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NBA season preview: The highest 50 storylines to look at in 2021-22 (Half 2)

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The NBA season is lastly right here!

Whether or not you’re a #BallIsLife fanatic who can can’t sufficient hoops or somebody who merely must take a break from fantasy soccer prep, Sporting Information has you coated with 50 can’t-miss storylines that may outline the 2021-22 season.

For those who missed Half 1 — which included primers on LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Luka Doncic, amongst others — you may test it out proper right here.

Let’s get after it.


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26. I’m excited to look at the NBA’s Recreation of Thrones, because it appears like we’re caught transitioning between two eras. By my rely, as many as seven totally different gamers legitimately vie for the unofficial title of NBA’s finest participant: James, Durant, Antetokounmpo, Doncic, Nikola Jokic, Joel Embiid and Stephen Curry. That is totally different from the MVP race for the straightforward indisputable fact that the NBA’s finest participant doesn’t all the time win MVP. No, that is about staking a declare because the NBA’s one true king. Going yr by yr, you’d be onerous pressed to search out any season with this many gamers jockeying for pole place.

MORE: 10 insiders voted on the NBA’s finest participant. None picked LeBron.

27. I’m excited to look at the Lakers in Recreation No. 83 and past. Though Russell Westbrook’s match (and, to a lesser extent, Carmelo Anthony) in Los Angeles will gasoline hours of airtime and social media debates from Day 1, we received’t be taught a lot till the stakes are raised towards playoff-caliber defenses.

28. I’m excited to look at the rule modifications, which can dramatically enhance the sport and viewing expertise. The NBA introduced that it’s going to restrict makes an attempt to attract fouls on non-basketball strikes, which implies cracking down on the James Hardens and Trae Youngs of the world launching into defenders, kicking legs out at odd angles, and some other actions that do not occur naturally. 

29. I’m excited to look at Davion Mitchell make life completely depressing for opposing guards. He received’t be the most effective defensive guard within the league from Day 1, however he could be essentially the most uncomfortable to play towards. 

30. I’m excited to look at Jalen Inexperienced drop 40. Enjoyable truth: Allen Iverson is the final rookie to place up three 40-point video games. Inexperienced could have the final word inexperienced mild to fireplace away in Houston and will put up rookie numbers harking back to AI.

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31. I’m excited to look at Michael Porter Jr. seize a possibility to fast-track his ascent to stardom. Though the 6-10 strolling bucket underwhelmed within the postseason, he did rattle off a 15-game stretch instantly following Jamal Murray’s damage wherein he poured in 25 factors per sport on 58/51/85 capturing splits. Taking part in off maybe the league’s most unselfish star in Jokic, Porter Jr. is a significant breakout candidate on a staff that may nonetheless win a ton of video games.

32. I’m excited to look at extra tales about Kyrie Irving’s off-the-court impression bubble to the floor. Whereas there’s definitely a dialogue available about mercurial nature and on-court availability, there may be little denying all that he’s finished to make use of his mic for good. Like bringing clear water to certainly one of Pakistan’s poorest villages. Or donating 200,000 meals to a meals financial institution throughout the pandemic. Or offering truckloads of masks and meals to help the Standing Rock Sioux tribe. 

33. I’m excited to look at the Jazz try and observe Milwaukee’s blueprint. After years of underwhelming postseason performances, the Bucks lastly broke via and exorcised the demons. The Bucks are proof that the Jazz shouldn’t be counted out.

34. I’m excited to look at the star energy on Christmas. Eight energetic gamers have made not less than eight All-Star groups and all of them are scheduled to play on Christmas Day. There are a whopping 157 mixed All-Star appearances by gamers slated to play on Dec. 25.

35. I’m excited to look at “Inside The NBA,” which enters its twenty second straight season with Ernie Johnson, Charles Barkley and Kenny Smith. The previous three months served up a reminder of simply how onerous it’s to provide a constant NBA present. Don’t take “Inside The NBA” with no consideration.

36. I’m excited to look at Golden State try to string the needle by profitable now and taking part in for the longer term. If certainly one of James Wiseman, Jonathan Kuminga or Moses Moody pops, the Warriors shall be proper there knocking on the doorstep of championship rivalry.

37. I’m excited to look at Devin Booker and Deandre Ayton’s subsequent act after their Finals run. Booker appears poised to graduate from All-Star to All-NBA whereas Ayton might threaten to crack the All-NBA stranglehold that Jokic, Embiid and Gobert keep over the remainder of the league’s facilities.

38. I’m excited to look at Portland (hopefully) keep away from the definition of madness. In some unspecified time in the future, Portland’s brass should notice that trotting out Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum with none discernible third star is a recipe for fake rivalry. I hope the Blazers do one thing to considerably change their fortunes.

