The summer of 2019 has been full of firsts for Milwaukee Bucks superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo. He won his first Kia NBA MVP award, collaborated with Nike on designing his signature sneakers, and won his first ESPY Award for Best Male Athlete of the Year. Despite all of such miraculous achievements, the 24-year-old remains even more focused on improving his skills on the court.
“A lot of people say, ‘You are the MVP, you are one of the best players in the league, you are so dominant,'” Giannis told. “But I think I can get better. I think I am at 60 percent of my potential. I just want to be better. If I am in the same situation again [in the East finals], react better, play the game better, play better, execute better.” Antetokounmpo averaged career-highs with 27.7 points, 12.5 rebounds, 5.9 assists, 1.5 blocks and 1.3 steals over 72 games during the regular season. With Antetokounmpo leading the way, Milwaukee won a record of 60 games and started the playoffs 10-1 before losing four straight games to the Toronto Raptors in the East finals.
Luka Dončić is the 2019 NBA Rookie of the Year. The Dallas Mavericks guard is a Slovenia native and joins Spain’s Pau Gasol (2002) as the only Rookie of the Year winner who did not play basketball in high school or college in the United States.
Lou Williams from Los Angeles Clippers won the KIA NBA Sixth Man Award, Rudy Gobert received the Defensive Player of the Year Award for two consecutive years, Pascal Siakam of Toronto Raptors received the Most Improved Player Award, and finally, Mike Budenholzer of Bucks was nominated the NBA Coach of the Year.
For the first-ever NBA title in the history of the franchise, the Toronto Raptors, led by Kawhi Leonard, became the 2019 NBA Champions. Although it wasn’t long before Kawhi started a new season with the Raptors, Leonard proved himself once again with many unbelievable moments, including the series-winning Buzzer Beater against the Philadelphia 76ers and averaging 26.6 points and 3.3 assists. The Raptors swept the Bucks and moved onto the NBA finals, where the defending champions, Golden State Warriors was waiting. However, with Kevin Durant out with the right Achilles tendon injury in Finals Game 5, Raptors was able to grasp the ring in 6 games.
“The beauty of free agency is everybody has a decision, everybody has a choice, and you want to find your happiness where ever that is,” Stephen Curry, a three-time NBA champion, and named the MVP for two consecutive years said.
Stephen Curry remarked on KD’s decision to sign with the Brooklyn Nets, “I’m really proud of what we accomplished.” The team has acquired the forward KD, along with a protected 2020 first-round draft pick. “Kevin is a champion, perennial All-Star and one of the great players of this, or any, generation,” stated Nets General Manager Sean Marks. “His tremendous abilities and dedication to his craft have made him as talented an offensive player our game has ever seen.”
With KD out for the 2019-2020 season for his ruptured right Achilles tendon, Kyrie Irving, who was with Boston Celtics for the past two years, is also joining the Nets for four years $141million deal. “Kyrie is one of the NBA’s elite guards and has won at the highest level,” said Nets General Manager Sean Marks. “His championship pedigree, coupled with his gifted scoring and playmaking abilities, will make him an outstanding addition to our team.”
On June 15, 2019, the Pelicans reportedly agreed to trade Anthony Davis to the Los Angeles Lakers in exchange for Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart, and three first-round draft picks, including the Lakers’ No. 4 overall selection in the 2019 NBA Draft. With Davis and a few other superstars moving to LAL and LAC, many say that LA will be heated up very much next year.
In reards to bringing Kawhi Leoanrd home for the LA Clippers, the Clippers president Lawrence Frank said, “This is a historic moment for our organization and our fans.” “We are grateful and honored that Kawhi Leonard has decided to come home and join the LA Clippers. Kawhi is a peerless two-way player, a relentless worker and a natural fit for the serious, professional culture our group has established.”
The Clippers also completed their blockbuster trade with the Oklahoma City Thunder, acquiring Paul George. “George is one of the greatest two-way players in our game,” Frank said. “He is both an elite scorer and a relentless defender whose versatility elevates any team. When you have the opportunity to acquire a contributor of his caliber, you do what it takes to bring him home.”
The college superstar, Zion Williamson, from the Duke University, was chosen as the overall number one pick by the New Orleans Pelicans for the 2019-20 NBA draft on June 21. As soon as the regular season begins, the fans will determine whether the Zion Williamson era is also set to begin in the NBA.
The NBA Summer League is an offseason competition which is held at the Thomas and Mack Center and Cox Pavilion in Las Vegas, Nevada on the campus of the University of Nevada. It began on July 5 and ended on July 15, with all 30 teams and two national teams—China and Croatia—participating. Teams compete in a tournament-style schedule in four preliminary games before seeding in a tournament; each team will play at least five games and as many as seven games.
With so many exciting news and events for the upcoming NBA 2019-20 regular season, fans hope that it will be another good year for their team and the players.