With the news of the finalization of the 2020 / 2021 season start date, NBA media buzz has started yet again. From draft picks to trade scenarios to free agency rumors, the NBA is back with bustling attention.
Coming off one of the most unusual seasons, any positive news becomes a spotlight for discussion. What are some reasons for good cheer? What are some bounceback stories? Which are potential winning teams? Who can step up to the next level? All these are intriguing and fun questions to think about. Below we highlight ten top reasons why the 2020 / 2021 season can potentially become one of the best NBA seasons yet.
10. Arenas Start To Allow Fans Again (With Restrictions)
After many months of not accepting spectators at arenas, one of the most welcome change would be to allow fans to enter arenas to watch live games again. Although this might have to be done gradually with progressive health and safety measures, any form of return to normalcy is greatly welcomed as a sign of hope.
9. Zion Williamson And The Pelicans Make The Playoffs
The hype around Zion was almost LeBron-like last year. However, Zion was frequently sidelined by injuries and NBA fans were deprived of a full season of Zion bonanza. Having said that, Zion dazzled during the few games he played, showing the explosive offense, smart rebounding, versatile defense, and adrenaline-pumping transition alley-hoops. His impact on winning was obvious, being an instant double-team attraction and frees up the spacing. If healthy, Zion has a chance to boost the broadcasting ratings and the excitement levels of games in the Playoffs.
8. Ja Morant Leads The Grizzlies Into The Postseason
The Orlando Bubble Restart saw Ja Morant rise to the challenge and give the Blazers a run for their money during their fight for the Playoffs' eighth spot. He proved to be relentless, tough, mature, and skilled beyond his age, not to mention his exciting athletic dunks to put an exclamation to scores. With more experience, better rhythm, better chemistry with his team after one season, it would be great to see how far this young star can lead the Grizzlies into the postseason.
7. Los Angeles Clippers Have A Revenge Season
The Clippers entered the 2019 / 2020 season with arguably the deepest, most experienced, and tough roster to beat. They championship coaches as their coaching staff. They had award winners leading their pack. They played a hustle and grind style of basketball which was favored to win it all. But alas, all is not meant to be. Next season, the Clippers will play with a chip on their shoulders and have many reasons to prove others wrong. Expect a stronger and more determined Clippers team.
6. Golden State Warriors Retool To Remain Competitive
Recently, Klay Thompson had fans going on a roller coaster ride after he posted an Instagram post revealing his pumped state doing deadlifts and then subsequently breaking news about his Achilles' injury weeks after. However, the void of Klay could be filled. Firstly, Stephen Curry had been working hard and was photographed during his workouts and flexing his beefier and tougher physique. Secondly, with the return of athletic wing scorer, Andrew Wiggins, the Warriors can look forward to a new edition of Splash Brothers, perhaps a 2.0 version.
Thirdly, in the youth movement side of things, the Warriors added more draft picks. At number two, the Dubs selected James Wiseman, one of the highest-rated rookies of this class who can play the modern game of versatile, switchable center. His dynamism will add a new dimension to the Dubs' schemes. Also, the Dubs reinforced their bench with Nico Mannion at the number 48th pick and Justinian Jessup at the 51st pick.
Fourthly, with some trade flexibility, the Dubs went on to acquire Kelly Oubre to bolster the veteran headcount. This will help fill in some void for the scoring load and defensive assignments that are normally given to Klay. Lastly, with essentially an intact top-notch coaching staff, the Warriors look like they are ready to work their way slowly back into a spot in the Playoffs.
5. The Return Of Durant And Irving
The past Nets season went by in limbo. Nobody had real expectations of them winning. Nobody was paying attention to the games. Nobody was buying Nets merchandise to the fervor of the other Playoffs teams. All these would change next season when Kyrie, the prolific ball-handler and best finisher under the basket, as well as Kevin, the lethal scorer, and match-up nightmare, both return to the court. The two players probably have more winning talent between themselves than many of the teams' stars, apart from perhaps the Lakers, Warriors, and Clippers. Underestimate the Nets at your peril.
4. Devin Booker Leading The Suns Into The Playoffs
The raw talent and unlimited ceiling of Devin Booker were on full display during this season's Orlando NBA Playoffs. Devin scored, rebounded, dished assists, defended, improvised, hustled, and led the Suns without fear. With a good coach like Monty Williams, Devin is beginning to show his All-Star pedigree. With an 8-0 Orlando Bubble Restart record under his belt, it would be a bright spark if Devin Booker can lead the Suns to finally qualify for the Playoffs next season after a long hiatus since 2009 / 2010.
3. Luka Doncic Averages A Triple Double
In just his second season, Luka Donic showed quantum leaps in his overall performance. His per-game statistics improved tremendously: 21.2 to 28.8 points, 6 to 8.8 assists, 7.8 to 9.4 rebounds, 71.3% to 75.8% free throw percentage, 49.7% to 53.1% effective field goal percentage. It is not unreasonable to predict that Luka might be able to average a triple-double next season if he continues his upward trajectory.
2. Giannis Wins The MVP Award Again
The 2019 / 2020 season started with a bang for Giannis Antetokounmpo but ended in limbo. Trust the Bucks organization to do some reshuffles to their roster or staff to reposition the team for a deeper run next season. It would be very impressive if Giannis can stay within the top three seed with yet another new roster and sustain his dominant play. If he achieves that incredible feat, the narrative around the NBA media and journalism would easily push his chances higher for clinching his third Most Valuable Player award.
1. Los Angeles Lakers Win Back-To-Back Championships
What more magical ending to the season than to repeat as champions for the purple and gold team? After several disappointing seasons, the Lakers finally collected a quality veteran team with serious chances of consistently winning within the two years. What more, the Lakers would defeat their arch-rivals, Celtics, and become the franchise with the most number of championships in NBA history.
With the long list of potential bright spots for the next seasons, it gives us so much to look forward to. With a slim chance of things slowly returning to normalcy, positive development in the NBA does help to bring good cheer for everyone. As we wait for the season to unfold, let's keep our fingers crossed that the uptrend would happen much sooner than later.