NBA 2020-2021 Season Preview

The 2020-2021 NBA season is here, and each team has something to prove heading into the season.


Sruthi Ramesh

Due to this pandemic-related late start, the number of NBA regular-season games for this year has been shortened from 82 games to 72 games.

The 2020-2021 NBA season began on Dec. 22, about two months later than we’re used to seeing the season start. Due to the COVID-19 shutdown of the NBA in March of this year, the NBA was forced to postpone the remainder of their 2019-2020 season and playoffs, not beginning to play again until July 30 and the Finals not being completed until Oct. 11. Due to this late start, the number of regular-season games being played this year has been shortened from 82 games to 72 games. Despite these changes, the NBA has and will experience this season, they are determined to have their season. All 30 NBA teams are ready to get out on the court, and here is how they’re looking.

Eastern Conference


The Atlantic Division looks to once again be the East’s best division, as nearly all five teams in the division are looking like clear playoff teams this season. Last season, four of the five teams from this division not only made the playoffs, but made up four of the first six spots in the conference standings. It is apparent that the Atlantic Division is the strongest in the East, so it should be an interesting battle to see who finishes on top.

The Boston Celtics are looking like one of the best young teams in the NBA, finishing fourth in the Eastern Conference last season and making it to the Conference Finals before being eliminated from the playoffs despite being a relatively inexperienced team. 22-year-old Jayson Tatum is heading into his fourth year in the league, looking to truly settle into his role as a leader alongside point guard Kemba Walker. With Walker being injured to start the season, Tatum will look to lead the team until he returns, and the Celtics will hope to see players such as guard-forward Jaylen Brown and guard Marcus Smart step up in Walker’s absence. During the offseason, the Celtics completed a sign and trade deal with the Charlotte Hornets, which saw the Hornets acquire forward Gordon Hayward and the Celtics received a trade exception in return. The Celtics also signed center Tristan Thompson and guard Jeff Teague to short deals, two solid pickups for the team. The Celtics looked very good in the 2019-2020 season, and if they can smooth out some of the problems that held them back last season, I foresee the Celtics having a great season.

The Celtic’s Jayson Tatum is heading into his fourth year in the league, looking to truly settle into his role as a leader alongside point guard Kemba Walker. (Wikimedia Commons)

The Brooklyn Nets finished as the seventh season in the previous season, despite the major injuries that they dealt with throughout the season. Point guard Kyrie Irving played only 20 games last season, and forward Kevin Durant missed the entire season with a torn achilles. With these two being seen as two of the best players in the league, their returns will be huge for the Nets. While Durant and Irving were out with injuries, players such as Caris LeVert and Jarrett Allen stepped up a lot, helping the team make the playoffs despite their two top players being injured. Although the Nets do look good on paper, there are many ball-centered players on the team, so they’re going to not only ensure that they’re able to play well, but to play well together. If the Nets are able to play the way they’re expected to play with a team as talented as there’s, they’re going to end up being one of the top teams in the Eastern Conference.

The New York Knicks were the only team from the Atlantic Division last season that did not make the playoffs, as it seems as if that fact is not going to change. For the past few seasons, the Knicks have hoped to turn their bad fortune around by making big moves in the offseason, but almost all of those big moves that they had hoped to make did not happen, leaving the Knicks with one of the weaker teams in the league. While they do have some good young players such as RJ Barrett and Julius Randle, they lack the stars that they need in order to make them a true threat in the league. For now, the Knicks will just hope to see their young players develop and hope that they can turn into the stars that they desperately need. Either that or the Knicks will continue to simply hope that they can finally land a star in free agency after years of trying to do so.

