Five storylines to follow this NBA Season

In just four days, the 2018-19 NBA regular season will officially be underway.


Tuesday night will feature a Eastern Conference Semifinals rematch between the Boston Celtics and the Philadelphia 76ers, followed by the much anticipated Oklahoma City Thunder taking on the defending champion Golden State Warriors.


But before we begin the best eight months of the year, there are five things that you need to follow this season.


1. Will there be an end to the Jimmy Butler saga?


Yes, Jimmy Buckets tops the list. This past Wednesday, Butler returned to Timberwolves practice for the first time, and all hell broke loose.


Butler reportedly went after teammates Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins as well as GM Scott Layden and Head Coach Tom Thibodeau.


"You (bleeping) need me," Butler yelled at Layden according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski. "You can't win without me."

Butler supposedly took the bench, second and third stringers and beat the starters in a scrimmage.


His teammate Anthony Tolliver told ESPN that he had never seen anything like that before in a practice. Butler would go on to challenge his teammates in a post-practice interview with Rachel Nichols.


"KAT came at me," Butler said. "We're up in practice and he said, 'Anybody can get this work!' I said, 'Do it to me.' That's all that I said. I said, 'Every time I get switched out onto you, you pass it.' I'm a competitor, I'm in here talking, come at me. If you score on me, I'm gonna tap you on your butt. You got the best of me -- but you got to do it every time."


Butler would go on to explain how he felt about his teammates work ethic, stating that he was just being honest, something he feels that people in the Timberwolves organization are afraid to do.


"Am I being tough on him? Yeah! Yeah, that's who I am," Butler said of Towns. "I'm not the most talented player. Who's the most talented player on our team? KAT. Who's the most god-gifted player on our team? Wigs. Wigs got the longest arms, the biggest hands, can jump the highest, can run the fastest. But like who plays the hardest? Me. I play hard. I play really hard. I put my body on the line every damn practice. Every day in the games. That's my passion. That's how I give to the game. That's how I give to you guys."


Butler said that he doesn't see a resolution in sight in Minnesota, which means he's going to go somewhere. But for now he's there and it's making for a "Hard Knocks" type of drama in Minnesota.


2. LA-Bron


This one is obvious. LeBron James is an Los Angeles Laker and the Western Conference got even more interesting.


But there is more to watch than just the man they call "King James."

Brandon Ingram looks poised to break out for LA, as he had multiple big preseason games, including a 31 point performance.


Lonzo Ball has returned from his knee procedure and even though he air-balled his first preseason shot, the young point guard should see ample growth playing alongside James this year.


But what may be more interesting is seeing how James, Michael Beasley, Lance Stephenson, Rajon Rondo and Javale McGee will gel. In the preseason it has looked fine. But with four outspoken players that have garnered the nickname "MEME TEAM" by NBA Twitter, this may be the weirdest group we've seen LeBron play with.


Regardless, expect the King to give Golden State a run for its money all while taking advantage of every second the Hollywood spotlight affords him.


3. The LeBron-less East


Sticking with LeBron, we will finally witness an Eastern Conference that isn't holding the NBA's best player. With James in LA, it will be up to the Kawhi Leonard and Kyle Lowry led Raptors, Brad Steven's Boston Squad or Joel Embiid and the Philadelphia 76ers.


Sure, the Wizards or Pacers may make some noise, but it's most likely going to be a three-team race in the East and all three play in the same division.



Will Boston stay healthy and integrate Gordon Hayward?


Will Kawhi return to his former self after sitting out last year?


Can Ben Simmons make a jumpshot?


All these questions will have to be answered for the supreme team to rise out of the East, but one things for sure, for the first time in eight years, the team won't be led by LeBron James.







4. Golden State Three-peat?


The Golden State Warriors have won two consecutive and three of the past four NBA titles.


And this offseason they added All-Star center Demarcus Cousins.

Will the Warriors win their third consecutive title?

So, the chances of a three-peat are pretty likely.


Still, Golden State was just a game away from being eliminated by Houston last season before Chris Paul went down with a hamstring injury.


That Houston team added Carmelo Anthony and re-signed Paul and Clint Capela, which should poise them to make another run at the Warriors crown.


Oklahoma City re-tooled and brought back Paul George and the Lakers obviously got LeBron.


But the biggest thing that might stop Golden State is itself.


Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and Cousins are all in either the final or second to last year of their contracts, leaving Golden State with a lot of uncertainties beyond this year.


Still, my money is Golden State keeping the title in the Bay Area one more time, before KD leaves to sign with the Knicks (I can dream right?)


5. Petty NBA


This is my favorite of all, but I'll slot it at No. 5.


Petty NBA is back.


Jimmy Butler got the ball rolling and it's only going to get better from here.


From Joel Embiid trolling everyone on Twitter after games, to petty fights, to guys getting T'D up this season is going to be just as exciting as last year.


Shoot, J.R. Smith already started beefing with Marcus Smart in a preseason game.


The best time of the year is upon us y'all.


The NBA is BACK.



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