Predictions for the upcoming NBA season

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Courtesy of Douglas P. DeFelice

The Los Angeles Lakers won the NBA Finals last season, and they’re one of the favorites to win the championship again this season.

The last NBA season started like any other, and ended like none we have ever seen before. Remarkably, the ‘NBA Bubble’ worked. We saw new teams breakout and play much better than they did in the regular season. We also saw many teams who disappointed their fans with an early playoff exit. LeBron James and the Lakers took home the championship, giving James his fourth title, and further proving that the Anthony Davis and Lebron James duo is nearly unstoppable. Will the Lakers go back to back, or will a dark horse contender strip away the Lakers’ title as NBA Champions? The season starts next month, so let’s talk.

Scenario 1: The Lakers win their second straight championship.
Barring an unforeseeable injury, it’s hard to imagine LeBron James going down easy this season. The combination of Anthony Davis and LeBron James averaged 51.4 points per game last season. On top of that, Lebron keeps finding new ways to dominate the league. Last season, he led the NBA in assists per game. Keep in mind that this is the same player who has won multiple MVP awards, multiple scoring titles, and was heavily criticized for not passing enough. This ‘adjust to the league’ approach is precisely what makes LeBron James the greatest player of our era, and the biggest threat to lead his team to another championship next season.

Scenario 2: The Clippers reclaim the Los Angeles throne.
Last season ended rather unfortunately for the Clippers. Coming in as title favorites, and losing in the second round of the playoffs to a young Denver Nuggets team is not ideal. The Clippers were up 3-1 in the western conference semifinals against the Nuggets. They lost. Not only did they blow the series, they lost their season due to pure laziness and complacency. The Clippers’ top two players, Kawhi Leonard and Paul George did not make a single shot in the fourth quarter of game seven of that series. Somehow, championship head coach, Doc Rivers became the scapegoat for his team. He was fired almost immediately. Next season, the Clippers have the luxury of another championship coach, Tyronn Lue, who was an assistant coach to Rivers this season. Assuming that this year’s playoffs will occur with fans, the Clippers should be able to make a run for the title, as long as they don’t regress in the regular season.

Scenario 3: Giannis leads a team to a championship.
It’s unclear where the reigning back to back MVP, Giannis Antetokounmpo, will be playing next season. If he chooses to stay in Milwaukee, it has been rumored that they may trade for or sign a third All-Star to pair with him and Khris Middleton. This theoretical big three composing of Giannis and two other All-Stars could be scary. However, if Giannis ends up in one of his rumored sign-and-trade destinations such as Dallas or Miami, he could be giving himself a better shot to win it all. In Dallas, Giannis could potentially play with two other foreign born All-Stars in Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis. Luka and Giannis are arguably both top five players in the league. Pairing them together would be scary. If Giannis goes to the Miami Heat, who are fresh off of making a surprise run to the NBA Finals, he would be playing with All-Stars Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo. Both teams also have championship winning coaches.

Scenario 4: The field takes home a championship.
There are a number of other contenders for the 2021 NBA championship. In addition to both LA Squads, and wherever Giannis plays, the Nets, Warriors, Sixers, and Celtics should also be mentioned. There is also the possibility that a young underdog team makes a surprise run next season. You can potentially look to the Jazz or Nuggets for that.