The Philadelphia 76ers finished as the sixth seed last season and were swept in the first round of the playoffs, not the way that they had hoped for their season to end. The main changes to the team that occurred over the offseason was the firing of head coach Brett Brown, who was replaced by Doc Rivers, and the hiring of Daryl Morey as their new president of basketball operations. Both have already had an impact on the team, with Rivers looking to run a new style of offense to help enhance scoring, and Morey trading big man Al Horford and shooting guard Josh Richardson for Danny Green and Seth Curry, a deal that helped them acquire some good shooting around their two-star players, point guard Ben Simmons and center Joel Embiid. Despite these additions, the Sixers offense is still going to be in question heading into the season, as Simmons and Embiid have had struggles meshing offensively due to Simmons’ inability to shoot the ball. If they can find a way to work together offensively, possibly with the help of new coach Rivers, the 76ers should be a high seed in the Eastern Conference by the end of the season.

The Toronto Raptors finished second in the Eastern Conference last season, but they weren’t able to make it past the second round in the playoffs. This offseason, they lost two more players from their 2018 NBA Championship winning team, big man Serge Ibaka and center Marc Gasol, who both left for teams in Los Angeles. If the Raptors want to be able to remain near the top of the East, they’re going to need big man Pascal Siakam and the backcourt duo of Kyle Lowry and Fred VanVleet to really step up. Siakam is a great player, but he’s going to have to take his level of play to another level in order to compete with the top teams. Lowry had a good season last year, but he’s now 34 and isn’t getting any younger, meaning he’ll have to play the best he can in order to go up against point guards that are in their prime. Fred VanVleet earned himself a lucrative four year deal over the offseason, and he’ll need to continue to prove that he’s worth that deal if the Raptors want to see success. It’s not easy to fill the holes that leaving players have left in Toronto, but if they can manage to do just that, they’ll remain as one of the best teams in the conference.


The Central Division is a pretty even mixture of teams of different levels, with two teams making playoffs and the other three being lottery teams. It doesn’t appear as if the roles are going to change much as far as what the final standings look like for the division, as the top teams in the division last year are once again top teams this year, and the lower end teams are still lower-end teams this year.

The Chicago Bulls were a lottery team once again in the 2019-2020 season, the third season in a row that they’ve missed out on the playoffs. The Bulls made some big changes in the management compartment of things, firing head coach Jim Boylen, Vice President John Paxson, and General Manager Gar Forman, replacing them with Billy Donovan, Arturas Karnisovas, and Marc Eversley. Although playoffs seem unlikely for the Bulls, they will mainly be looking for their younger players to continue to develop. Guard Zach Lavine will likely continue to put up all-star type numbers, big man Lauri Markkanen will get the chance to be more than just a shooter for the team, point guard Coby White will look to develop his playmaking skills, Wendell Carter Jr. will want to prove himself in his second year, and rookie Patrick Williams will be trying to prove that he was worthy of the fourth overall pick that the Bulls used to acquire him. If these players can develop the way that the front office wants them to, that will be good enough for the Bulls this season.

The Cleveland Cavaliers, despite winning the NBA Championship just a couple of years ago in 2018, have been reduced to a group of young players with a few veterans throughout. Despite having one of the best centers in the league in Andre Drummond, a veteran scorer with Kevin Love, and a good prospect in Collin Sexton, the Cavs aren’t looking to be one of the better teams in the league. The Cavaliers showed flashes of promise last season, but their heavy lack of defense overtakes the promise that they showed. Andre Drummond is known as one of the better defensive players in the league, but besides him, there’s really not anyone doing much on the defensive side of the ball, which is going to hurt them a lot if they can’t fix it. In the 2020 NBA Draft, the Cavs selected small forward Isaac Okoro from Auburn, who is likely going to be one of their better defenders right out of the gate. Until the Cavaliers’ young players can develop a presence on defense, they’re not going to be seeing a ton of success in the 2020-2021 season.

