NBA 2019 one reason to see each team2

One reason to see every NBA team this season [all 30 teams]

The 2019-20 NBA season is upon us, so there’s a good chance you’re looking at the schedule and a map right now deciding which teams to see in action between now and the middle of next year. This inevitably leads trip planners to questions like: Are the Washington Wizards worth the price of admission? Should I add a stop to my trip so I can see the Charlotte Hornets? Is the one-hour train trip from New York to Philly worth it to see the 76ers?

Sure, you may already know all of the answers1, but you might need help convincing a friend, your significant other or your mum to come along for the ride. This guide is for you. 

Here’s how to talk yourself (or someone else) into seeing every NBA team this season

You can jump to a team here:

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Los Angeles Lakers

LeBron (+ AD = Showtime).

It’s almost a disservice to not list a player the ilk of Anthony Davis (who was acquired by the Lakers in the offseason) but with chances to see LeBron becoming rarer with each passing year, you simply must see the King in Los Angeles before he calls time. The Lakers have loaded up for a tilt at the title… need we say more?

A matchup to watch: LA Clippers

There’s something about cross-town matchups that are just so … interesting. This season, both the Clippers and Lakers are set to make the playoffs (and could even be seeded 1 and 2 in the West!), so the entire city of Los Angeles may shut down when these teams meet. Better dig deep into that wallet though, these tickets aren’t going to be cheap.

Los Angeles Clippers

The Battle of LA.

Clippers owner Steve Ballmer means business. He’s said it himself, and moved mountains to get Kawhi Leonard across to the Clippers – by headhunting Paul George at Kawhi’s request. They’ve splashed the cash on the court and should see healthy returns as a result. And if tickets for the Lakers are out of your price range, you may have better luck with Clippers tickets.

A matchup to watch: Los Angeles Lakers

The Lakeshow might have LeBron James and Anthony Davis, but could ‘younger brother’ in the Clippers trump the OG? Kawhi Leonard’s year with Toronto last season was almost flawless, Paul George is a six-time All-Star and Lou Williams is still one of the best bench players in the league. Tickets to these games won’t be cheap, but will be oh so worth it!

Golden State Warriors

Steph Curry, back against the wall.

There are too many reasons to list as to why you should go and see the Golden State Warriors, and narrowing it down to just one is tough. Steph Curry is a future Hall-of-Famer, and a freak with ball in hand, so do yourselves a favour and see him while you can. Injuries and key departures from this historically good team brings question marks, so if the Warriors are to go deep into the playoffs this season it’ll be off the back of a special season from Steph. It’s also the Dubs’ first year at the Chase Center, so you’ll be able to visit a brand new stadium.

A matchup to watch: Los Angeles Lakers

LeBron James has had some interesting tussles with the Warriors in recent years, and now they’re in the same conference, you can see these teams clash more often than if he was still at Cleveland. Add Anthony Davis into the mix for the Lakers and these games are worth every penny. 

Denver Nuggets

Nikola Jokic.

The big Serb (he’s seven-feet tall, after all), got his first All-Star nod last season, and at just 24 years of age, he’s set to go to the next level this season in Denver. In addition to being team captain, he’s a dynamic weapon that is a pleasure to watch. Oh, and the Nuggets’ mascot, Rocky the Mountain Lion, is pretty cool as well.

A matchup to watch: Utah Jazz

Both the Nuggets and Jazz play in the Rocky Mountains, and both will probably be vying for the same playoff spot come the pointy end, so there should be fireworks in the building each time they play this season.

Sacramento Kings

De’Aaron Fox and young up-and-comers.

Not much has gone right for the Sacramento Kings over the last decade or so, but drafting De’Aaron Fox was a fantastic move. He’s slick, quick and a plays with a chip on his shoulder. Considering tickets to see the Kings aren’t overly expensive – and Sacramento is only a couple of hours out of San Francisco – there’s value in watching this young team play on your California road trip.

A matchup to watch: Los Angeles Lakers

Ask any Sacramento Kings fan about Game 6 of the 2002 Western Conference Finals and they’ll be sure to let you know all about why they hate the Lakers. This Cali rivalry hasn’t been so hot in recent seasons due to the struggles of both teams, but the Kings are building a talented roster, and could trouble the Lakers at home.

Portland TrailBlazers

Dame and CJ.

