Another season of basketball is upon us. Here’s what you should look out for.

The 2019-20 NBA season is finally here and unlike recent seasons, the league seems to be more balanced than usual. Even the best NBA experts are torn on who will win it all this year. There are at least half a dozen teams who are in contention to win the championship in June.

Here are the main storylines you should pay attention to this season. 

Are the Los Angeles Clippers for real?

The Clippers had the biggest offseason in the history of their franchise this summer. After adding two huge names to their already talented roster in Paul George and Kawhi Leonard, everyone is wondering if this is the season the Clippers finally breakthrough and put a championship-winning roster on the court. 

With a starting five of SF Leonard, SG George, PG Lou Williams, C Ivica Zubac and PF Montrezl Harrell, the Clippers might have the most stacked starting lineup in the NBA following the partial collapse of the Golden State Warriors. Speaking of the Warriors…

Do the Golden State Warriors still have championship expectations?

The Warriors were two games away from winning their fourth championship in five years last season. The Toronto Raptors led by none other than Leonard got in their way, but people shouldn’t overlook this Golden State team. I  think everyone is jumping the gun on their demise because they are so tired of seeing a juggernaut in Oakland. 

Although the Warriors lost a key player in two-time NBA Finals MVP Kevin Durant, they added D’Angelo Russell from the Brooklyn Nets (who funnily enough was the team that landed Durant). Russell is not Durant, but he is an incredibly reliable player and did great things in Brooklyn as a member of the Nets. The Warriors will also be without a franchise face in Klay Thompson for most of the season due to an injury Thompson sustained in game six of last season’s NBA Finals. However, this is still a playoff team for sure, and once they get into the playoffs, I expect them to do more damage than people think.

The New Orleans Pelicans are ready to take that next step

Similar to the Clippers, the Pelicans had a huge offseason both in the form of a trade and a draft pick. First off, the Pelicans unexpectedly won the Zion Williamson sweepstakes after being awarded the first overall pick of the 2019 NBA Draft Lottery. Williamson is expected to be the next big NBA star for years to come, and the Pelicans had luck on their side as there were at least three teams that had a better chance of getting selected to pick first overall.

Beyond their new franchise face, the Pelicans also made a blockbuster trade in May, sending 2012 first overall pick and six-time NBA All-Star Anthony Davis to the Los Angeles Lakers for a bounty of riches. The Lakers dealt Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart and three first-round draft picks including the fourth overall pick in the 2019 Draft. Who won that trade? It’s hard to tell at this point, but the Pelicans are certainly pleased with their new roster heading into this season.

Are the Los Angeles Lakers back from the dead?

There is going to be a lot of competitive basketball in Los Angeles this year considering the Lakers share L.A. with the new and much-improved Clippers. With the Clippers boasting Leonard and George, the Lakers can now show off the dynamic duo of Davis and LeBron James. The Lakers haven’t made the playoffs since 2013, including last season where they had high expectations after landing James in free agency.

Is this the year the Lakers make the playoffs? Yes. The duo of James and Davis is nearly impossible to stop. Both players can bully the opposition inside the paint as well as land shots from beyond the three-point line. 

Beyond these two, the Lakers also have a well-rounded squad with players like Kyle Kuzma, Alex Caruso, Quinn Cook, Danny Green and Avery Bradley. Is this roster the best? No. Is this roster better than their neighbors in the Clippers? Probably not. However, this Lakers team has enough to go the distance. With this squad, only time will tell.

Pay attention to the league balance

This new NBA is incredibly balanced compared to recent seasons where one could essentially confirm that the final two teams standing would be the Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers. This year, there are many talented squads that will fight for limited playoff spots and the championship. 

The Houston Rockets, Portland Trail Blazers, Lakers, Clippers, Warriors, Denver Nuggets, Dallas Mavericks, New Orleans Pelicans and Utah Jazz all have competitive teams in the west. In the east, the Nets, Raptors, Boston Celtics, Miami Heat, Philadelphia 76ers, Milwaukee Bucks, Indiana Pacers and even the Orlando Magic should all be fighting for only eight playoff spots. However, only one of these teams can be crowned champion.

This is going to be a fun year of basketball. The possibilities for so many talented franchises are endless.