The Detroit Piston is only bringing back four players that they had on the team last season, clearly seeking a new direction after only winning 20 games the previous season. Forward, Blake Griffin, and point guard, Derrick Rose are two of the top guys on the team, as well as makeup two of the four players that played on the Pistons last season. Despite their poor performance last season, the Pistons do have a good mix of players for a team that is in the phases of rebuilding. They have veteran leadership, plenty of young prospects, and a few players somewhere in between. Based on the direction that the team looks to be taking, it wouldn’t be surprising to see a player like Blake Griffin or Derrick Rose get traded for draft picks or prospects, as it seems as if the Pistons want to build up a young core that can be effective in the coming years. Overseas draft pick Killian Hayes is going to play a role immediately after being drafted, Sekou Doumbouya and Svi Mykhailiuk are going to look to continue to develop their skills, and rookies Isaiah Stewart, Deividas Sirvydis, and Saddiq Bay are going to look to play a role in the team early on in their careers. The Pistons may not look great heading into this season, but they do seem to be building the foundation to be great in future seasons.

The Milwaukee Bucks had the best record in the entire league last year, attributing their success to 2019-2020 NBA MVP, Giannis Antetokounmpo. (Wikimedia Commons)

The Indiana Pacers finished fourth in the East before being eliminated in the first round last season. The only major change the Pacers made this offseason was firing head coach Nate McMillan and replacing him with former Toronto Raptors assistant coach, Nate Bjorkgren. Other than that, the Pacers are looking like pretty much the same team that they had last season, which definitely isn’t a bad thing considering their 45-28 record they had last season. With a new offensive plan coming from Bjorkgren, the Pacers are hoping to make the most out of players such as guard-forward Victor Oladipo, big man Domantas Sabonis, and guard Malcolm Brogdon. They will also be hoping that forward TJ Warren can continue to have the same success that he found in the NBA Bubble and that center Myles Turner develops his play on both sides of the ball more. The Pacers have good potential in their lineup, and assuming that the change in the offensive game plan works well for them, expect them to be another top team in their conference.

The Milwaukee Bucks had the best record in the entire league last year, finishing with a record of 56-17. This success can mainly be attributed to 2019-2020 NBA MVP, Giannis Antetokounmpo, who dominated the NBA last season. Guard forward Khris Middleton and big man Brook Lopez were two other key factors to the team’s success. Over the offseason, the Bucks lost a good amount of players, but as they were losing players, they were also replacing them. The biggest move the Bucks made was a trade for New Orleans Pelicans guard Jrue Holiday, who is going to help the team out on both sides of the ball. The Bucks are looking like they’re in a position to repeat what they did last season, assuming their top players play the same way they played last season. Giannis is going to continue putting up elite numbers, Holiday is going to be a great addition to have on both offense and defense, Khris Middleton and Brook Lopez are going to be the main shooters in the starting lineup, and third-year shooting guard Donte DiVincenzo is going to continue to progress. If things go the way they’re supposed to, the Bucks are going to be another top team in the NBA, if not the top team once again.


The Southeast Division has a lot of intrigue heading into the season, as most all of these teams are looking interesting if nothing else heading into the season. While the race for first place in this division may not be super close come to the end of the season, all of these teams are going to be teams of interest throughout the course of the season.

The Atlanta Hawks are the team that many believe had the best offseason, bringing in plenty of free agents and a lottery draft pick. Of the free agents the Hawks brought in, forward Bogdan Bogdanovic, forward Danilo Gallinari, and guard Kris Dunn are the main highlights, all of them likely to have an immediate impact on the team. The Hawks also acquired big man Onyeka Okongwu with the sixth pick in the NBA Draft, a good pick that will add diversity to the team’s frontcourt. These additions, along with two young stars in Trae Young and John Collins and elite rebounder Clint Capela, the Hawks are looking to be a solid team heading into the season, with a definite shot at making the playoffs this season.

The Charlotte Hornets made some notable moves this offseason, including drafting internet sensation LaMelo Ball and acquiring forward Gordon Hayward from the Boston Celtics via a sign-and-trade. With a good variety of different players throughout the team, the Hornets are likely to try out a few different things on offense, most of those likely having LaMelo Ball as the focal point. Although the Hornets have a few different options that they can go with, none of those are likely to bring them to a playoff spot. Last season, they finished tenth in the East, and these new additions are likely not enough to push them into the playoff race. It should be interesting, however, to see how the Hornets incorporate LaMelo Ball into the offense and how much of an impact he has on the team’s success.

