1. The impact of COVID-19
It is impossible to talk about the 2020-21 NBA season without acknowledging the impact the ongoing coronavirus pandemic will have on the season. The home court advantage has already been largely wiped out, as all sides in the league landscape will be forced to start the season with few or no fans present. The Raptors can’t even play home games in their own city. Unlike the NFL where each team only plays one game per week, each NBA team plays multiple games per week, meaning that a positive test for a player during the season could put that player out of action for a handful of. matches, or more. . In which plans to be a competitive playoff race in both conferences, that could be the difference between making or missing the playoffs. Or in the playoffs, such an absence could sway an entire series. Ultimately, the whole season could come down to which team is capable of staying healthier and having the fewest positive test results.
James Harden has made it clear that he no longer wants to be a member of the Houston Rockets. Harden, who asked the team for a trade, showed up late at training camp in Houston after posting pictures of himself partying across the country rather than being with his teammates preparing for the season. Although Harden initially made it clear that he wanted to be traded to the Brooklyn Nets, he apparently broadened his scope when it comes to potential landing points, as he reportedly informed the Rockets before camp began. workout that he would be open to a trade with the Philadelphia 76ers, or any competitor. Now the whole league is waiting to see what the Rockets do with the situation.
Technically, the Rockets have nothing to do, as Harden is under contract with the team for two more seasons. Technically, they could take their time to trade it in, if they chose to. However, then they run the risk of having an unfortunate superstar on the squad, and if they did, things could go south in the locker room pretty quickly.
Considering the years remaining on Harden’s current contract, there is no reason for the Rockets to rush into a deal. Aside from negotiating for John Wall (at Harden’s behest), the Rockets have also added two talented big men in DeMarcus Cousins and Christian Wood during the offseason and, on paper, they project themselves as a formidable team. If things click, Houston could still be a capable team in the highly competitive Western Conference, and Harden could potentially change their stance on being traded. This is obviously the best scenario for Houston, and it is far from a guarantee. If things turn the other way, however, the Rockets could still choose to trade Harden before the trade deadline, or even the next offseason, and still, possibly, receive an attractive return package.
Just as there are questions about Harden’s future in Houston, there are also questions about Giannis Antetokounmpo’s future in Milwaukee. Having had the best regular season record in the past two seasons, the Bucks have failed to get out of the East every time, and as such, many are wondering if he will go for more pastures. Greens elsewhere when his current contract with the Bucks expires after the ’20-21 season. Antetokounmpo could sign a supermax extension with the Bucks before the December 21 deadline, and in doing so, he would end any speculation about his future. However, he recently revealed that he is not “focused” on the expansion.
“I’m not focusing on [the extension] Said Antetokounmpo. My agent Alex and Jon Horst and the Bucks ownership are focused on these discussions and I’m just trying to focus on myself, how I can improve, how I can help my teammates be better. ”
If Antetokounmpo doesn’t sign the extension, all eyes will be on the Bucks to see how they fare this season. If they are able to break through and advance to the final, that would likely bode well for them when it comes to keeping Antetokounmpo for the long haul. However, if they go out again at the start of the playoffs, Antetokounmpo could potentially seek a new NBA home in the next season.
4. How good will Brooklyn be?
After a season of anticipation, we’ll finally have the opportunity to see the duo of Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving dress up for the Nets. Brooklyn made major waves by signing the two stars for major deals this past season, and now that both are in full health, the Nets face high expectations. On paper, the Nets plan to be one of the best teams in the East, if not in the entire league. However, chemistry could be a concern, given Irving’s story. Plus, as we’ve seen time and time again, bringing star players together doesn’t necessarily guarantee success. If so, the Rockets would have won a title in the past two years, and the Clippers would not have lost in the Western Conference semifinals last season. It will be extremely interesting to see if Brooklyn will be able to live up to her potential on paper, or if she will be disappointed with issues with chemistry or injuries.
Last season, Zion Williamson was the most high-profile rookie the NBA has seen since LeBron James entered the league in 2003. And while Williamson lived up to expectations while on the ground, he was not. really on the ground. many. After tearing his meniscus in pre-season, Williamson appeared in just 24 total games for the New Orleans Pelicans during the regular season. When he did play his use was limited – he averaged 27.8 minutes per game over the season – as the Pelicans wanted to be too careful with their young star.
For basketball fans, watching Williamson during his rookie campaign was almost like a tease, as it seemed like every time he stepped out onto the floor he was substituted due to a restriction on his minutes. The good news is that as he approaches his second season, Williamson is in perfect health and he doesn’t expect to have any minute restrictions during the 2020-2021 season.
” Me and [Pelicans] coach [Stan] Van Gundy has spoken and from what I know now there are no restrictions. None, ”said Williamson happy. I love to play basketball. Without restrictions? Why wouldn’t I like this? ”
Despite limited playing time, Williamson recorded some big numbers as a rookie. He averaged 22.5 points, 6.3 rebounds and 2.1 assists per performance and became the first rookie since Michael Jordan to register 16 20-point games in his first 20 games in the league. With more minutes, we can expect Williamson’s numbers to be even better in his second season.