The 2020-21 NBA season served up a great deal of drama, excitement, controversy and intrigue as the players battled to
play on during the pandemic. This is what we learned:
A Short Offseason Jeopardizes Players’ Health
Players are accustomed to a four-month break in which to rest their weary limbs in between seasons. That was not
possible last year, as the offseason was slashed to a mere 71 days due to delays caused by coronavirus lockdowns. There
was no summer league, forcing the rookie class to adapt to the rigors of NBA life during the regular season, while
training camps were also shortened.
The quick turnaround placed considerable strain on the players, and it ultimately resulted in an above-average number of
injuries. General managers frequently raised concerns about fatigue during a congested season, and it is hoped that the
return to a normal schedule will improve the players’ health this time around.
The NBA Play-In Tournament was an Exciting Addition
The NBA brought back the play-in format last season, but also altered the format by adding the 7th and 10th placed teams
into the mix. It made the playoff bracket in both conferences a lot more interesting. LeBron James was among the
prominent players to criticize the format, but many fans enjoyed the excitement it created. The NBA will stage a play-in
tournament for teams ranked 7th through 10th again this season, and it will be interesting to see how it is received.
You Don’t Need a Superteam to Win the NBA Championship
The Milwaukee Bucks proved that it does not take a superteam to win a title. The Bucks are led by an absolute freak of
nature in Giannis Antetokounmpo, and there are five current or former All-Stars on the team’s roster, but it is by no
means a traditional superteam like the Hamptons Five at Golden State or a Lakers team featuring LeBron and Anthony
Davis. “It is easy to go somewhere and win a championship with somebody else, it’s easy,” said Giannis after being named
Finals MVP. “I could go to a superteam, do my part and win a championship.
But I did it the hard way.” Former NBA star Stephen Jackson called him out, arguing that the Bucks are indeed a
superteam, but he was widely derided for his comments. Jrue Holiday, Khris Middleton, Jeff Teague and Brook Lopez are
strong players, but this is not a superteam featuring a Big 3, and it still triumphed. That should provide fellow
franchises with encouragement ahead of the new season.
We Have Not Yet Seen the Real Brooklyn Nets
Speaking of superteams, the Brooklyn Nets could be on the verge of an NBA dynasty after signing James Harden to play
alongside Kevin Durrant and Kyrie Irving. They went into the playoffs as championship favorites last season, but
ultimately lost to the Bucks in seven games in the conference semifinals after suffering injuries to Irving and Harden.
The superstar trio did not spend a great deal of time on court with one another last season, and it will be thrilling to
see them take the league by storm this year. The Nets are heavy favorites to win the championship, and they could also
break some scoring records in the regular season.
Nikola Jokic is a Force of Nature
The Serbian superstar ended Giannis’ two-year reign as NBA MVP by blazing a trail of destruction across the league last
season. Jokic was the runaway winner, seizing 91 of the 101 first-place votes and 971 points in total. He played in
every single regular season game and enjoyed one of the best statistical seasons in NBA history to finish well clear of
Joel Embiid and Stephen Curry in the vote. The Denver Nuggets could be very dangerous next season if he maintains his