It has been simply 71 days for the reason that Los Angeles Lakers gained the 2020 NBA championship. The Lakers will tackle the crosstown rival Clippers in one of many two opening night time fixtures on Tuesday.

Within the different opening day sport, the Golden State Warriors will face the Brooklyn Nets.

In distinction to the Lakers, the Warriors haven’t performed a sport since March 10 — 287 days in the past.

These variations between groups might play a major position within the end result of the season.

The Lakers are favorites to repeat their 2020 win, however as we go deeper into the season, fatigue could set in for a lot of returning gamers.
The Los Angeles Lakers are favorites to win the 2020-21 NBA title despite only having a 71 day break since winning last season's title.

The workforce has been busy within the offseason, including possible starters Marc Gasol, 35, and Wesley Matthews, 34, alongside reigning NBA Sixth Man of the 12 months Montrezl Harrell.

The Lakers’ possible beginning line up of James, Anthony Davis, Gasol, Matthews and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope seems formidable. However a mean age of 31.6 years on opening night time makes it one of many oldest beginning fives in NBA historical past.

LeBron James will flip 36 simply over every week after the season begins, and whereas he continues to defy the expectations of age that have an effect on the remainder of the league, this subsequent season could possibly be the true check of his greatness as a participant and as a frontrunner.

Giannis and the Bucks

One of many greatest tales to return out of the offseason is the supermax five-year contract extension signed by Giannis Antetokounmpo to stick with the Milwaukee Bucks.

It is value $228.2 million and is the most important in NBA historical past.

Some thought Antetokounmpo may depart the Bucks, however he remained loyal, saying on social media: “That is my house, that is my metropolis. I am blessed to have the ability to be part of the Milwaukee Bucks for the subsequent 5 years. Let’s make these years depend. The present goes on, let’s get it.”

Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer instructed The Athletic he hopes Antetokounmpo goes on to emulate different profitable one-team males.

“I do know there’s most likely extra consideration and extra media when guys transfer and alter, however I replicate on the fellows who’ve stayed,” mentioned Budenholzer.

“For me, a man like Tim Duncan, a Kobe Bryant, Dirk Nowitzki, guys like that, which have stayed in a single place and have made it sort of their legacy to win and win championships and win at a excessive stage, wherever it’s that they had been drafted, whether or not or not it’s a giant market, a small market.”

A championship will surely depart a legacy in Milwaukee for Antetokounmpo.

The Bucks dominated the 2019-20 common season, ending with the very best report throughout the league.

When the playoffs got here round although, the workforce underperformed, shedding its opening fixture to the eighth seed Orlando Magic, earlier than occurring to crash out within the Jap convention semifinals to the eventual runners up Miami Warmth.

Regardless of the damp finish to the season, Antetokounmpo went on to win NBA MVP for the second yr in a row.

For Antetokounmpo’s contract to be value it, for each events, he has to convey the town its second NBA title — and what higher yr to do it than the fiftieth anniversary of its first triumph in 1971.

Will Harden go to Brooklyn?

After his preliminary holdout, James Harden is again in Houston. However for a way lengthy?
Whereas he’s rumored to be proud of a commerce to a lot of groups, the one which arguably makes probably the most sense for Harden is to the Brooklyn Nets the place he might type an excellent workforce with Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant.

With these three lining up in black and white in New York, the Nets would instantly develop into professional contenders.

Will James Harden remain in Houston for the 2020-21 season?

Even when Harden stays with the Rockets, the longer term would not look shiny for the workforce and it could possibly be mutually useful for the eight-year relationship to return to an finish.

A tough reset for Houston could be the solely manner out of this example.

Is the Golden State dynasty over?

Between 2015-2019, the Golden State Warriors reached the NBA Finals each season, profitable three titles. In 2020, the Warriors completed with the worst report in the whole NBA, netting solely 15 wins in 65 video games.

Lacking stars Steph Curry, for many of the season, and Klay Thompson, for all of it, proved an excessive amount of of a loss for the workforce.

In return for a dismal season, the workforce earned the second total decide within the NBA draft, the place 7-foot-1-inch middle James Wiseman was chosen.
Wiseman had a rocky yr for Memphis, enjoying simply three video games for the Tigers, however his expertise is indubitable.
The Warriors face another season without Steph Curry and Klay Thompson lining up together again.

The upcoming season posed a hope for the workforce to show that the 2019-20 season was a blip, and that the return of Curry and Thompson, together with the addition of Wiseman, might see the workforce again in competition.

Sadly, that will not occur. Not as a result of the workforce will certainly fail to contend, however as a result of Thompson tore his proper Achilles tendon in a late November exercise and can sit out the season for the second successive yr.

“I can not sit right here and say I really feel good,” Warriors common supervisor Bob Myers mentioned. “I’ve confidence in our gamers. I’ve confidence in our coaches. I’ve confidence in our possession. We will maintain shifting. We’re by no means going to cease. However to be truthful, it hurts. It hurts me and I do know it hurts our group.”

Until different gamers step up considerably, it’s onerous to see that the Warriors show that 2019-20 was a blip.

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