The Miami Heat are the defending Eastern Conference Champions, as they made it all the way to the NBA Finals in the 2020 playoffs. Although they ended up losing in the NBA Finals, they made it much further than many expected them to, and they saw many of their players step up to make a big impact on the team. The Heat will return to the 2020-2021 season with much of the same team, hoping to have the same success that they had in the NBA Bubble. Jimmy Butler is still in his prime, Bam Adebayo is only getting better, Goran Dragic provides the role of veteran for the young players, and Duncan Robinson and Tyler Herro are going to look to continue developing their skills. With their great players remaining great and their young players continuing to get better, it seems that the Heat might be even better than they were last season.

The Orlando Magic have a few big questions heading into the season that are going to determine how they play this season. Will veteran Nikola Vucevic be able to repeat the success that he found in the Bubble? Will Aaron Gordon be able to smooth out his rougher edges in order to solidify himself as one of the best players on the team? Will 2019 draft pick Chuma Okeke be able to have an impact on the team after missing his entire first season with an ACL injury? Will rookie Cole Anthony have an immediate effect on the success of the team? How will the Magic be able to perform with young prospect Jonathan Isaac being out for the whole season with injury? Are young players like Markelle Fultz and Mo Bamba going to be able to take the next step in their development? To get the answers to these questions, we’re simply just going to have to see how the season goes for the Magic. Even if these questions receive positive answers, a playoff chance for the Magic seems unlikely. However, it would be good for the Magic to see positive answers as opposed to negative answers.

Trae Young is one of the newest players for The Hawks, along with John Collins. (Wikimedia Commons)

The Washington Wizards were involved in one of the biggest trades of the offseason, as they traded 30-year-old franchise point guard John Wall for Houston Rockets point guard Russell Westbrook. It is likely that the Wizards were simply looking to change things up, as they haven’t quite got to where they want to with Wall. Westbrook, along with all-star level shooting guard Bradley Beal, is going to look to lead a young Wizards team to success, something that they haven’t had a ton of over the years. Although the tandem of Westbrook and Beal looks like it could be a good one, the inexperience of the rest of the team could hurt them, as thirteen of the team’s players have three years or less of experience in the NBA. However, the addition of a top player in the league in the form of Russell Westbrook should set the Wizards in a fresh new direction, but if it doesn’t work, the Wizards’ future is going to be very uncertain.

Western Conference


The Northwest Division is going to be one of the closer divisions throughout the league, as most all teams have the potential to be playoff teams, if not top teams in the conference as a whole. It should be interesting to see how this division ends shapes up by the time the end of the season arrives.

The Denver Nuggets made a good run in the playoffs, making it to the Western Conference Finals before being defeated in five games. For a team composed of mainly young talent, the Nuggets looked very impressive last season, and they’re only going to get better as their prospects progress. Nikola Jokic has taken the role of leader on the team at the age of 25, leading other young players such as Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr. The Nuggets, however, did lose some of their better defenders over the offseason, and they were not able to replace them. Though the Nuggets are a talented team, a lack of defense could prove to be problematic for the team. In order to make up for the loss of defensive players, head coach Michael Malone plans on running the defense a bit differently in order to make the best of what they have. Even if their defense isn’t the strongest, the Nuggets will remain as a top team in the West, and if they can fix their defensive problems, they are going to be a serious championship contender this season.

The Minnesota Timberwolves finished with a disappointing record of 19-45, one of the worst in the league last season. Despite having two stars in the form of big man Karl-Anthony Towns and guard D’Angelo Russell, they couldn’t seem to get it going, leaving them as one of the worst teams in the NBA. The Wolves had the first overall pick in the NBA Draft, and with that pick they selected forward Anthony Edwards from Georgia, who will likely have an instant impact on the team. With the addition of Edwards, many would argue that the T-Wolves now have three stars, so the potential to be great is there. However, not only will those three have to execute, but role players such as Ricky Rubio and Jarrett Culver will also need to come through if they want to find success. The Timberwolves have the potential, but they will need to live up to that potential if they want a chance of finding success.

