Malunga: The 10 things I’d like to see this season

The new 2018-19 season, like in all past seasons, will bring its own drama and storylines. Here are a few I hope will actually happen.

Someone joining 50-40-90 club

Stephen Curry (2016-17) and Kevin Durant (2012-13) are the only players who have had a 50-40-90 season in the last eight years. The duo shot upward of 50 percent from the field, 40 percent from beyond the arc and 90 percent from the free-throw line in those standout seasons. It would be interesting to see yet another player posting those stats, or to see either Durant or Curry join Steve Nash and Larry Bird as the only players to record a 50-40-90 season on multiple occasions.

Lonzo Ball being more assertive

Lonzo Ball has already established himself as a facilitator and leader but the arrival of LeBron James will shift the spotlight from him to his new teammate. This could help him thrive under less pressure with the burden of high expectations lifted from his young shoulders. And he will now have a chance to thrive with more championship-ready teammates.

LeBron James going for scoring title

Despite averaging 25-plus points for 14 consecutive seasons, LeBron James has only one scoring title to his name (2008). It would be fun to see him get the best out of the young Los Angeles Lakers core, but he has the ability to lead the league in scoring. Last season he was the third-best scorer in the league with an average of 27.5 ppg, behind James Harden (30.4ppg) and Anthony Davis (28.1 ppg). He has all the qualities to resurrect the Lakers while also posting huge numbers.

Aaron Gordon vs Zach LaVine in dunk contest

Any dunk-contest enthusiast will tell you that they feel robbed of a sequel to the classic 2016 Slam Dunk contest between LaVine and Gordon. The duo put on a dunking clinic which went the distance as fans witnessed techniques they had never seen before, including one where a hoverboard was involved. LaVine appears to have retired from the contest while Gordon did not participate last year, and their return would make the dunk contest electrifying again.

Draymond Green or … getting quadruple-double

A quadruple-double has not been achieved in the league since 1994 when David Robinson registered 34 points, 10 rebounds, 10 assists and 10 blocks against the Detroit Pistons. It would be amazing to see another player record this difficult feat. Last year Draymond Green snagged a triple-double with single-digit points, putting up four points, 12 rebounds, 10 assists and 10 steals in a win over the Memphis Grizzlies. He showed then that he’s capable of filling up four different stats in one game, and it would be entertaining to see him have a go at the record.

Embiid vs Ayton duel

DeAndre Ayton pitted against Joel Embiid could be the league’s best center duel in years. Both players have the quality to be top-five centers in the league, and an intense yet healthy tussle between the two would evoke memories of the Hakeem Olajuwon-David Robinson duel, which would be fun to witness.

Washington Wizards making run for conference finals

John Wall has always been vocal about his team’s chances of a deep playoffs run but his team has struggled to reach even the conference finals. With the Eastern Conference being competitive again it would be refreshing to see the Wizards challenge for a place in The NBA Finals. The addition of Dwight Howard and Austin Rivers will improve their depth and increase their chances of having a stellar season.

Paul George living up to ‘Playoff P’ nickname

With a first-round elimination at the hands of a team with no All-Stars, led by a rookie and no championships to show, it would be hard for Paul George to make anyone believe, other than himself, that they should stick with the ‘Playoff P’ nickname. George and the Oklahoma City Thunder have all the makings of a powerful Western Conference team but he also needs to up his game in the playoffs. This could be possible as he will now be the undisputed second scoring option for OKC and he might shoot the ball more with no other superstar added as the third wheel.

KD getting more credit for defense

Kevin Durant is easily the best, if not one of the best, all-around shooters in the league but his defensive improvements have not been highlighted enough. His defense has been underrated—last season he averaged a career-high 1.8 blocks per game. In total he recorded 119 blocks in the regular season, the sixth-best record in the league in that category. Durant was the only small forward in the top 10 in terms of blocks made last season. He also averaged 6.8 rebounds per game, which improved to 7.8 rebounds per game in the playoffs. He also recorded 150 defensive rebounds in the playoffs, per, the fourth highest in the postseason.

Curry breaking his single-game 3-point record

In 2016 Stephen Curry drained 13 3-pointers in a regular-season game against the New Orleans Pelicans, the single-game record for the most 3-point shots made by a single player. Curry was red-hot in his 2016-17 MVP-winning season but injuries have prevented him from repeating that wonderful feat. A flamboyant showman and long-range specialist, beating his own record would be enough motivation for Curry to continue building his already glittering legacy.

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