2020-2021 NBA Season

Colin Park, Writer

With the ongoing threat of the coronavirus, many sports pushed back their season for the safety of players and staff. The NBA season, for example, usually started in October. However, due to a late playoff start during last season, this season started on Dec. 22.

Nonetheless, the NBA decided that since the season would not start during October, the season would include 72 games instead of 82 games. In addition, the NBA also required that teams have their benches six feet apart and all coaches, staff, and players on the bench wear a mask at all times. The referees must also wear masks at all times, and no fans are allowed to enter the arena. Instead, the stands are filled with a pre-recorded audio of people cheering to resemble a crowd for the players.

During the offseason, Anthony Edwards became the number one pick in the NBA draft and found his way to the Minnesota Timberwolves. The Golden States Warriors with their second pick would pick center James Wiseman. Surprisingly, “ball brother” Lamelo Ball would go to the Charlotte Hornets as the third pick. Furthermore, many big-time players would be traded to different teams this season, the biggest one being James Harden traded from the Houston Rockets to the Brooklyn Nets. Many fans believe that with the combined skill of all-stars Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, and James Harden, the Nets will have a huge chance of winning this year’s finals.

With the addition of James Harden, more and more people are beginning to believe that the Nets could end up on top of the Eastern Conference. Nonetheless, fans are still worried about Kyrie Irving because he has been known to ruin team chemistry. So far, Kyrie hasn’t caused much trouble on the team, and the Nets’ future looks bright. The Philadelphia 76ers are also contenders in the East due to center, Joel Embiid, having an MVP season, averaging 27 points per game and leading the 76ers to be the number one team in the East. Disappointingly, the Miami Heat aren’t doing as well. Fans had high expectations for Jimmy Butler and the Heat after they made it to the championships as the underdog, but they are currently thirteenth in the east with a record of 6-10.

In the west, 6’9 small forward LeBron James and 6’10 power forward Anthony Davis continue to be unmatched on the Lakers, the teams with the best record in the league, 14-4. 

West Ranch freshman basketball player Adrian Morales gave The Paw Print insight into which team he thinks will go on to win the championship. 

“I think the Lakers are going to win this year’s championship,” he concluded. “With the ongoing leadership from LeBron, I don’t think any team will be able to compete with them.” With James’s basketball IQ and Davis’s skill on both ends of the court, no other team comes close to their talent. In second and third are the Utah Jazz and the Los Angeles Clippers. For the Jazz, Donovan Mitchell has shown that even though he isn’t as old as the older players, he can still put up amazing numbers to get his team the win. For the Clippers, Kawhi Leonard consistently keeps up his stats at around 25.9 points, 5.4 rebounds, and 5.7 assists per game. To add on, after a disappointing season last year, Leonard’s teammate Paul George has also stepped up his performance and delivered in tough situations. Many fans doubted the Golden State Warriors as they didn’t believe Stephen Curry could carry his team without Klay Thompson. However, he proved everyone wrong and scored a career-high of 62 points against the Portland Trail Blazers. Steph Curry currently averages 27.7 points, 5.4 rebounds and 6 assists per game, making him an MVP contender.

Fans are just hoping that the NBA won’t have to cut the season short again and for sports to return back to normal. Some important dates the fans should look out for are March 5, all-star break, May 18, play in tournament and starting May 22, the NBA  playoffs.