It might be because they’re the only pro sporting team that plays in the city over winter, but the people of Portland LOVE their Trail Blazers. It might also have something to do with the fact that they have one of the NBA’s most bankable duos in Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum at the helm. They’re both genuine stars, so get along to see them. In addition, Portland is one of the many stops on our famed roadtrip of the Pacific Northwest.

A matchup to watch: Golden State Warriors

These teams had a couple of epic battles last season, and considering the West is up for grabs this year, clashes between these two mean more than ever. Dame vs. Steph – what more could you ask for?

Phoenix Suns

Young squad, old-school scorer.

Devin Booker has drawn comparisons to volume scorers from past eras2 – and he leads a young, intriguing squad. We could also talk about Deandre Ayton, Aron Baynes🇦🇺 or Ricky Rubio as genuine reasons to go and see the Suns play, but Phoenix is well worth a stop if you’re traversing around the northern parts of the States in the middle of winter. Located in the desert, Phoenix receives the most sunlight of any major city on Earth, and boasts an average mid-winter maximum temperature of 25  degrees Celsius. Sounds good to us!

A matchup to watch: Los Angeles Lakers

Everyone seems to have a “special rivalry” with the Lakers. This one goes back a few years now, but it reached boiling point when Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash were at their respective teams. Kobe came out and said he “hated” the Suns, and that they twice cost the Lakers a Championship in 2006 and in 2007. It’s been a few years, but any excuse to see the Lakers and LeBron is a good one.

Utah Jazz

They might be Australia’s team.

Joe Ingles isn’t just a role player at the Jazz, he might be the club’s biggest cult hero. Jinglin’ Joe has been wowing crowds in Salt Lake City for years, and getting out to see him and fellow Aussie Dante Exum on the floor is a treat that everyone should enjoy. Salt Lake City is a stunning place to visit as well, with excellent hiking, skiing and other snow-related activities close by. 

A matchup to watch: Houston Rockets

These teams met in last year’s postseason, with the Rockets getting the better of the Jazz in five games. They’ve actually met in the playoffs an astounding nine times, with the Rockets having won the last two series (in 2019 and 2018).

Milwaukee Bucks


He’s one of the most dynamic and awe-inspiring players in the NBA, and fresh off being named the league MVP, there’s no better time to see the Giannis Antetonkoumnpo and the Bucks. Add in the fact they play at an amazing new stadium in downtown Milwaukee and it really is worth making the trip up from a more ‘tourist friendly’ city in Chicago.

A matchup to watch: Boston Celtics

They met in the Eastern Conference Semifinals last season, and the Bucks won the series in five matches, so you’d better believe the Celtics are out for revenge. Despite having lost a few key pieces, Boston has picked up All-Star Kemba Walker to complement the kids, so you’re sure to see a hell of a game.

Chicago Bulls

90s nostalgia + exciting youth.

The 90s Bulls teams still feel present at Bulls games, from the intro music to the uniforms, so you’ll tap into memories of those Jordan documentaries you watched growing up. Sure, the Bulls really haven’t been good for years – but there’s a certain charm and appeal about walking into the United Center with that ‘23’ jersey you bought back in 1992. The kids aren’t bad, either, with Zach Lavine and Lauri Markkanen leading the Bulls’ rebuild. Who knows, they may even string a few wins together this year.

A matchup to watch:  Milwaukee Bucks

Traditionally the Bulls have been stronger than their counterparts up the highway in Wisconsin, but the Bucks have recently shown their neighbours who’s boss. These games are always chippy and therefore always worth the price of admission.

Indiana Pacers

A college-style fanbase that appreciates quality basketball.

Indianapolis isn’t the first place many people think of when they decide they’re going on a holiday to the United States. In fact, it’s probably not in most people’s list of top 100 places they want to see… but the product on the floor at the Bankers Life Fieldhouse is good, and the fans appreciate a squad who play “the right way”. Victor Oladipo is a two-time All-Star, while Myles Turner is a defensive powerhouse. The value is there if you venture to the midwest.

A matchup to watch: Chicago Bulls

Being close neighbours means there’ll be plenty of Bulls fans in the building. And if there are Bulls fans in the building, you know the atmosphere is going to be incredible!

Minnesota Timberwolves

Karl-Anthony Towns.

