Now that most of the pieces have been moved during what has been a frantic summer around the NBA, it’s time to look forward to the 2019-20 season.
The Los Angeles Lakers added Anthony Davis to team up with LeBron James, creating a ton of pressure for both stars.
Remaining out west, Stephen Curry will be scrutinized big time this coming season with Kevin Durant in Brooklyn and Klay Thompson likely out through January.
Over in the Eastern Conference, it’s a wide-open affair. After a drama-filled 2018-19 campaign in Boston, Kyrie Irving will now lead the Nets. The same thing can be said for Ben Simmons in Philadelphia.
These are the 10 NBA stars facing the most pressure in 2019-20.
LeBron James, Los Angeles Lakers
How can a dude that’s won three NBA titles and been to the championship round nine times be on this list? Well, it’s rather simple. LeBron made the career decision to relocate to the nation’s second-largest media market. He spearheaded the acquisition of Anthony Davis. He’s playing for legitimately one of the most historical NBA franchises.
This will lead to a ton of pressure on the King’s shoulders, especially after the disastrous 2018-19 season his Lakers put up. We have no doubt James will be up for it. He remains a top-three player in today’s Association.
Ben Simmons, Philadelphia 76ers
Fresh off signing a five-year, $170 million max extension, Simmons heads into the 2019-20 campaign in need of improvements across the board. Primarily, he must find some sort of a mid-range game if the former No. 1 overall pick is to live up to his contract.
Playing in Philadelphia doesn’t necessarily help matters here. Fans expect championship contention. They’ll let you hear about it if that doesn’t come to fruition. With an elite core five, the Sixers should be up there with the east’s best. If that doesn’t happen, Simmons will be the one drawing the most criticism.
Kristaps Porzingis, Dallas Mavericks
Off-court issues combined with missing the past year-plus due to a torn ACL. These are two backdrops surrounding the Unicorn after Dallas handed him a max five-year, $158.2 million deal during the summer. It also comes with the Mavs boasting a fellow youngster in Luka Doncic who just put up a brilliant rookie season.
The pressure will be on Porzingis to not only remain healthy, but live up to huge expectations that started in the Big Apple. Remember, he’s just about to turn 24 and averaged 22.7 points to go with 6.6 rebounds in his last season.
Kyrie Irving, Brooklyn Nets
If Irving didn’t like the media and pressure that was placed on him in Boston, he’s going to be in for a rude awakening in the nation’s largest media market.