NBA Fall Excitement
To many NBA fans, autumn means one thing: the start of a new season. The 2020-2021 NBA season was nothing short of exciting, but there was a definite asterisk next to it as COVID-19 and injuries massively influenced each game. Stars like Lebron James, Kevin Durant, Joel Embiid and others had to miss many games in critical parts of the season due to injuries, primarily due to the lack of rest players got between the 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 seasons.
We also saw a shortened season with only 72 games. The season ended with a bang as we witnessed the Milwaukee Bucks beating the Phoenix Suns and Nikola Jokic winning the MVP award. In this article, we will go over what happened during this past offseason and what to look for this upcoming NBA season.
The offseason was relatively quiet. Russell Westbrook left the Wizards for the Lakers, point guard Kemba Walker signed with the Knicks, and DeMar DeRozan went to the Bulls from the Spurs. The mostly lackluster offseason was because superstars like LeBron James, Giannis Antetokoumnpo, Paul George, Chris Paul, and others re-signed with their respective teams.
Another notable thing to come out of this offseason was the amount of money given in the contracts. Players like Antetokoummpo and Rudy Gobert signed extensions worth more than $200 million a piece, and even Michael Porter Jr., who’s a young role player on the Denver Nuggets, albeit with lots of potential, signed a contract worth up to $175 million. This was surprising among many NBA fans, as many think he’s not worth that much yet. LeBron James also re-signed a two-year, $85 million contract, which nets him more than $40 million a year.
This was completely earned, given that the 36-year-old shows no signs of slowing down.
Stars like Kyrie Irving of the Nets and Ben Simmons of the 76ers also caused a stir. In each of the New York stadiums this year, there are vaccine mandates. Kyrie Irving has refused to get the vaccine, and remains adamant about his opinion. The franchise also recently announced that they wouldn’t take him on road games, which means that until he gets the first dose of a COVID vaccine, he will not be playing NBA basketball. Ben Simmons, however, was very unhappy with his situation in Philadelphia after his atrocious playoff performances and refused to show up to training camp. The twenty-five year old lost millions of dollars through his actions and has since resumed practicing for the team, but also isn’t playing in games.
In this upcoming season, don’t expect things to be too much different, but there’s still many things to look out for. The Nets trifecta of Kevin Durant, James Harden, and Kyrie Irving will be among the many teams that will be a must-watch, but with Kyrie Irving not playing, it’s impossible to know how much success they’ll have.
The Lakers will also be an entertaining team, as the Lebron and Anthony Davis combo has already won a title, and the new addition of Russell Westbrook will be electrifying on the court. Klay Thompson’s return to basketball will be great to watch too, as the duo of him and Steph Curry, otherwise known as the Splash Brothers, will be back in full effect, and the Warriors will likely have a bounce-back season.
Teams like the Knicks are also looking to cement their spot as a top-five team in the east, after a successful 2021 campaign. The new-look Bulls are another team to look out for, as their newly assembled core of DeMar DeRozan, Nikola Vucevic, Lonzo Ball and Zach LaVine is looking to make the playoffs for the first time in five years. The Boston Celtics are likewise hoping for a better season, making several moves this offseason to improve their depth, and also getting a new head coach in Ime Udoka.
This NBA season should be a special one, with many emerging stars looking to make a name for themselves on the big stage, and many teams looking for redemption.