- CLUTCH Summary: When considering NBA League Pass for the 2019-20 season, there are five teams that will be worth your hard-earned cash
- These teams don’t have the national television opportunities that top contenders have
- The Hawks, Magic, Bulls, Kings, and Pacers are the teams to watch on NBA League Pass this season
Going into the 2019-20 NBA campaign, we know that the Los Angeles Clippers and Los Angeles Lakers are basically the top two contenders in the West, and the Milwaukee Bucks and Philadelphia 76ers seem primed to rule the East.
But what about the teams that aren’t as universally recognized but are still fun to watch?
Here are five teams worth watching on NBA League Pass next year.
5. Atlanta Hawks
The Hawks aren’t going to be making the playoffs and are still a couple of pieces away from truly completing their rebuild, but with Trae Young and John Collins, not to mention an under-the-radar wing in Kevin Huerter and incoming rookie Cam Reddish, there are plenty of reasons to tune in to Hawks games during the 2019-20 campaign.
Let’s be honest, though: the primary draw is Young, who is coming off of a terrific rookie season and is probably the closest thing to young Stephen Curry that we have seen since, well, young Stephen Curry.
Young was unlimited range from deep, and what he lacks in size and athleticism he makes up for in toughness, grit, savvy and smooth offensive skill. This kid is a joy to watch, and Collins is no slouch, either.
Atlanta has just one nationally televised game on the schedule, so NBA League Pass is the way to go for this squad.
4. Orlando Magic
The Magic were one of the biggest surprises in the NBA this past season, winning 42 games and making it to the playoffs for the first time since the 2011-12 season.
The thing is, Orlando wasn’t just some team that got hot during the final stretch. The Magic were legitimately a staunch defensive ballclub and had a heck of a lot of length up front. To make things even more nightmarish for opposing offenses, they are getting Mohamed Bamba back and also signed Al-Farouq Aminu on a great deal. Let’s also not forget they re-signed Nikola Vucevic, who may very well be the most underrated player in the league.
Yet, for some reason, Orlando is only on national TV once this coming year.
The Magic aren’t title contenders or anything, but they will be a pretty big pain for someone in the first round of the playoffs, and they are worth monitoring during the regular season as a result.
3. Chicago Bulls
It wasn’t long ago that Gar Forman and John Paxson were on the verge of having to defend their homes from legions of angry Bulls fans carrying torches and pitchforks. Now, they have built an exciting young team capable of making the playoffs in the East. Talk about a reversal.
Chicago is led by Zach LaVine, who had a breakout season this past year. We know what an athletic freak he is, but he is also developing into a terrific scorer. Not only that, but the Bulls have a dynamic frontline that consists of Lauri Markkanen and Wendell Carter Jr., not to mention some other nice young pieces such as Chandler Hutchsion and rookie guard Coby White.
All of that, and Chicago, which is one of the larger markets in the country, only has the privilege of being on national television once during the 2019-20 campaign.
For such a fun young group, that is not nearly enough.
2. Sacramento Kings
The Kings have one of the most impressive stables of young talent in basketball and they contended for a playoff spot for much of the 2018-19 season, but they still are in the group of teams that have just one nationally televised game next season, and that is almost sacrilegious.
Sacramento will almost certainly make a postseason push yet again in 2019-20, and I actually have them making the playoffs in the rugged West. This is a team loaded with talent, from De’Aaron Fox to Marvin Bagley to Buddy Hield all the way on down to Harry Giles.
The fact that the New Orleans Pelicans have 19 more nationally televised contests than the Kings is absolutely ludicrous. I don’t care that they have Zion Williamson. They aren’t going to be as good as Sacramento.
The Kings are unquestionably worth watching in NBA League Pass, especially considering that they may be near the top of the Western Conference in a few years.
1. Indiana Pacers
Please explain to me how the Pacers only have six nationally televised games. How?
I understand that Victor Oladipo is on his way back from a serious injury. I know he probably won’t be back until January. I get that Indiana will probably be nothing more than a decent team without him.
But once he returns? You are looking at a Pacers team that can absolutely, positively win the East. And yet, somehow, they are toward the bottom of the list of ESPN, TNT and ABC games. Heck, even NBA TV.
That is just flat out disrespectful. Let’s keep in mind that this is a team that won 48 games while playing half the season without Oladipo this past year, and it went out and added Malcolm Brogdon and Jeremy Lamb while swinging a trade for T.J. Warren this summer.
Yes, I get that they lost Thaddeus Young and Bojan Bogdanovic in the process, but overall, the Pacers upgraded their roster and will be serious threats to make it to the finals next season, and that makes them worth a watch and then some.