The excitement among NBA fans is building, as the start date for the 2020-21 season was revealed earlier this month. It was revealed that the action would be getting back underway in December, but the situation regarding whether fans will be in attendance has yet to be decided.
It doesn’t seem that long ago since the Los Angeles Lakers were celebrating their first championship success in ten years, but will they be among the front runners again to win the championship next season?
Los Angeles Lakers
It would appear incredibly hard to rule out the defending champions from winning back-to-back championships in 2021. One of the main reasons that they will be among the front runners is LeBron James, who looked like a man on a mission last season.
After missing out on the playoffs for the first time in 13 years in 2019, James returned to the playoffs in excellent form for the Lakers.
He averaged 27.6 points per game in the post-season and contributed 8.8 assists per game. Anthony Davis will also be with the Lakers again next season, but one player that they will be missing looks to be Rajon Rondo.
Nonetheless, they will remain a popular selection in the betting, as they have the experience from last season. Take the ultimate Los Angeles Lakers quiz if you want to test your knowledge about the NBA champions.
The Eastern Conference looks set to be the most competitive of the two conferences once again next season, as there will be a number of teams challenging to reach the finals.
The Miami Heat surprised everybody last season by reaching the finals, but the Celtics could get their revenge next season. The Celtics are an ever-improving side, as players such as Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown will be crucial players for the franchise as we move into the 2020-21 season.
Kemba Walker and Marcus Smart are also the leaders that the Celtics need to kick onto the next level.
However, one question that centres around the Celtics is the future of Gordon Hayward. He was forced to miss much of the post-season through injury. Hayward played just five playoff games last season, but there is no doubt that he gives the Celtics something different when he is on the floor. The Celtics will need to decide what they are doing with the 30-year-old before they firmly enter the conversation as a team that could be challenging for the NBA championship.
As we mentioned, the Eastern Conference is wide open this season, and while the Miami Heat and Toronto Raptors may feel as though they are best placed to challenge, it could be the turn of the Milwaukee Bucks.
The Bucks have failed to reach their potential in each of the last two seasons, but last term would have been a huge disappointment as they crashed out in the first round.
Despite that, they will once again be the team to beat in the East, as they boast the best player in the conference in Giannis Antetokounmpo. The reigning NBA Defensive Player of the Year averaged 29.5 points per game in the regular season but has finally been given a supporting cast by management this season.
Jrue Holiday and Bogdan Bogdanovic both look set to join the Bucks this season. Bogdanovic averaged a career-best 15.1 points per game in the regular season last term, while Holiday has been a consistent points scorer throughout his NBA career.
Holiday was in excellent form once again last season, as he averaged 19.1 points per game, and the additions of these two stars could make the Bucks a leading contender to win the NBA championship next season.