The T-Wolves big man is one of the league’s most underrated players, and considering the franchise acquired one of the brightest young stars in last season’s draft in Jarrett Culver, things might be looking up for the Minneapolis-based team. Tickets are cheap, too, meaning a night out watching some quality basketball won’t break the bank.

A matchup to watch: Milwaukee Bucks

It’s not often that midwest-based pro sports teams get to have a location-based rivalry, but Minneapolis and Milwaukeee are a stone’s throw away from each other (okay, not really, but you get it!), and battle to capture the small-market share in the towns located between those two cities. Plus, you get the KAT-Giannis matchup, and there’s nothing small-market about that.

Detroit Pistons

Potential redemption team (& a new stadium).

Believe it or not, one of the major reasons given by both the Pistons and Red Wings for apparent ‘poor crowds’ last season was that fans were in the arena – but they were just at the many great bars, restaurants and lounge areas scattered around Little Caesars Arena. We’re a little skeptical, but it is a brand new stadium with all the modern amenities. Adding Derrick Rose to the team to play alongside Blake Griffin means you’ve got the potential for an early-2010s renaissance narrative for this squad too.

A matchup to watch: LA Clippers

Blake Griffin was the Clippers’ last true franchise player, so being there when he meets their new ones – Kawhi Leonard and Paul George – would be noteworthy for a number of reasons.

Cleveland Cavaliers

Cheap seats, underdog status, Matthew Dellavedova.

There aren’t many arenas in the NBA where you can get access to the world’s best players for the price of a large Big Mac meal, but depending on the opponent, Cleveland is certainly one of those places. Add in the Delly factor, and it’s a compelling proposition for Aussies looking to watch some ball in the States.

A matchup to watch: Los Angeles Lakers

Can there be any other answer than “when LeBron is in town”? You’ll be paying a bit more for the privilege, but remember that LeBron brought the good people of Cleveland their first NBA title. There aren’t going to be many more opportunities to see him strut his stuff in his home state, so do it while you can.

Miami Heat

Jimmy Buckets in DWade’s shoes.

Jimmy Butler, on advice from his friend Dwyane Wade, joined the Heat in the offseason. This is nice for Miami fans both from a culture continuity standpoint as well as putting them back in the frame as an expected Eastern Conference playoff team. Even though most NBA games are in winter, you can lean in to the South Beach culture in Miami: Beach by day, ball by night – sounds pretty good! Buy a Miami Vice jersey and take your talents to South Beach… doesn’t sound so bad, does it?

A matchup to watch: Minnesota Timberwolves

It wasn’t a nice exit from Minnesota for Jimmy Butler – and even though he had a stop with the 76ers since then, it will still be most interesting to see how he takes a grind-mentality Heat squad to the young Timberwolves stars he publicly criticised in the past.

Orlando Magic

Markelle redemption arc.

Markelle Fultz enters year 3 of what has been one of the most bizarre college-to-NBA transitions in memory. Injuries turned Pick 1 in the 2017 draft into a ho-hum last-minute trade piece in early 2019, and Fultz now finds himself with a Disney logo on his jersey in Orlando. At just 20 years old, if he’s able to work his way back to anything close to resembling his time at College, it’ll be one of the great NBA narratives.

Orlando also made the playoffs last year, and with talented players like Mo Bamba, Nikola Vucevic and Evan Fournier on the roster, the Magic are a great value team to see.

A matchup to watch: Philadelphia 76ers

This one is straightforward. If Markelle Fultz is to achieve anything close to a comeback, the end of that movie has to be him facing the team who gave up on him, right?

New Orleans Pelicans

Zion and Lonzo.

We couldn’t narrow it down to just one reason, so how’s two? Zion Williamson is the most hyped rookie since LeBron James, and in his short time at the Pels since being traded from the Lakers (as part of the Anthony Davis trade), Lonzo Ball has looked impressive to say the least. Aside from that, does anyone really need an excuse to go to New Orleans?

A matchup to watch: Los Angeles Lakers

Considering Anthony Davis checked out of playing for the Pelicans about halfway through last season, the reception he gets at the Smoothie King Center this year will be … interesting, and well worth the price of admission.

Atlanta Hawks

See the old and the new.

After a Hawks game, you’ll be able to say that you saw one of the most exciting players in NBA history along with some potential from the next generation. 42-year-old Vince Carter is going around one last time for a farewell tour, and while that is reason enough to watch Atlanta, it’s the likes of Cam Reddish and Trae Young (who had an excellent rookie season) who will start to wow the crowds. They’re probably going to be entertaining to watch, and you’ll have something to talk whenever someone brings up the iconic 2000 dunk contest.