MORE: 76ers have their eyes set on Lillard

39. I’m excited to look at the subsequent wave of first-time All-Stars. We had 4 of them final season — Julius Randle, Jaylen Brown, Zion Williamson and Zach LaVine — and this yr’s listing might come from a gaggle that features Porter Jr., McCollum, Ja Morant, LaMelo Ball, De’Aaron Fox, Deandre Ayton, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Fred VanVleet.

40. I’m excited to look at Karl-Anthony Cities reassert his overwhelming potential. Cities has persevered via overwhelming private tragedy because the begin of the pandemic that renders something basketball-related in the end inconsequential. Nonetheless, Cities discovering solace on the hardwood and having fun with some modicum of success with the Timberwolves could be a feel-good story that any fan can root for. 

41. I’m excited to look at the true delivery of a brand new period in San Antonio. With Patty Mills becoming a member of the Brooklyn Nets in free company, no gamers stay from the vaunted 2014 title staff. No matter how lengthy Gregg Popovich mans the sidelines, the Spurs have formally closed the on-court e book on the NBA’s longest sustained run. Dejounte Murray, at 24 years previous, now takes over because the longest-tenured Spur and can shepherd within the new period.

42. I’m excited to look at James Harden make a run at a legacy-altering ring. If the Nets keep wholesome, they’re the odds-on favourite and whereas different gamers similar to Russell Westbrook, Carmelo Anthony and Chris Paul would change narratives with a championship, no one would profit traditionally fairly like Harden.

All-Time Capturing Guards
  Jordan Bryant Wade Harden
PPG 30.1 25.0 22.0 25.1
MVPs 5 1 0 1
All-Star 14 18 13 9
NBA titles 6 5 3 0

43. I’m excited to look at famous X’s and O’s teaching wizard Rick Carlisle work his magic with the Pacers after spending the previous 13 seasons with the Mavericks. Armed with a gifted roster that includes Domantas Sabonis, Myles Turner, Malcolm Brogdon, Caris LeVert and T.J. Warren, Indiana may very well be a deep sleeper to look at within the East.

44. I’m excited to look at Paul George, Ty Lue and the remainder of the Clippers struggle off the lame-duck, long-season standing that comes with Kawhi Leonard’s partially torn ACL. George is a former third-place MVP finisher, Lue is probably the most effective adjustment maker amongst all coaches, and oddsmakers nonetheless peg the Clippers to complete over .500 and make the playoffs.

45. I’m excited to look at the Bradley Beal and Spencer Dinwiddie backcourt mild the league on hearth. Positive, many of the consideration shall be on monitoring Beal’s happiness as groups attempt to pry him free. However good on Beal for giving it a shot with Dinwiddie, who when wholesome and given a possibility to hunt for his personal, can fill it up. As a starter two years in the past, Dinwiddie pumped in 21.3 factors per sport. If Beal tops 30 as soon as once more, this may very well be the highest-scoring backcourt.

46. I’m excited to look at the subsequent long-form docuseries. After the rousing success of “The Final Dance” and the next chatter, subsequent up on the docket is Hulu’s nine-part documentary on the Lakers, overlaying the Showtime ’80s, the Kobe-Shaq three-peat and the arrival of LeBron James. Add in HBO’s star-studded sequence on the identical matter and we’ve bought tons of Lakers hitting the small display screen in 2022.

 

 
 

 

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47. I’m excited to look at occasion broadcasts innovate. The NFL gave us guts-exploding cannons on Nickelodeon. MLB dreamed up a “Discipline of Desires” sport that resonated not like any regular-season baseball sport in a long time. Final season the NBA placed on a Marvel-inspired broadcast that related with younger audiences. No matter comes subsequent, it is going to absolutely dominate the dialog.

48. I’m excited to look at the NBA’s largest X-factor: Patrick Williams. Chicago might end third within the East or twelfth and I’m undecided anybody could be shocked. However for all the eye paid to Zach LaVine, DeMar DeRozan, Lonzo Ball and Nikola Vucevic, it’s Williams who might in the end decide the place the Bulls end. He was this yr’s annual “that man is approach too good to be in Summer season League” and if his offense comes near matching his capacity on the opposite finish — early indicators are promising — the Bulls might make some severe noise. Be careful.

49. I’m excited to look at the return of the Play-in Event. Not yearly will end in a LeBron buzzer-beater to snuff out a herculean effort by Steph Curry, however there’s little question that the NBA’s newest innovation to inject late-season drama resulted in a greater product. Extra video games, extra moments, much less tanking? Carry all of it on.

50. I’m excited to look at all of it unfold. If final yr taught us something, it’s to imagine nothing. Who in the beginning of the yr picked a Bucks-Suns NBA Remaining? Or a Convention Finals run by the Hawks? Or Steph Curry throwing up 2016 unanimous MVP vibes? Anticipate the sudden and have fun the unlikely tales that emerge out of nowhere and problem preconceived notions.

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