Top NBA Stories for 2020-2021

Last Updated: Jan 8, 2021

Top NBA Stories for 2020-2021: After a season unlike any other in NBA history, you’d expect a return to normalcy. Erm, sorry about that. The 2020-21 campaign promises to be rife with uncertainty, beginning with a near-Christmas start, mostly empty arenas, and a truncated schedule missing at least 10 games. There are plenty of top NBA things to know.

No one knows exactly what to expect in the COVID-19 world, even with a vaccine on the way. The Bubble worked better than anyone could have reasonably expected, but this is a whole new ballgame.

While the NFL and college football has provided somewhat of a blueprint, even with the postponements and cancellations, you can’t equate that to basketball.

Just the sheer volume of contests that need to be played on the hardwood and propensity of outbreaks leaves much in doubt. If any games have to be postponed or cancelled, how will that impact competitive balance and playoff seeding? What happens if major stars are unavailable for extended periods due to sickness?

As for what we hope to see on the court, the storylines are rich, as the defending-champion Los Angeles Lakers are trying to hold off the myriad of challengers for their crown.

The Larry O’Brien Trophy may belong to LeBron James and Co. again, but they’re hardly the only reason to watch. So, let’s tip it off.


Top NBA Stories for 2020-2021


1. Will the Los Angeles Lakers repeat?


Sitting atop the Top NBA Things To Know for the upcoming season: The Lakers are odds-on favorite to add another banner to the Staples Centers rafters, with most sportsbooks around the +250 cited by PointsBet as of Thursday night.

That makes sense with LeBron James and Anthony Davis locked into contract extensions and ranking among the top performers in the league. Both are around the best bets to win MVP, with Davis at +800 and LeBron +900. AD is also in the Defensive Player of the Year running.

Top NBA Stories for 2020-2021 and Top NBA things to Know: Can LeBron James' Los Angeles Lakers, pictured here celebrating after winning the 2020 NBA Finals, repeat as champs?
Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (23) holds up four fingers after winning his fourth NBA championship after Game 6 of the 2020 NBA Finals at AdventHealth Arena. The Los Angeles Lakers won 106-93 to win the series. (USA TODAY Sports)

Yes, the Lakers have suffered some losses, notably Dwight Howard, Rajon Rondo and Danny Green. While they each played a part in the title run, the additions of rim protector Marc Gasol, reigning Sixth Man of the Year Montrezl Harrell, wannabe starter Dennis Schroder and grinder Wesley Matthews should be enough to offset.

More than anything, the presence of the King is enough to always keep his team in the mix. The Finals are LeBron’s playground, and there’s no reason to write him off due to age or complacency. The Lakers will face their challengers — namely the crosstown Los Angeles Clippers (+575) — but don’t bet too heavily against James. That’s bad business.


2. Houston (Rockets), we have problems.


If it wasn’t enough for Rockets fans to watch the deterioration of Mike D’Antoni and Daryl Morey, especially considering the success they’ve enjoyed over the years, the aftermath is a kick down south.

James Harden and Russell Westbrook both wanted out, and so far only Russ has gotten his wish. The Beard is still in the fold and trying to appear to be a good boy scout, but this can sour quickly.

The former MVP and three-time scoring champ briefly held out, isn’t talking to the media, and has to realize that other clubs likely don’t have the capital (young stars and picks) to pull off a deal to Houston’s liking.

Poor Stephan Silas. What appeared to be an optimal setup for a first head-coaching job has dissolved into dealing with just about everything other than X’s & O’s. The GM that hired him (Morey) bolted. Silas, well-respected and ready for this shot, has to blend a new set of guys into a core group that nearly revolutionized the game.

Small Ball is dead in H-Town, as the arrivals of DeMarcus Cousins and Christian Wood cemented.

Cousins, if healthy and the early returns look good, could be a fantasy basketball stud. While it’s unlikely he approaches his career scoring average of 21.2, he should gobble up rebounds and get his share of blocks and assists.

John Wall, the replacement for Westbrook, looks to get his career back on track and reestablish his value as one of the league’s best point guards as well as fantasy darling. Getting close to 20 points and 8 assists a night seems possible.


3. Does the East still belong to the Miami Heat?


The Miami Heat shocked many by going from the fifth seed to two wins shy of a championship. The Heat were a gritty bunch, best exemplified by top-20 fantasy talent Jimmy Butler.

Another one of the Top NBA Things to Know: The PointsBet oddsmakers obviously aren’t sold on a repeat NBA Finals trip.

With Miami (+2000) currently trailing East foes the Milwaukee Bucks (+500), Brooklyn Nets (+600) and Boston Celtics (+1400) as NBA Champion faves.

Two-time defending MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo has hitched his wagon to the Bucks for the prime of his career. A visit to the NBA Finals had eluded the league’s most physically imposing force, though this could be the year with newcomer Jrue Holiday joining Khris Middleton on the perimeter.

The Nets embark on the great Kevin Durant-Kyrie Irving experiment, with surprise first-time skipper Steve Nash. Both Durant and Irving seem to be good to go based on the abbreviated preseason, which immediately makes Brooklyn a serious contender for the first time since relocating. KD is rated around the 15th overall fantasy basketball draft pick, which feels like a steal, and Uncle Drew checks in the low 20s.


4. Are the Golden State Warriors back?


Remember them? Remember when the boys from the Bay were lovable? Remember when they were loathed (thanks, KD)? Though they’re only a season removed from the Finals, it somehow feels like a lifetime ago.

Well, Stephen Curry has returned after basically a year off, and there’s no reason to believe he won’t rank among the best guards around and a top-10 fantasy basketball draft pick. Expect the former two-time MVP to score in the high 20s, shoot in the mid-40s from 3, and to sit among the league leaders in assists.

Top NBA Stories for 2020-2021 and Top NBA Things To Know: The Golden State Warriors have Stephen Curry back, and Andrew Wiggins (pictured with Curry this preseason) could help make up for the loss of Klay Thompson.
Golden State Warriors G Stephen Curry (30) celebrates with F Andrew Wiggins (22) against the Sacramento Kings during the first quarter at Golden 1 Center on Tuesday night NBA Preseason action. (USA TODAY Sports)

Klay Thompson being out at least another season is a blow. Still, Andrew Wiggins and Draymond Green are back, giving Curry offensive support.

No. 2 pick James Wiseman should be a solid rookie fantasy pickup, especially on the rebounding front and with easy baskets around the rim.

The Warriors enter the season at +2500 to win a title. Remember, they reached five consecutive championship rounds from 2015-19. Could be worth a flyer or a few bucks.

Get ready for 2020-2021 NBA fantasy basketball & betting

After learning about the Top NBA Stories for 2020-2021 and the Top NBA Things to Know:

Author

Art Garcia

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