Before we know it, the 2021-2022 NBA season will be here. The Milwaukee Bucks swept the nation and won their first championship in 50 years. Cade Cunningham was selected No. 1 at the NBA Draft. The only long hurdle before next year’s battles will be free agency, which starts this week.
We won’t see finalized teams for a couple of weeks, but the new year is on the horizon. While fans from across the country will hope that their team will see improvement, there is only one dream scenario for next year.
The New Super Rivalry
Once Russell Westbrook was traded to the Los Angeles Lakers, it formed another superteam. The big three of LeBron James, Anthony Davis, and Westbrook feature a combined five MVPS and 34 All-Star appearances. The star power is so great that it replicates another superteam in the Brooklyn Nets.
The Nets are headlined by Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant, and James Harden. Durant and Harden played with Westbrook during their younger years in Oklahoma City, making the NBA Finals against LeBron and the Miami Heat in 2012. Then, Harden left for Houston, where Westbrook eventually joined him for one season before realizing the culture was so toxic that he wanted out.
The Personal Storylines
Outside of Westbrook and Harden, there are at least two personal beef stories between these two teams too. Westbrook and Durant played together for four seasons after the 2012 season. The duo led OKC to a 3-1 advantage over the 73-win Golden State Warriors in the Conference Finals. We all know how the story goes afterward. The Warriors came back and Durant left OKC to join Golden State, where he won two straight Finals MVPs. Westbrook won an MVP without Durant his first season but has not returned to the NBA Finals since 2012.
Then, you have the battle between Irving and LeBron. The two won a championship in 2016 in Cleveland, but after one more year, Irving wants out because he didn't want to live in LeBron’s shadow. He failed to deliver in Boston, and then bolted for Brooklyn. It was there that Irving made public comments regarding playing with James and his clutchness.
In 2019, Irving eventually apologized to James and discussed their roles as leaders, but there is an awkward tension between the two. You know that Irving wants to win a title without LeBron. Whenever these two teams face off, there will be an extra layer.
The Perfect Scenario
The Bucks winning a title was a great storyline last year. Giannis delivered on his promise, while Chris Paul finally made the NBA Finals. While we would love to see Paul win a title, the Clippers deliver with Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, or a surprise team like the Knicks make a run, there is only one perfect scenario.
Everyone wants to see the most star power on display in the NBA Finals. This year was riddled with injuries to players like Jamal Murray, Anthony Davis, and Kawhi Leonard. The 2022 NBA Finals should feature the two strongest teams on paper. This showdown, with the combined star power and personal narratives, would be entertaining from head to toe.
For the result, it would have to be the Lakers winning the title in a seven-game series. Westbrook would get his first title after years of feeling left behind by Durant and Harden. LeBron would get his fifth title and potentially finally put his name right next to the great Micahel Jordan. Irving would have to truly appreciate LeBron’s efforts during their glory years.
In the end, it would be thrilling to watch. What do you think is the perfect scenario for the 2021-2022 season?