The Golden State Warriors and the Cleveland Cavaliers are expected to meet in NBA Finals for a fourth consecutive season, according to most NBA analysts. But with all the trades, drafting new crops of hoopsters, and getting valuable help in the free agency – are these two teams really destined to face anew, or will there be a new contender, or two.

During the offseason, team executives tried bringing in the right pieces of the puzzle that will help end the mockery happening in the NBA Finals during the last three seasons. The Boston Celtics, Houston Rockets, Oklahoma City Thunder, and Minnesota Timberwolves have upgraded their lineups from just playoff-bound teams to potential contenders for the NBA Finals.

Warriors own the West

Unseating the Warriors and the Cavaliers as the Western and Eastern champions, respectively, was seemingly an undoable task these past three years. And Draymond Green thinks they are locked in to defend their NBA title. Reacting to Houston Rockets GM Daryl Morey’s statement that the Warriors, “are not unbeatable,” the outspoken Warriors forward responded, “they don’t stand a chance.”

The recent offseason saw big roster improvements, especially in the West. For one, the James Harden-Chris Paul tandem has brought the Rockets’ offense to even greater heights. The Rockets has also transformed into one of the best defense-oriented teams during the offseason. But do they have enough firepower to stop Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson, and the rest of the Golden State Warriors?

The separate trades to get Carmelo Anthony and Paul George remain as the biggest steals during the offseason. Teaming up with Russell Westbrook, Andre Roberson, and Steven Adams, some basketball analysts believe that the OKC Thunder’s starting lineup is the closest there is to match the Warriors.

Jimmy Butler, Jeff Teague, Jamal Crawford and Taj Gibson are expected to contribute greatly to the Minnesota Timberwolves’ cause led by Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins.

And then there’s the perennial Western Conference contender, the San Antonio Spurs, led by Kawhi Leonard. Other notable teams in the West are Portland Trail Blazers, Utah Jazz, and potential dark horse, Denver Nuggets.

Cavaliers will secure the East

The Cleveland Cavaliers are expected to undergo uphill battle when the new NBA season starts.

With three new starters – Derrick Rose, Dwyane Wade, and Jae Crowder – plus, Kevin Love sliding down at starting center, they need more time to settle down with their new roles. Plus, Isaiah Thomas will need time to adjust once he suits up probably around December to January.

Nevertheless, the Cavaliers are expected to defend their Eastern Conference title to arrange another showdown against the Golden State Warriors for their fourth consecutive NBA Finals appearance. Two reasons – first, only a few teams can offer decent resistance. The second is obvious – LeBron James.

Even after Kyrie Irving joined forces with Gordon Hayward, Al Horford and the rest of the Boston Celtics, they cannot unseat the Cavaliers this season.

As what Isaiah Thomas said, the Celtics “lost a lot of heart and soul,” with Horford as the only mainstay from last season’s starting lineup.

According to most NBA analysts, no other team can come close to beating the Cavaliers aside from the Celtics. But a couple of dark horses might end up snatching the Celtics’ seat at the Eastern Conference Finals.

Many believe that Giannis Antetokounmpo will have an MVP-like performance this year as he leads the Milwaukee Bucks. The Toronto Raptors’ quartet DeMar DeRozan, Kyle Lowry, Jonas Valančiūnas, and Serge Ibaka is expected to play better on both ends of the court while the trio of John Wall, Bradley Beal, and Otto Porter is expected to power the Washington Wizards.

Finally, with the right direction and combination, the youngsters of the Philadelphia 76ers could end up surprising the league. However, the inevitable will still happen – the Golden State Warriors will face the Cleveland Cavaliers anew in the 2018 NBA Finals.