It's only been four months since the 2020-21 NBA season came to an end, but a new season starts tonight. The league will be back to its regular schedule after the 2019-2020 season was suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It led to last season starting in December and ending in July. Ahead of the 2021-22 season, NBA commissioner Adam Silver spoke to reporters about what they expect as the league celebrates its 75th anniversary.
"I think we won't know until we can look back," Silver said per NBA.com, "when this pandemic is truly over how we can grade ourselves relative to how other businesses have done. I'll just say that I'm really thrilled that we're back to something that looks closer to normal this year."
One interesting issue is vaccinations and how each team deals with them when it comes to fans attending games. "Different regions of the country have adopted different practices, and so going into the season we'll have some arenas that require everyone to be vaccinated and others where it's illegal to even ask," Silver said. "That's what we're dealing with in this country right now." Here's a look at seven teams who could win the NBA Finals next summer.
The defending champs show no signs of slowing down despite losing P.J. Tucker. Giannis Antetokounmpo, a two-time NBA MVP, would love to win another ring to add to his legacy. And he will have a strong supporting cast led by Khris Middleton and Jrue Holiday.prevnext
After coming up short last season, the Nets are ready to bring a title to Brooklyn with the help of Kevin Durant and James Harden. What will be interesting is the fate of Kyrie Irving who may not play this season due to not being vaccinated.prevnext
Los Angeles Lakers
The Lakers are looking to win their second title in three years. With the three-headed monster of LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Russell Westbrook, it will be challenging for teams to slow down the Lakers in an 82-game season.prevnext
The Suns took the league by storm last season and there's no reason they can't do it again. Chris Paul is coming one of the best seasons of his career while Devin Booker is emerging as a Superstar. The Suns reached the finals last season and won the first two games before the Bucks won the next four.prevnext
With the duo of Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert, the Jazz are looking to improve on their 2020-21 where they had the best record in the NBA. The biggest key for them is the get out of the second round of the playoffs, which is as far as they have advanced in their last five playoff appearances.prevnext
Another team that lost in the second round of the playoffs is the Nuggets who got swept by the Suns. Nikola Jokic is looking to build on his MVP season while Michael Porter Jr. and Aaron Gordon are seeking to make bigger impacts this year.prevnext
The Hawks were the surprise team of the NBA last year as they went from a team that missed the playoffs in 2020 to coming two games away from playing in the NBA Finals. Trae Young is becoming one of the faces of the NBA and has a strong supporting cast led by John Collins and Clint Capelaprev