The Oklahoma City Thunder showed a lot of promise last year, finishing fifth in the conference and taking the Houston Rockets to seven games in the first round of the playoffs, but that promise might have taken a hit over the offseason. Future Hall of Fame point guard Chris Paul, defensive center Steven Adams, quick guard Dennis Schröder, and veteran forward Danilo Gallinari are all no longer apart of the Thunder, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, and Lu Dort being the only remaining starters for the Thunder from last season’s team. The foundation that the Thunder laid last season may be gone with these losses, and although they kept two prospects in the form of Gilgeous-Alexander and Dort, the holes that were left by the starters that either left or were traded have not been filled. The Thunder are looking at a very different team this season, and they’re going to have a bit of a reset due to all the new players that they acquired.

The Portland Trail Blazers just barely snuck into the playoffs, securing their spot as the eighth seed by only half a game. Their run in the playoffs didn’t last long though, as they were eliminated in the first round. Over the past few years, the Blazers have been trying to build around the backcourt of Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum, but they haven’t built a team good enough to make it to the NBA Finals just yet. Lillard and McCollum aren’t getting any younger, so if the Blazers want to build a championship-level team around the duo, they’re going to have to do it soon. They made some good moves in the offseason, acquiring defensive forward Robert Covington via trade, and signing athletic forward Derrick Jones Jr. The Blazers also re-signed Carmelo Anthony and Rodney Hood, keeping two solid players on the roster. The main issue the Trail Blazers ran into last season was their defense, and with the addition of some solid defensive players, the Blazers are looking good all-around heading into the season.

The Denver Nuggets’ Nikola Jokic has taken the role of leader on the team at the age of 25, leading other young players such as Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr. (Wikimedia Commons)

The Utah Jazz finished sixth in the Western Conference and was eliminated in the first round of the playoffs the previous season. Heading into this season, the Jazz is rolling with practically the same squad they had last season, not making any major changes over the offseason. They signed young star Donovan Mitchell to a lucrative contract extension and re-signed solid role player Jordan Clarkson, as well as signing big man Derrick Favors. Although the Jazz did a good job of keeping their team together, they didn’t do much to improve them, so it seems like the Jazz are likely going to finish this season around the same spot that they finished last season. They are definitely going to be a solid team, but they won’t be anything spectacular either.


Possibly the strongest division in the entire NBA, most all of these teams are playoff contenders, if not contenders for the best team in the league. These teams will all be looking to try and end up on top of the division by the end of the season, which in turn might land them a top spot in the entire conference.

The Golden State Warriors finished with the worst record in the league last season, finishing with a record of 15-50. This can mainly be attributed to the fact that the all-star level backcourt of Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson were out with injury for almost all of the season. While those two were out, forward Eric Paschall and guard-forward Andrew Wiggins stepped up for the team, both looking really good for the Warriors despite the poor overall play of the team. Alongside them was former Defensive Player of the Year Draymond Green, contributing on the defensive side of the ball. Due to their poor record, the Warriors landed the second pick in the draft, allowing them to acquire the best big man in the class, James Wiseman. The Warriors soon after acquired Kelly Oubre, who will be a solid player that brings some athleticism to the team. Although Klay Thompson suffered another injury that will keep him from playing in the 2020-2021 season, Stephen Curry is ready to play once again. With Curry returning, Wiseman being acquired through the draft, Oubre being added via trade, and Paschall, Wiggins, and Green all returning to the team, the Warriors will likely avoid being the worst team in the NBA again, but it’s uncertain whether or not they will return to top team status with Klay Thompson being out for the season.

