The Start of a New NBA Season

The+Start+of+a+New+NBA+Season

Alexander Stuppel, Sports Editor

After a shortened 2020 NBA season filled with COVID disruptions and an extensive amount of injuries, this year’s season has begun with a new face of the league. Coming off of a historic run with the 2021 Champions Milwaukee Bucks, star forward Giannis Antetokounmpo has proven he’s among the league’s best players, or maybe is the best player. For the last ten years, there has been a clear number one player in the NBA, Lebron James. But after a first-round exit in this year’s playoffs, players like Giannis, Kevin Durant, and Steph Curry have seemed to overtake him. But knowing Lebron “King” James, even as he turns 37, there is no guarantee that he will not be back on the top of the throne. Lebron definitely is determined to get back to the Finals after having a streak of 10 straight Finals runs from 2010 to 2019. With a wide-open race for the best player in the league, and many shake-ups during free agency, this year could be the most exciting season we have had in the last decade.

To start, perhaps the most underrated team coming into this season after free agency is the Chicago Bulls. They acquired some of the best free agents including DeMar DeRozan, Lonzo Ball, and Alex Caruso. With these three to go alongside Zach Lavine and Nikola Vucevic, they could be a top-three seed in the Eastern Conference and a potential threat to teams like the 76ers, Bucks, Heat, and Nets to reach the Eastern Conference Finals. Another team that benefited from the offseason was the New York Knicks. They added to their already hardworking, tough roster a native of the City, Kemba Walker. Born in the Bronx, Kemba had one of the best moments in his career in the Knicks arena, Madison Square Garden (also known as “The Mecca of basketball”). He hit a nasty step-back game-winner when he was with UConn in college in 2011. After that year in college, he eventually got drafted to the Charlotte Hornets, so to have the chance to return to his hometown must have been an easy decision. He could be a big help down the stretch for the Knicks in the playoffs.

Another prominent addition to a team was Kyle Lowry to the Heat via a sign and trade with the Raptors. Lowry checks off every box that Pat Riley would want in a player in the ‘Heat Culture’. Lowry has the grittiness, playmaking, and three-point shooting that the Heat need to have if they are thinking of championship aspirations. Lastly, the most powerful move this summer was Russell Westbrook to the Lakers. A big trade led to the all-time leader in triple-doubles and one-time MVP to come to his hometown. This marks another superstar that Lebron has played with. Although there have been some questions surrounding the shooting abilities of the Lakers, you would think that three MVP caliber players would be able to figure things out. Plus with the additions of Malik Monk, Carmelo Anthony, Kent Bazemore, and Wayne Ellington, they have already looked to get three-point shooters for the season alongside their superstars. Before the season even started, we knew the Lakers were the team to beat in the West. This offseason’s free agency has definitely reshaped the league for better competition from a fan’s point of view.

To conclude, this season is probably the most wide-open championship race since the late 2000s. We have so many teams with star duos, and if one of them gets going, they could take their team all the way. Between the Eastern and the Western Conferences, the number of playoff teams has increased, so at the end of the regular season, things will definitely get shaky as teams compete for the final spots to fight for the Larry O’Brien Trophy.

Picture Citation:
Monaco, Dave. “Ranking the Top 25 NBA Players Going into 2021.” ClutchPoints, 19 Oct. 2020, https://clutchpoints.com/ranking-the-top-25-players-in-the-nba-going-into-2021/.