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NBA season preview: The highest 50 storylines to look at in 2021-22 (Half 1)


The NBA season is right here.

Coaching camps are open and the common season begins in lower than a month. 

If it appears like a traditionally quick offseason, that’s as a result of it’s. Whereas not fairly as quick as final 12 months’s 72-day break within the motion, this 12 months’s 91-day span between the tip of the NBA Finals and the beginning of the season on October 19 is the second-shortest in league historical past.

Not solely did the draft and free company fly by in a blur, the hoops by no means actually stopped with 50 lively NBA gamers taking part within the Tokyo Olympics.

If you happen to’re ravenous for basketball because the calendar flips from August into September and simply can’t get sufficient, we’ve acquired your again. These aren’t daring predictions or burning questions as a lot as they’re the 50 most fun but unresolved tales to look at that can outline the upcoming season.

The truth is, there’s a lot to watch that we break up our prime 50 storylines into two components!

Click on right here for Half 2

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1. I’m excited to look at Giannis Antetokounmpo reimagine the probabilities and soar to new heights following his “Pleased Gilmore discovered the best way to putt” second within the 2021 NBA Finals.

2. I’m excited to look at LeBron James – properly rested and motivated greater than ever – ship a powerful message that he’s nonetheless The King even in his nineteenth NBA season.

3. I’m excited to look at Kevin Durant fulfill his seemingly unending quest for peace by delivering his masterpiece on the heels of an astonishing show within the postseason and Olympics.

MORE: 5 burning questions on the core of KD’s signature season

4. I’m excited to look at the Philadelphia 76ers wrap up the NBA’s longest ongoing cleaning soap opera and afford Ben Simmons the possibility for a recent begin in a brand new metropolis. 

5. I’m excited to look at #NBATwitter, podcasters, the blogosphere, and TV speaking heads collectively lose their minds over the revealing of the 75 Biggest Gamers. The 24/7 NBA content material machine as we all know it at the moment didn’t exist when the NBA launched the 50 Biggest Gamers again in 1996. I am positive everybody will maintain a stage head.

6. I’m excited to look at 36-year-old Chris Paul, properly previous the purpose the place 6’0” guards sometimes produce at All-Star ranges, try and dip into the fountain of youth and ship a 3rd straight top-10 MVP end.

7. I’m excited to look at Klay Thompson – sharpshooting extraordinaire, beloved teammate and real nationwide treasure – fly off screens with zero house and money in 27-footers with two fingers in his face.

8. I’m excited to look at Detroit basketball followers rally behind Cade Cunningham with a way of prideful, long-term hope that feels way more actual and sustainable than any false sense of hope generated in the course of the Blake Griffin and Andre Drummond years.

MORE: Who will win Rookie of the Yr?

9. I’m excited to look at Zion Williamson stage up but once more on the heels of a season during which he concurrently performed level guard and developed into essentially the most devastating paint scorer since Shaq.

10. Talking of Shaq… I’m excited to look at Joel Embiid keep on the ground and ship his model of the 1999-00 Shaq season during which he stayed wholesome and bludgeoned all who stood in his approach en path to profitable the MVP. (Apart: Embiid was the MVP front-runner final 12 months earlier than accidents piled up and is now the identical age that Shaq was getting into the 1999-00 season).

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11. I’m excited to look at the Sacramento Kings make a run at ending the NBA’s longest postseason drought, 15 years and counting.

12. I’m excited to look at Billy Donovan and the Bulls surge up the NBA League Go rankings and lightweight up the scoreboard with Lonzo Ball and DeMar DeRozan becoming a member of the Zach LaVine and Nikola Vucevic combo.

13. I’m excited to look at LaMelo Ball inject all the metropolis of Charlotte with a showstopping sense of aptitude and buzz that’s been lacking since Michael Jordan took over.

14. I’m excited to look at the Jalen Suggs Revenge Tour. The Orlando Magic is likely to be a robust guess to complete with the NBA’s worst document however Suggs is already hinting at payback for the 4 groups who handed on him on this 12 months’s draft.

15. I’m excited to look at Luka Doncic proceed to comply with in LeBron’s footsteps. Getting into his fourth season, Doncic is on the identical level of his profession as James when he famously dragged the 2007 Cavaliers to the NBA Finals. 

16. I’m excited to look at Ja Morant construct off a wildly profitable “whats up, world!” second in his postseason debut and graduate into the internal circle of the Curry-Lillard-Paul-Kyrie dialog.

17. I’m excited to look at Masai Ujiri spin his subsequent masterpiece in Toronto after agreeing to a long-term extension that retains the NBA’s premier entrance workplace govt north of the border for the foreseeable future.

18. I’m excited to look at the Knicks embrace the lengthy recreation and truly observe persistence on the street again to respectability.

19. I’m excited to look at Trae Younger proceed embracing his internal Reggie Miller whereas morphing into the best Knicks villain for the reason that Nineteen Nineties.

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20. I’m excited to look at Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown blossom into legit superstars. An actual query price pondering: Given Brown’s immense strides each single 12 months, are we 100% positive that Tatum – and never Brown – is in the end THE GUY in Boston?

MORE: Winners and losers from free company

21. I’m excited to look at Kyle Lowry introduce his all-world scrappiness and win-at-all-costs mentality to an uber-competitive Warmth crew tailored for a participant like Lowry. 

22. I’m excited to look at an immensely proficient group of first-year coaches lastly get their shot: Willie Inexperienced (Pelicans), Wes Unseld Jr. (Wizards), Jamahl Mosley (Magic), Ime Udoka (Celtics), and Chauncey Billups (Path Blazers)

23. I’m excited to look at Shai Gilgeous-Alexander’s understated brilliance even when the rebuilding Thunder seem way more enthusiastic about buying future draft picks than truly profitable video games. 

24. I’m excited to look at the curious case of Collin Sexton play out in Cleveland. He’s one in every of simply 10 guards ever to common over 24 factors per recreation on the age of twenty-two or youthful, and but his identify retains getting floated in potential rumors forward of a doubtlessly large pay day subsequent summer season. 

25. I’m excited to look at Nikola Jokic’s push for back-to-back MVPs. I discover it extremely weird that the reigning MVP ranks simply eighth in preseason MVP odds. Sure, Jamal Murray is out indefinitely as he recovers from a torn ACL. However Jokic led Denver to a 13-5 document after Murray went out, which over the course of an 82-game season equates to 59 wins. If Jokic drags the Nuggets to wherever even remotely near 59 wins, he’ll be main the dialog. Put some R-E-S-P-E-C-T on Jokic’s MVP odds.

Verify again in on Tuesday for Half 2 as we proceed to discover the highest 50 storylines that can outline the NBA season.


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