The Los Angeles Clippers finished second in the West last season, but were eliminated in the second round of the playoffs. Despite this, the Clippers are still looking like one of the top teams in the league. Top players Kawhi Leonard and Paul George are still leading the team this season, and although they lost Montrezl Harrell during the offseason, they were able to replace him with one of Kawhi’s former teammates, Serge Ibaka. The Clippers also replaced head coach Doc Rivers with assistant coach and former Cleveland Cavaliers head coach, Ty Lue. Although the Clippers are still looking great heading into the season, they’re still about a piece or two away from being the top team in the West. If they can make a move or two during the course of the season, they could boost themselves to being the best team in the West, but even if they don’t, they’re still going to be one of the best teams around the NBA.

The Los Angeles Lakers stood tall at the end of the 2019-2020 NBA season, winning the NBA Championship in five games. Heading into this season, they’re looking just as good, if not better than they were last season. Although they lost players such as Dwight Howard, Rajon Rondo, JaVale McGee, and Danny Green, they acquired Montrezl Harrell, Dennis Schröder, Marc Gasol, and Wesley Matthews. LeBron James and Anthony Davis will both return to the team this season as well, remaining as the top two players on the Lakers. Considering they didn’t devolve since their Finals victory, the Lakers are looking like a frontrunner to win the NBA Finals again this season.

The Phoenix Suns fought hard in the Bubble, going off in an attempt at making it into the playoffs, but they came up half a game short. During the offseason, the Suns added veteran point guard Chris Paul, and with the addition of the future Hall of Famer, they have a good chance of making their way into the playoffs this time around. Young star Devin Booker continues to improve as he gains more experience, and having a veteran leader like Chris Paul is not only going to help Booker improve, but help the Suns improve. The Suns also picked up Jae Crowder, who will help out on both ends of the ball. These additions, along with the Suns keeping their main group of guys around, makes it very possible for the Suns to slide into the playoff race.

Stephen Curry is eagerly gearing up for the ’20-’21 season, especially since the previous season was cut short. (Wikimedia Commons)

The Sacramento Kings, while not exactly being the strongest team in the league, are beginning to solidify their young core. The backcourt of De’Aaron Fox and Buddy Hield have shown a lot of promise in their time together and big man Marvin Bagley looks to prove himself after being plagued by injuries ever since being drafted. The Kings also made some solid additions over the offseason, drafting guard Tyrese Haliburton with the twelfth overall pick in the NBA Draft, as well as signing both elite rebounder Hassan Whiteside and big man Frank Kaminski for cheap. Although the Kings do have a solid team overall, they are unbalanced as far as positioning goes, with more emphasis on backcourt players than on frontcourt players. While the Kings may not be a playoff team this season, they continue to improve as the years progress, and they will look to be a solid team this season.


The Southwest brings a lot of interest to the Western Conference, as there are intriguing stories for each team heading into the season. There’s a lot of different things that can occur in the Southwest Division, so it’ll be one to keep an eye on as the season goes along.

The Dallas Mavericks found themselves being eliminated from the 2020 playoffs in the first round, but according to Mavericks’ owner Mark Cuban, this is only the beginning for the team. Young star Luka Doncic is coming off of a great second year, and it being that he’s still very young, he’s only going to continue to improve. Kristaps Porzingis, known as one of the better big men in the league, has been dealing with injuries over the past few seasons, and won’t be back on the court until sometime in January, if not later. The remainder of the team, while not being the most stacked team in the league, is still very solid all around. Tim Hardaway Jr. is a good three-point shooter and will help the Mavs out on offense, newly acquired Josh Richardson will help out on the defensive side of the ball, and big man Dwight Powell will hold things down until Porzingis is healthy again. While they may not be loaded with star players, Luka Doncic continuing to play at an elite level while his teammates play the roles that need to be played could be good enough to make an impact on the league this season.

