Although we’re a few months and a couple crucial decisions away from being solely focused on the 2020-21 NBA season, there are some key story lines that I think are definitely worth putting on our watch list. These are five things we can look forward to in the next NBA season.
A healthy Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving
While I touched on this in an earlier article, to think that this scenario would happen during the continuation of this current season would simply be hopes and speculation. Most sources say that Durant’s time frame to return is in fact during the start of the 2020-21 campaign. Kevin Durant playing alongside a healthy Kyrie Irving will add just 1 more to the many dynamic duos that the league has seen in 2020. I have no doubt that these two will be as exciting to watch in Brooklyn as they are to write about. Look for the Nets to make a huge run in the Eastern Conference next season.
When Klay Thompson returns, the Golden State Warriors’ big three circuit will be complete once again. And with no KD on the roster, watching this team should feel like old times. Yeah Steph Curry’s a little bit older, and there are now two other dominant California teams in that Pacific division, but let’s not forget the fact that these three guys (Curry, Thompson, and Green) were cementing their place at the top of NBA history just a few short years ago. It’ll be interesting to see who else Golden State brings into the mix and if they decide hold on to Andrew Wiggins. With the amount of run the younger guys received in the 2019-20 season and the new maturity and wisdom from their big three, we’re almost guaranteed to see some special things from the Golden State Warriors next season.
Continued dominance from the Lakers
Let’s face it — if the NBA season continues this year, the Los Angeles Lakers have a more than good chance to win the title now. But if you think LeBron James and Anthony Davis are going to fall off in 2021, I’m not sure what other insane and inane thoughts also go through your head. Just as we’ve seen the Lakers on top of the West and on top of the league this year, we should expect much of the same when things begin to get “back to normal.” Barring any major roster changes or injuries, it might not be a bad idea to lay a few bucks on a 2021 Lakers championship future right now. Although LeBron has already cemented his spot on Basketball’s Mount Rushmore, we can think of his success compared to Michael Jordan as a limit approaching zero. He’s basically caught up, but he really will never be there. If he and AD can handle business once this season starts back up and next season, we can also put a crown on his (LeBron) head in addition to the statue.
Fallout 76, the Philadelphia edition
There’s yet to be a huge explosion in Philly, but I have reason to think that something big has to be coming soon. The 76ers have been pretty successful the past few years, but that’s all they’ve been…pretty successful. Pair the tension between Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons along with increasing discomfort from fans with Brett Brown, the bubble surrounding the Sixers is bound to pop eventually. Whether it’s in the middle or the end of the 2020-21 season, I believe that the Philadelphia 76ers will be in the news for some serious organizational issues. Let’s hope a miracle happens next year for Philly to win a championship (or at least the Finals), because we can’t expect their two consistent all-stars to last side by side for too much longer.
Modified Season Structure
I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again — Adam Silver and the boys are planning serious structural changes to the NBA season, and now’s the perfect time to do so. It’s safe to say that the 2020-21 season will either have a late start — forcing the NBA to modify the schedule — or this “time off” from the season will enable more thought and consideration for the implementation of a modified schedule. As stated in an earlier article; next season could introduce a 70-game schedule, mid-season tournament taking place around the all-star break, or both. Desperate times call for desperate measures, we could be right in the middle of witnessing a pivotal moment in NBA history.
As always, stay safe and healthy.