What are the favorite teams this season in the NBA?
With the 2019-20 season still visible in the rearview mirror the 2020-21 season is set to start. Who will be taking home the crown this season?
The last season interrupted when covid wearing jersey 19 took the court sidelining all the teams until the league came up with the “bubble” at Disney World. Once covid-19 was taken out of the game the season was able to finish with the LA Lakers crowned the 2020 NBA champions. Almost as soon as they won their title, they will have to defend it, no rest for the wicked!
So will the LA Lakers hold onto their title at the end of the season? Currently they are the favorites from the West. Or will the Milwaukee Bucks the favorites from the East dethrone them? They just splashed out big to hold onto their star Giannis Antetokounmpo.
Who is in contention for the title in 2021?
At the top of list this year are the LA Lakers and the Milwaukee Bucks but there seems to be a consensus on the other teams that will be in the top ten. Here’s a look at some of the down ballot teams first.
The folks down in Tampa, Florida will host the Raptors this season due to pandemic-related travel restriction imposed by Canada making it unfeasible for visiting teams to play at the Raptors home arena. The 2019 champions bowed out in the second round of the 2020 NBA Playoffs but playing in the “bubble” threw other teams game off. Hopefully in their new temporary home they’ll be able to shine, at least for now they will have a live audience.
The Raptors are still a young team but have a combination of experience and growth with a team-first approach that brought home the title once before. With the skills of veterans Pascal Siakam, Fred Vanvleet and Kyle Lowry on the court and some new additions with Aron Baynes, Alex Len and Malachi Flynn the could dash some of the other contenders dreams this season.
The 76ers gave their fans whiplash going from a disappointment to a real contender in one year’s time. Under the direction of the new Head Coach Doc Rivers and GM Daryl Morey the team has retooled and hopes to harness the talents of Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons more effectively. It will have to be seen if Doc can improve on last year with the addition of Danny Green, Dwight Howard and Seth Curry this year.
Healthy and back on the court again the Nets headliners Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving should make the team a contender for the finals. However it will have to be seen whether the two can stay on the court this season. Spencer Dinwiddie and Caris LeVert picked up the slack in the absence of the two-star players but that wasn’t enough to get them through the first round of the Eastern Conference Playoffs against the Raptors. They’ll be joined this year by Bruce Brown, Jeff Green and Landry Shamet.
The Nuggets are a young and talented team with Jamal Murray and Nikola Jokic becoming two of the league’s best players at their position. The Nuggets had a wonderful 2020 NBA Playoff run besting the Clippers in seven games. The team lost Jerami Grant for this season but has brought on Bol Bol, Facundo Campazzo and JaMychal Green for the 2021 season. The team should make for some entertaining basketball to watch.
The Heat returned to the finals for the first time since 2014 last season. This scrappy team of role players and outcasts is title-worthy. The team held on to two of its key talents Bam Adebayo and Goran Dragic, who will continue to shine with the talented Jimmy Butler. They will be joined this season by Avery Bradley and Maurice Harkless. The team doesn’t take any game lying down, so expect to see them there at the end of the season.
The Celtics made a solid push to get to the NBA finals last season triumphing over the 2019 champions the Raptors only to lose to the 2020 runner-up the Heat in the Eastern Conference Final. With Jayson Tatum looking to be star material as his talent glows ever brighter on the court will be one of the players to lead the Celtics to the championship this year. The Celtics acquired some veteran talent this year in Tristan Thompson and Jeff Teague after losing Gordon Hayward.
The Clippers disappointed last season in what was seen as their coming out, but they were just one of the teams that the “bubble” had that effect on. After going out in the second round of the NBA Playoffs after losing to the Nuggets the team ditched coach Doc Rivers but kept the bulk of the team intact. A big loss for the team was Montrezl Harrell but the team was able to acquire Serge Ibaka 2019 NBA champion. The Clippers will be a team to reckon with this year.
The two top contenders
The Milwaukee Bucks from the Eastern Conference and the LA Lakers from the Western Conference are at the top of the list to make it to the finals.
The Milwaukee Bucks like some other teams saw their chances of a 2020 title dashed in the “bubble” but they are going big this year. Part of the plan involved holding onto the “Greek Freak” and they made Giannis Antetokounmpo an offer he couldn’t refuse. The team dished out $228 million in a five-year supermax extension and overhauled their roster to better support him. They've brought on two-way players Torrey Craig and Bobby Portis this season.
The LA Lakers brought home the Larry O’Brien Trophy for the 17th time last season having dominated the regular season and through the playoffs. This season they’ve added to their already formidable line-up headed by the aging LeBron James. New this year to the team are top players Dennis Schroder, Marc Gasol, Montrezl Harrell and Wes Matthews.
Not to leave out the Dallas Mavericks who will are also possible contenders for the trophy this year. As Luka Dionic shows, if you miss you’ve got to be quick on your feet!