It was rumored that shooting guard James Harden requested to be traded, along with point guard Russell Westbrook. (Wikimedia Commons)

The Houston Rockets once again missed out on making it to the Finals after being eliminated in the second round, which marked the beginning of the Rockets’ problems. Soon after their playoff loss, head coach Mike D’Antoni told GM Daryl Morey he would not be returning to coach for them in the 2020-2021 season, leaving a big hole that needed to be filled. Morey then announced that he would also be resigning from his role in the organization, creating another big hole in the Rockets’ organization. Replacements were found for both positions, but two of the more important staff members in the organization leaving around the same time is not a good sign. At some point in November, it was rumored that the team’s top two players, shooting guard James Harden and point guard Russell Westbrook, both requested to be traded. Westbrook was traded to the Washington Wizards for point guard John Wall, who would be taking Westbrooks’ place. The team also traded forward Robert Covington to the Portland Trailblazers for big man Trevor Ariza and a couple of draft picks. The team also signed former all-star center DeMarcus Cousins, who has been dealing with injuries the past couple of seasons. While Harden has not yet been traded, it seems imminent that he will be getting moved at some point in the season. Until Harden is traded, the Rockets’ success in the 2020-2021 season will be up in the air.

The Memphis Grizzlies just barely missed the 2020 playoffs, only being 0.5 games behind the eighth seed. The Grizzlies are bringing back a very similar team that they had last year, only adding two rookies, Desmond Bane and Xavier Tillman Sr, through the NBA Draft. However, two big pieces to the team, Jaren Jackson Jr and Justise Winslow, will be out at the start of the season with injuries. While Winslow is expected to be back on the court fairly soon, there’s no timetable for Jackson’s return. Until then, 2020 Rookie of the Year Ja Morant is going to have to step up more than ever to try and help his team find success. Although the Grizzlies aren’t exactly a top team just yet, they could find themselves with a spot in the playoffs this year. If they do want a playoff spot, however, they’re going to need to have the same fire underneath them that they had in the NBA Bubble, because there are a lot of teams in the Western Conference that are going to look to sneak their way into the playoffs as well.

The New Orleans Pelicans have the potential to be great, but whether or not they live up to that potential is the question. Young star Zion Williamson will have a big impact on the team if he can stay healthy, forward Brandon Ingram will look to improve his defense to go along with his good offense, point guard Lonzo Ball will try to fully settle into his role at the team’s shot creator, Eric Bledsoe will hope to bring some grit to New Orleans, and Steven Adams will be getting used to playing in somewhere other than Oklahoma City for the first time in his NBA career. Most everyone on the team has something they need to work on in order to help the Pelicans take the next step. If they can do that, they could find themselves in the playoffs, but if not, it will be a disappointing finish to the season for the young team. They are still young, however, so if they do miss the playoffs, there is time for improvement. They have the talent to make it now, though, so they will be hoping to find their way into the playoffs after missing out on the 2020 playoffs in the NBA Bubble.

The San Antonio Spurs, once one of the top teams in the NBA, has fallen off a bit from what they used to be. They missed the playoffs for the first time in 23 years in 2020, but they will be hoping to start a new playoff streak beginning this season. The roster isn’t much different from what it was last season, being led by veterans DeMar DeRozan and LaMarcus Aldridge with young players such as Dejounte Murray, Jakob Poeltl, and Derrick White at their side. The main difference the Spurs will be seeing this year is their playstyle, as head coach Gregg Popovich strayed away from their typical stiff style of play and ran a more flexible style of basketball to adjust to the player’s playstyle. They are, however, still missing out on the three-point shooting they were missing last season, as they didn’t make any additions over the offseason to help in that category. While their new style of play may help them a bit this season, there are no guarantees it will help the Spurs make it into the playoffs this season.

While the 2020-2021 NBA season may be a bit different than what we’re used to seeing, it is still filled with interesting stories and a lot of different things to be looking at throughout the course of the season. Whether it be dominant teams remaining dominant, young teams continuing to improve, or teams going with a new look for the season, there is a lot to pay attention to in the NBA. Regardless of what goes on within the NBA, fans are simply happy that the NBA is having a regular season to begin with, and that’s all that matters.