NBA 2018-19 Preview & Betting Tips: Warriors still too good despite LeBron James' move to Los Angeles

The King signed a four-year, $153 million deal with the Lakers but they can't stop Golden State next season
The Warrior Girls should have plenty of opportunities to dance in the 2018-19 NBA season. (Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

NBA 2018-19 Season Preview & Betting Tips


It finally happened. After months of speculation about his future, NBA superstar LeBron James has moved from the Cleveland Cavaliers to the Los Angeles Lakers. The King to LA is one of the major moves so far, but there will be plenty more before the new season starts in October.

The King makes his move


LeBron James said goodbye to the Cleveland Cavaliers after signing a four-year, $153 million deal with the Los Angeles Lakers. The move is set to shake up the stacked Western Conference with more trades on the way.

James has played in eight straight NBA Finals with a 3-5 record, winning the NBA title with the Heat in 2012 and 2013 before returning to Cleveland in 2015 where he won his third title in 2016.

Undoubtedly frustrated with a Cav’s front office that couldn’t put together a team to challenge the Golden State Warriors, James’ move will send shockwaves through the NBA.

The Lakers followed up by making agreements with Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Lance Stephenson, JaVale McGee and Rajan Rondo. They join some talented youngsters in Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma and Brandon Ingram with more moves on the horizon.

The Lakers renounced Julius Randle’s contract with all the talk now focused on a possible move for Kawhi Leonard of the San Antonio Spurs. Leonard is a free agent next summer, but with James turning 34 in December they might want to act now.

Los Angeles need more firepower to be a legitimate contender in the loaded Western Conference. Time will tell if they can challenge the Golden State Warriors and Houston Rockets.

Los Angeles Lakers President of basketball operations Magic Johnson has been busy building a team to win the NBA. (Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)

What now for the Cleveland Cavaliers?


Owner Dan Gilbert has some big decisions to make after James’ departure. The team is full of veterans that showed an inability to provide James with enough assistance to challenge the Warriors.

With Kyrie Irving leaving last season and James now gone, their main asset is Kevin Love who has shown himself to be unreliable and injury prone. Gilbert may look to trade Love and get some young players in to develop for the future.

The Cavaliers cannot seriously compete at the highest level and it will take years to rebuild the franchise into a title contender. The Cavs dropped from 30/1 to win the title to 500/1 after James’ departure which tells you all you need to know.

Can anyone stop the Golden State Warriors?


The Warriors clinched their third title in four years after sweeping the Cavaliers 4-0 in the 2018 NBA Finals. Kevin Durant’s decision to move to Oakland in 2016 has made them virtually unbeatable.

Durant joined NBA All-Stars Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green who simply overpower their opponents with tenacious defending and unmatched scoring.

Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr has done a great job in Oakland. (Jason Miller/Getty Images)

The Houston Rockets almost shocked them in the 2018 NBA Western Conference Finals, but backing against the Warriors is likely to put a dent in your bankroll.

The Golden State Warriors are clear favourites to win the 2018-19 NBA Championship ahead of the Boston Celtics, Houston Rockets and Los Angeles Lakers. Anything is possible and players will continue to switch teams, but the smart move is to stay with the Warriors dynasty winning three in a row.

What about the Eastern Conference?


The Boston Celtics are in a great position to capitalise and dominate the Eastern Conference with Cleveland no longer a serious contender. Brad Stevens is one of the best coaches in the NBA and with Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward fit, they can go a long way. 

Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum have tremendous potential and I expect the Celtics to win the Eastern Conference with relative ease in the 2018-19 NBA season.

The Philadelphia 76ers and Toronto Raptors are the nearest challengers. Philly have two superstars in Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid but next season might be a bit too soon to challenge the Celtics. Toronto no longer have to worry about James and the Cavaliers, but I don't expect them to be able to stop Boston.

Verdict


Boston should win the Eastern Conference and face the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals where anything is possible. However, I can't look past the Warriors winning their third NBA Championship in a row. As we have seen their team is just goo good and stopping Curry, Thompson and Durant is near impossible.

2018-19 NBA Champions: Golden State Warriors 
Easter Conference Winner: Boston Celtics
Matthew Marshall 03 July 2018
NBA

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