One game away. That’s how close I was to basking in the glory of predicting a Celtics Rockets NBA Final. Instead, everyone who went chalk, was right. Without being selfish, one game away is more importantly how close the Celtics were from appearing in the NBA Finals. Without Gordon Hayward for the entire season. Without Kyrie Irving for the playoffs. It makes sense then that a team of this caliber, in the Eastern Conference that just lost the best player in the NBA, would stand pat and run it back for the 2018-19 season. With a great combination of youth and veterans, the Celtics are primed for a deep playoff run.

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If you think there was a changing of the guard in Cleveland, then you forgot about the Spurs’ offseason. This is a team whose slogan should be “out with the old, in with the new.” Losing one of the best players in the NBA is hard, but gaining youth while maintaining veteran leadership is impressive. What makes the Popovich era so great in San Antonio is his ability to rebuild while contending and, while last year was a down year, I think things pick up quite nicely for the Spurs in 2018-19. Now for the fantasy spin on this years Spurs squad.

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Times are a changin’. Out with the old, in with the new. All good things must come to an end. Any more of those and the cliche police are going to have me cuffed and begging for forgiveness. Well, the biggest change is by far and away the departure of LeBron to Hollywood. Last time this happened the city burned his jersey, but now they reminisce about the most impressive feat of his storied career, beating the Warriors in the midst of their rule as a dynasty. The perennial Eastern Conference powerhouse will now be fighting for a playoff spot, but that doesn’t mean the fantasy gods left us hanging. When pieces move, value arises, and that is what we have in The Land.

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How many years has it been since the Brooklyn Nets consummated one of the worst trades in sports history? Four? Five? Six?! They are still paying guys that are rumored to be the next stars of Ice Cube’s Big 3 league. Alas, in 2019 the Nets will finally have their first round pick again, and can finally be a team that doesn’t have an excuse for being terrible year in and year out. Despite their lack of draft capital and obvious lack of talent, the Nets have played respectable basketball the last two seasons under Head Coach Kenny Atkinson, and GM Sean Marks has made decent moves bringing in young talent and finding under-appreciated players. Yes, this hasn’t translated into many wins, but they improved by eight wins last year after losing their best player, Brook Lopez, and are looking to take another step forward this year.

This is a fantasy website, however, and as much as I would like to defend the legitimacy of the Brooklyn Nets and how their five-year outlook is bright, this is the preview for the ’18-’19 Nets. Spoiler alert: they’re probably in for another losing season. That does not mean they will be without fantasy contributors, and that is what you’re here for.

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The 2018-19 Golden State Warriors have one of the greatest rosters ever assembled and are huge favorites to win their third NBA Championship in a row, which would be their fourth in five years. This offseason they added one of the best big men playing in the NBA today, DeMarcus Cousins, to a roster that already includes four returning All-Stars: Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Kevin Durant, and Draymond Green. The bench is also incredible with the likes of Andre Iguodala, Shaun Livingston, and Jordan Bell. End of preview.

Just kidding…kind of. If this was just a preview for the regular NBA season, then my work would be done. But this is a fantasy basketball preview my friends, so I am going to go down the roster and point out which Warriors you should target for your fantasy team. Some will be obvious *cough* Curry *cough*, Durant, but there are a few guys ready to make the jump from fantasy zero to fantasy hero.

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Once again, a new era has begun in the Big Apple under the leadership of new head coach David Fizdale, which has got Knicks fans excited about the future. Personally, I’m on the Kevin Knox and Mitchell Robinson bandwagons. The Knicks finally agreed to buyout Joakim Noah and, despite Kristaps Porzingis possibly missing a huge chunk of time, are likely to use this season to assess all the young talent on the roster before embarking on a potentially ripe free agent period in the offseason. This squad may not have the experience to make a playoff run, but has the talent to draw interest from both dynasty and redraft owners.

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Heading into the offseason, it was clear that the Magic were in desperate need of a playmaker. As a result, many draft analysts, myself included, were anticipating that the Magic were going to select Trae Young with the 6th overall pick in the draft. The unexpected happened instead, as the Mavericks traded up to select Luka Doncic while the Hawks selected Trae Young at number five, leaving the Magic with the decision to take the best player available on their board or select based on need, which would have been one of the point guards in Collin Sexton or Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. The Magic chose the former, but in doing so left a big hole at the point guard position and added to a crowded front-court that already consisted of arguably their three most talented players in Nikola Vucevic, Aaron Gordon, and potential breakout star Jonathan Isaac, the 5th overall pick in 2017. Common sense suggests that it is likely that the Magic will explore the trade market throughout the season, potentially dangling Vucevic to address the need at point guard. Without strengthening the back court and given the inexperienced level of the team, another season missing the playoffs in the desecrated East division seems likely.

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The roster of the Sacramento Kings reminds me of a second-hand jigsaw puzzle that is bought from a car boot sale, only to get home and find that it has too many pieces. Despite drafting De’Aaron Fox, one of the fastest point guards in the 2017 Draft, the Kings complicated matters by not only playing at the league’s second slowest pace at just 98.1 possessions per game, but also signing George Hill as a veteran presence. Fast forward 12 months and things are more clear, as the over-priced Hill is no longer on the roster and the current personnel portends for an uptempo style of play to utilize the strengths of Fox and this years premium draft pick of Marvin Bagley III. The Kings have complicated matters in the front-court, though, with Harry Giles now healthy and the acquisitions of Nemanja Bjeilica, Wenyen Gabriel, and Deyonta Davis added to an already stacked core of Willie Cauley-Stein, Kosta Koufas, Skal Labbissiere and Zach Randolph.

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I’ve had fun writing these team previews, so I’m sad that this will be the final one for this season. I hope that you’ve enjoyed the journey with me. Not all is poo poo, though, because it means the season starts tomorrow night! Yaaaaaassssssss! Any of you remember Voltron, Defender of the Universe? Five robot lions, that each had specialized skills and roles, would come together and form a super robot to protect the universe from evil? That’s what the Warriors are. Five players that can do damage individually, but go to a completely different level when playing with a collective consciousness. What if the response by the aliens to one of the SETI signals beamed out to outer space is: Game on, bitches! Putting all hate aside, the Warriors would be the squad we’d send, right? They are the NBA’s Voltron.

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Gregg Popovich became the Spurs coach in the 19th game of the 1996 season. The team finished with a 20-62 record. Since then, the Spurs  have not had a losing record. What’s crazy is that they have won 50 or more games in 19 of 20 seasons, with six of those being 60+ win seasons. What’s insane is that it should have been 20 out of 20 seasons, as the 1998 season was started late due to the lockout. What’s mind blowing is that the Spurs won the NBA Championship that season!

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They’ve never missed the playoffs and are 5-1 in title games. Before I continue, I need some feedback on a very important question. Is it “chip” or “ship” when talking about a championship? Please comment below. Anyways, this is what the 2017 Spurs will be all about:

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