Photo from: USA Today
So it's been three days since the NBA kicked off its 2020-2021 season, and I already have tons of questions, thoughts, and predictions for this upcoming year. We all just experienced the most unorthodox season, as we underwent a season halt due to an emergency world pandemic, which soon became a relocation of all teams to the NBA Bubble in Orlando, Florida. I want to start off with the obvious, how will Adam Silver and the National Basketball Association successfully return to a traveling schedule while continuing to provide a safe environment and procedure for all the athletes, coaching staff, and workers. Most teams other than a couple are not allowing any fans, which is nothing near normal in the sports world. There are covid-19 protocols that are meant to be followed and if broken consequences will be distributed, we just saw this occur with MVP James Harden on the Houston Rockets, after being seen at a strip club, Harden was fined $50K, which should be a good lesson for all players around the league.
Photo From: House Of Houston
Speaking of Harden, where do you think he will land? Will he possibly stay with the Rockets? It's been pretty clear that Harden after eight years wants out of Houston considering he turned down a two-year extension worth 103 million dollars. On Christmas Eve, Kelly Iko of The Athletic reported that the former MVP added the Boston Celtics and the Portland Trail Blazers to his list of preferred destinations, which included the 76ers, the Heat, the Bucks, and the Nets. All I know is, whatever happens, it is more than likely to shake up the NBA for the remainder of the season.
Photo From: Behance
The Brooklyn Nets are another reason this NBA season will be shaken up, the return of Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving has already been extremely disruptive as they ran away with two wins against the Golden State Warriors and the Boston Celtics. The two-time final MVP began this season looking very dominant and explosive alongside his teammate Kyrie Irving who dropped 37 points in his Christmas day matchup. After both players came back from season ending injuries, viewers from all over can already tell that this duo is going to be a problem. Can they potentially win the whole thing? If Durant proves he is fully back from his injury and continues to lead the Nets to a successful season, an MVP could be in Durants' near future. Players such as Giannis Antetokounmpo, Luka Dončić, Lebron James are also big names who are talked about while regarding MVP.
Photo from: CBS Sports
Giannis currently has two consecutive MVP awards under his belt, and I wouldn't be surprised if he gets a third. Only three players in NBA history have won three consecutive MVP awards and none have been passed the year of 1990. The Bucks are definitely trying to help Giannis’s case by changing up their roster in order to bring out the best from the 26-year-old icon. It will be exciting to see how the MVP conversations change as the season continues.
Photo From: CLTure
As we speak on awards, ROTY is also another award that is going to be very interesting to discuss as each candidate continues to grow. A majority of analysts and viewers have their money on Charlotte Hornets, LaMelo Ball, but will he be worth the hype? Yes, the assist to turnover ratios aren't pretty and he might not have the most impressive shooting percentage, but he is a passing genius and is very entertaining to watch, we need to be open-minded with the 19-year-old point guard as he has a lot of growth in front of him, I am super excited to see him progress as a player. Anthony Edwards, James Wiseman, Obi Toppin, and Killian Hayes are just a couple of other names to look out for as the ROTY race continues.
Photo From: The Sun
Now let's talk about the reigning champions, the Los Angelos Lakers, I do believe that they did get stronger as they added Montrezl Harrell, our previous Sixth Man of the Year winner, former Defensive Player of the Year Marc Gasol, and reigning Sixth Man of the Year runner-up Dennis Schroder. Along with that, the chemistry between the two superstars Lebron James and Anthony Davis looks stronger than ever.
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Jimmy Butler and the Heat also have hopes of returning to the finals. Although they aren't the favorites to represent the eastern conference, they proved last season they could do it no matter what people think as they had an overall easy playoff run to the NBA championship game. The determination, confidence, fearlessness, and chemistry we saw from leaders such as Butler and Bam Adebayo along with the rookies such as Tyler Herro and Kendrick Nunn makes it easy to see why they are so successful.
Photo From: Essentially Sports
If you know me you know I can't bring up an article about my thoughts without bringing up Russell Westbrook, Westbrook just made his debut with the Washington Wizards and it got me very excited for their season as a team. In my opinion, future Hall of Famer Westbrook is over-hated and the only thing people like to discuss is his shortcomings, forgetting that he is in his 13th year and is still a lethal offensive force who averaged 32 points before COVID-19 caused the league to stop. During his first game with the Wizards you can already tell the organization and leadership he brought to the team as he acquired a triple-double, making him the first-ever Wizard to get a triple-double in a debut game. Westbrook created many opportunities for all his teammates and I already see the connection between Westbrook and Bradley Beal in such little time. I am excited to watch this next chapter of his career, and what he can do with the Washington Wizards.
Photo From: FiveThirtyEight
What can we expect from Paul George, Kawhi Leonard, and the Los Angelos Clippers? The Clippers shocked and disappointed many viewers and fans as they were expected to be matched up with the Lakers in the finals. They crumbled in the Western Conference semifinals against the Denver Nuggets where they lost a 3-1 lead. The Clippers have tons of pressure to be successful this season as Kawhi Leonard enters free agency in 2021. They have everything they need to be a championship team, they just gained Serge Ibaka which would distinctly make an impact in the frontcourt. Can this be the season we get the Battle for LA?
There is so much I can talk about such as Logo Dame, Steve Nash, Micheal Porter Jr., and more but these are all of the major questions and thoughts I have had this season thus far. If you want me to discuss any other topic, or want to have a little debate, direct message me on Instagram @speaksports_. I am extremely excited to see what this season brings, and to see how everything pans out.