The Jakarta Post
Several months ago, the National Basketball Association (NBA) was forced to suspend the 2019/2020 season due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, which has infected several of its players. As a result, that delay has led to a late start for the new season, as well as a reduced number of games. As the NBA returns, get ready for the usual drama and excitement you’ve come to expect from every NBA season. Whether it’s the rivalries, intense matchups or former teammates battling their hearts out, they all point to the main goal: to win the 2021 NBA Championship.
So, what can we expect for the next chapter of basketball’s biggest league?
#1 Lakers: Building another dynasty
Starting a new season as the current title holder is definitely easier said than done. Team management will be vital to keep all of the key players as well as add more firepower to the squad. Plus, there will be extra pressure to perform even better than last season, which will surely be a test for LeBron James’ team. Winning back-to-back NBA championships won’t be a walk in the park, but that kind of dominance is what defines a team as a dynasty.
Resigning Anthony Davis really proved that the Lakers are not messing around. It is surely the first step in the right direction toward defending the title. If James can maintain his fitness throughout the season, then it’s safe to say that the Lakers can be a major threat for the whole league. Now, it will be up to James and Davis to lead their team on the path to glory and be included among the Lakers’ greats, an elite group that boasts such big names as Kobe Bryant, Magic Johnson, Jerry West, James Worthy and many others.
#2 Giannis Antetokoumpo extends: Is it enough for the Bucks?
The news of Giannis Antetokoumpo signing a new deal that sees him stay for another five years surely brings a huge sigh of relief to the Milwaukee Bucks. On the other hand, teams all over the league will be disappointed to miss their shot at the Greek Freak. Antetokoumpo and the Bucks will be entering the new season with new hope and motivation. Memories of defeat from last season’s Eastern Conference Semifinal are definitely echoing inside their minds, giving them more motivation to take the league by storm.
Yes, keeping Antetokoumpo is a huge milestone for the Bucks. But the question remains: Is it enough for them to become NBA champions? After all, the Bucks are filled with talent that could complement Antetokounmpo, such as Khris Middleton and Brook Lopez, who helped the team clinch the number one seed for last year’s playoffs. Perhaps, one piece that is currently missing from the team is the presence of a player with championship mentality.
The Bucks might need to add an experienced player with the hunger to win should they want to win their first title since 1971. That year, a partnership of Oscar “the Big O” Robertson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar beat all odds and won the only championship for the franchise.
#3 Miami Heat: Not a fluke!
Last season, basketball fans and experts around the world were so busy expecting a matchup of the Lakers and Bucks that they overlooked the emergence of another great team: the Miami Heat. A team filled with so much young potential — coupled with the balance provided by the experience of their veterans — the Miami Heat really took the NBA playoffs by storm. A lineup that boasts rising stars such as Tyler Herro and Bam Adebayo dominated the East en route to the NBA finals. But at the center of it all: Jimmy Butler.
The Miami Heat eventually admitted defeat to the dominance of the Lakers. Still, no one can deny what the team achieved last season. However, many fans see the Miami Heat’s run to the final as a fluke. They also went further to say that the Heat won’t get any better next season. This kind of criticism can hopefully fuel this young team to prove all the doubters wrong.
#4 Warriors reborn?
Talks and excitement for this season’s title contenders seem to exclude one important team: the Golden State Warriors. It’s not surprising at all that the attention has shifted from the Warriors after their loss to the Raptors in the 2019 NBA finals. An injury-plagued year didn’t help the Warriors at all last season. Klay Thompson’s year-long injury proved to be a huge factor in the Warrior’s decline.
However, this year can be a surprise turnaround year for them. Although Thompson will miss the entire season because of injury, the return of Stephen Curry is expected to give a major boost for the Warriors. It may be a stretch to include them as a serious contender this season, but don’t discount them yet! They could surprise you.
Hope. Heartbreak. Sweat and tears. Joy. Passion. All for the game that we love. Get ready to revisit all of those magical experiences as the 2020-2021 NBA season kicks off today. The NBA is also encouraging its fans to take part in the first ever NBA Jersey Day, a global fan celebration for the upcoming season. Fans can take part by uploading pictures and videos of themselves wearing an NBA jersey of their choice to Instagram and TikTok, using the hashtag #NBAJerseyDay. Fans who are looking for authentic NBA jerseys can find them at NBAstore.co.id , the official NBA online store in Indonesia.