A matchup to watch: New Orleans Pelicans

As far as neighbouring teams go, the Pelicans and Hawks are in similar positions. They’re not likely to be contending in the playoffs, but southern bragging rights will be on the line for these talented young rosters.

Memphis Grizzlies

Value in a rebuild.

Aside from having amazingly affordable tickets, a night out at a Grizzlies game means a night out on the famous Beale Street as well. Chock full of bars with flashy neon lights, some of the best country and jazz music in the world, and southern BBQ, a trip to Fedex Forum is never just about the basketball – even if they have a roster featuring up-and-coming talent like Jaren Jackson Jr and Ja Morant, in addition to veterans like Jonas Valanciunas and Andre Iguodala.

A matchup to watch: Any southern team

If you think about it, the Pelicans, Grizzlies, Hornets and Hawks are all young, rebuilding teams trying to fight for an early tilt at the playoffs. As a result, games between these teams should all be of a high-intensity, and would be well worth watching.

Houston Rockets

The Harden and Westbrook show.

If we thought the Rockets’ offence was bonkers with prolific scorer James Harden at the helm, how explosive will it be now he’s teamed up with Russell Westbrook? Take it from us, back the overs in any game Houston plays this year – it’s going to be bucket city. 

A matchup to watch: LA Clippers

Clashes between these two teams could well be previews of the Western Conference Finals. Expect intense, offensively-minded games with talent all over the floor. And it’ll be a reunion for Westbrook and Paul George, who were both at the Thunder last year.

San Antonio Spurs

Gregg Popovich.

It’s almost hard to believe that Pop has been the head coach of San Antonio for more than 20 years! It sounds even crazier when you think that Andrew Gaze won an NBA Championship ring under the master coach back in 1999. It means he’s doing something right, and to see him orchestrate a win (and speak with the media afterwards!) is definitely a bucket list item for basketball purists.

A matchup to watch: Houston Rockets

The Spurs could probably stake a claim as Texas’ most successful team over the past decade, but Houston probably have the more talented roster right now. One thing you know for sure, however, is that whenever these teams meet, win-loss records don’t really matter.

Dallas Mavericks

The Europeans.

They love their European talismans in Dallas, and after the retirement of Dirk Nowitzki last season, there’s no better name to carry on the legacy than 20-year-old Luka Doncic. Not only is he a marvel to watch already, but he has an approachable swagger that is hard to ignore. If Doncic isn’t your cup of tea, however, never fear! Kristaps Porzingis is another handy Euro the Mavs have added to their roster.

A matchup to watch: The Texan teams

They say that everything’s bigger in Texas, and that includes its rivalries. Dallas hasn’t been overly successful since they won the NBA Finals back in 2011, while the Spurs and Rockets have been mainstays on the playoffs for years now. That’s set to change this season, so watching the Mavs take on their state-based rivals will be must-watch basketball.

Charlotte Hornets


It’s a tough time to be a Charlotte fan. A year after hosting the All-Star game, Kemba Walker has departed to the Celtics… so they are no longer hosting any All Stars of their own. For travelling sports fans, though, it presents a great opportunity to sit up close to the court for a fraction of the cost of one of the more popular teams. There is also some Ewing Theory potential here.

A matchup to watch: Boston Celtics

The crowd will be out in force for Kemba Walker’s return in a Celtics’ jersey, while Terry Rozier will also have a point to prove against his old squad.

Oklahoma City Thunder

Steven Adams with CP3.

In addition to being a damn fine player, Kiwi Steven Adams is also one of the NBA’s biggest characters, and supporting our friends from across the ditch is well worth it to see the big man – even if he’s not as interested in us. Newly-acquired nine-time All-Star Chris Paul also means that while they may be “rebuilding”, Oklahoma City will still be a load of fun to watch in 2019-20.

A matchup to watch: Houston Rockets

Oklahoma City’s biggest name in Russell Westbrook left the franchise in the offseason, so being in the Chesapeake Energy Arena when he returns for the first (or second, or third!) time with the Houston Rockets will be fascinating to say the least. Make sure you load up on the bottomless popcorn…

New York Knicks

A chip on their shoulder as they try to retain NY.

