As the NFL and ‘Hard Knocks’ drum up as much media attention as possible, the NBA took a few days off from their last appearance with the 2019-20 schedule release.
With the NBA season set to tip-off in just a few months, the excitement generated by this past offseason has given fans and media members another reason to keep an eye on the upcoming schedule. With “load management” being the talk of last season, more players may be in street clothes rather than on the court in early October. Here are five preseason games to keep an eye on:
5. New Orleans Pelicans @ New York Knicks (Oct. 18th, TNT)
As the preseason comes to an end, we can only hope these two teams treat this game as serious as we will make it out to be. Zion Williamson will be in New York, but only to drive Knicks fans crazy as they look to R.J. Barrett to steal the show for the evening. Will Williamson suit up? Will the Pelicans have their offensive philosophy in place? Can the Knicks give their fans a glimmer of hope going into the regular season?
4. Dallas Mavericks @ Oklahoma City Thunder (Oct. 8th, ESPN)
The Oklahoma City fanbase has seen too much turnover this past offseason, as they witnessed Paul George and Russell Westbrook both traded in less than a week. As Damian Lillard waved goodbye to their former roster, the new-look Thunder bring a new crop of talent and draft picks along with a familiar face in Chris Paul. However, we’re more interested in seeing Luka Doncic and his new bag of tricks, as well as the Mavericks new addition in Kristaps Porzingis. He has not touched the floor since his ACL injury over a season ago, but fans will watch for all 12 minutes of his return.
3. Los Angeles Lakers @ Golden State Warriors (Oct. 5th, TNT)
We know what the Warriors lost, but what strategy will be in place as they integrate a new upcoming star in D’Angelo Russell to their mix? Will the Lakers run pick-and-roll with LeBron James and Anthony Davis? The intensity will be high, as Chase Center opens without Klay Thompson, due to injury.
2. Brooklyn Nets @ Los Angeles Lakers (Oct. 10th)
With this contest in Shanghai, China, but not covered by ESPN or TNT, it will be interesting to see if any stars will shine for the global fanbase. The Nets have lofty expectations, even with Kevin Durant sidelined presumably for the entire 2019-20 season. With a new point guard in Kyrie Irving leading the way, head coach Kenny Atkinson will have to implore an evolved offensive strategy.
1. New Orleans Pelicans @ Atlanta Hawks (Oct. 7th)
Zion Williamson being anywhere will garner attention from the cameras this season. His debut, barring injury, will be in the city he internally hoped would be his stomping grounds for the start of his professional career. The Pelicans had a major overhaul this past offseason with the trade of Anthony Davis, but somehow all of the “Basketball Gods” decided the Pelicans deserved one more chance at a superstar.
Photo Credit: Bleacher Report