The 72nd season of the NBA starts tonight, less than two and a half months after the 17th Los Angeles Lakers title. LeBron James, who is aiming for a 5th personal NBA title.
After the shortest off-season in history, the NBA is preparing to experience a special season due to the Covid-19.
There is no “bubble” anymore. however, spectators will not yet be present in large numbers. But they will be allowed in some arenas (Utah, Houston, New Orleans, Orlando, Memphis, Toronto / Tampa Bay).
The regular season will start two months later than expected and will be shortened by ten games (72 instead of 82). The season will only be extended by one month (May 16). The finals must end no later than July 22 on the eve of the Tokyo Olympics.
NBA: the Western conference
The Lakers intend to become the only most successful team in the NBA, Boston shares 17 NBA titles with the Angelinos for now. The Lakers will count on the superstar LeBron James who is entering his 18th NBA campaign at eight days of his 36th birthday. Anthony Davis will be the other superstar of the Lakers who have solidly reinforced their second unit with the arrivals of Marc Gasol, Dennis Schröder and Montrezl Harrell from the Clippers.
For the other team of Los Angeles, Tyronn Lue is now the head coach. Paul George and Kawhi Leonard are still there.
Luka Doncic is expected at 21 as the League’s new best player after two outstanding first seasons.
Houston has turned the page on coach Mike D’Antoni era, now Steve Nash’s assistant in Brooklyn. Russell Westbrook left for Washington in exchange for John Wall. The star James Harden, top scorer in the NBA for two seasons, wants to leave the team and his departure is not excluded.
NBA: the Eastern conference
Miami, an unfortunate finalist (4-2 loss to the Lakers) in October, will have to confirm without big changes in the roster.
The most anticipated team in the Eastern Conference will be Brooklyn. The Nets can finally field the All-Star duo Kyrie Irving-Kevin Durant. They were both injured last season. With Steve Nash making his debut as a coach, we can expect spectacular and offensive play.
Boston has lost Gordon Hayward but can count on the continuation of the outbreak of Jayson Tatum and Jayson Brown.
The Sixers are now coached by Doc Rivers. They still have Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid.
Toronto emigrated to Tampa Bay, Florida due to Covid-19 in order to avoid border crossings. The Raptors, 2019 champions, have lost their interiors (Gasol and Ibaka). They will have a hard time going to the end.