They might have picked up Duke wunderkind RJ Barrett in the draft, but the Knicks probably aren’t yet ready to contend at the pointy end of the season. On the other hand, the Brooklyn Nets made the biggest signings in the NBA offseason, making waves in New York. So, fairly or unfairly, the Knicks entire season will probably be viewed in comparison to their cross-town rivals. Early signs suggest that the Knicks (and Knicks fans) are going to play with a chip on their shoulder because of it.

It’s also worth noting that the Knicks play in the World’s Most Famous Arena, and any chance you have to go there, you take.

A matchup to watch: Brooklyn Nets

This cross-town rivalry is set to explode in the coming seasons, and there’s no better time to see the Nets and Knicks duke it out at either MSG or Barclays. Pick your side wisely!

Brooklyn Nets

The rebuild is complete.

Just a few years ago, the Brooklyn Nets and Boston Celtics were involved in what is considered one of the worst trades of all time. The Nets were looking to add veterans for quick success after moving the franchise to Brooklyn, so they gave up years worth of draft picks to the Celtics. The plan didn’t work, and Nets fans had to endure some tough years with seemingly nothing to look forward to3, while Celtics fans laughed in their faces. Forced to make savvy moves to incrementally improve their club, the Nets did exactly that, which culminated in making the playoffs last season with a young squad. The positive momentum took them into the offseason, where they made three huge free agent signings… including stealing the Boston Celtics’ best player. DELICIOUS.

A matchup to watch: Boston Celtics or the New York Knicks

The spiel above pretty much explains why the Nets/Celtics rivalry continues to get more interesting, but it’ll also be hard to look away from their games against the Knicks.

Philadelphia 76ers

They’re probably Australia’s team.

We’ve spoken about this before. Ben Simmons is probably already the best player that Australia has ever produced, and the Australian connection doesn’t stop there. This video from Sarah also explains why the time is right to go to Philadelphia.

A matchup to watch: Utah Jazz

There’s an argument to be made that with two Australian players on the roster – as well as Donovan Mitchell endearing himself to Aussies this year – the Jazz can claim a better “Australian connection” than the 76ers.

Boston Celtics

The Cs mean business in ’19-20.

In the offseason, Boston shifted a number of seemingly crucial players out of the team in an effort to get a leg-up over the rest of the Eastern Conference, which is now wide open. The biggest addition to the team was All-Star Kemba Walker, who came in on a max contract. Combine a talented roster with one of the league’s most rowdy crowds and a night out at TD Garden is a must-do.

A matchup to watch: Milwaukee Bucks

Led by reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo, the Bucks are the team to beat in the East this year, and after these sides faced off in the Eastern Conference semifinals, there’s a bit of heat in this rivalry.

Toronto Raptors

They’re Champions AND underdogs, somehow.

Last season was one to remember in Canada – Jurassic Park was rocking, Nick Nurse was coaching up a storm and Kawhi was balling. Things are a little different now; their star player has departed and the Raptors’ prospects aren’t as good this season. It’s not often that the Champs of the league enter the next season as relative underdogs: but here we are. Let’s see what Toronto can come up with.

A matchup to watch: Philadelphia 76ers

Their meeting in the Eastern Conference Semifinals earlier this year was one of the greatest best-of-seven series we’ve seen in recent years, and this rivalry is set to continue in 2019-20. Any game featuring these two teams this season will be well worth the price of admission.

Washington Wizards

The cheapest way to see two All-Stars.

We all love a bargain, but when it comes to watching live NBA action, ‘paying a pretty penny’ and ‘lower bowl’ aren’t often phrases that go hand-in-hand. If you’re in the nation’s capital, though, it’s not unusual to find decent seats (within ten rows of the floor) for less than AUD$100. Dynamic duo Bradley Beal and John Wall are still together as well, meaning the team might have the best ticket-cost-per-All-Star ratio in the league4.

A matchup to watch:  Philadelphia 76ers

Considering their closest rivals, the Philadelphia 76ers, are set to be a very good team, it might be worth going to see the Wizards try and disrupt their run to the playoffs. At home, they might even do it.

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  1. It’s almost always “yes”
  2. We’re not going to name names, but think of the one you say when you throw a scrunched up piece of paper at a bin.
  3. Even Jay-Z bailed.
  4. If you like a ‘nobody believes in us’ story, this sentence probably makes that pretty clear, too.