's gone, prove it. The Bucks believe that they were the best team in the East from start to finish and that they just ran into a hot Raptors team on a mission. Well, the Raptors as constructed last season aren't around anymore, prove it.
I can't wait to see these two go at it, and it wouldn't hurt to have a little bad blood before they potentially meet in the Eastern Conference Finals.
The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA or its clubs.