Believe it or not, it’s been over a quarter of the 2020/21 NBA season that kicked off in December. Due to the stoppage and subsequent postponement of the matches of the last season, this regular season will be held in a shortened version – only 82 matches. Certain trends in the teams’ play have already been outlined, and one can conclude the main discoveries and losers at the beginning of the season. And most importantly, you can fantasize about who at the moment looks most like a contender for the championship. Bookmakers have put up a line of odds on the NBA current season champion, and on Meta.reviews, you can choose the right bookmaker to bet on your favorite team.
The main contender for most analysts and basketball fans, including the editors of Centreforum.org, is the current NBA champions, the Los Angeles Lakers. It is not surprising, because last season’s playoffs were outwardly easy for the Lakers, and one cannot say that the team weakened in the offseason. Yes, Danny Green, Rajon Rondo and Dwight Howard are gone, but the LeBron-Davis connection has not gone anywhere. Also, there was an opportunity to get Marc Gasol and the two best sixths at the end of last season, Montrezl Harrell and Dennis Schroder.
The only thing confusing is that after getting very little time off (the finale with Miami was played on July 14) LeBron took part in all 25 games of the new season. And he’s not just playing out the string, he is averaging 25.6 points, 8 rebounds and 8 assists per game at age 36!
Brooklyn’s greatest strength is their star trio. The team’s management gave up every resource, including quality role players LeVert, Allen and Prince, to trade James Harden. Now they have Durant, Irving, Harden and, as a result, the best offense in the league at 121.1 points per game. But the flip side of that power upfront is the weakest defense in the NBA at 118.4 points per game. Also, three stars rarely get on the court at the same time: COVID protocols, injuries, unwillingness to play. At this point, Durant is the only one with no question about the game. Kevin is playing like the MVP. He gives it all in every game averaging 29.5 points, 7.4 rebounds and 5.2 assists in 3.5 losses. So far, Brooklyn is a championship favorite only on paper.
The Clippers seem to have learned from their playoff failure last season. Ty Lue replaced Doc Rivers on the coaching staff to improve the team’s chemistry. Paul George is finally showing his All-Star level, shooting 50% from the field and 48% from behind the arc. He recently signed a long-term contract with the club and said he’d like to spend the rest of his career here. Kawhi, for his part, is holding a high bar: 26 points, 5.8 rebounds and 5.1 assists. Also, he’s rumored to have started communicating more with the team, which is just as important. So one of the strongest lineup teams in the league may be able to get revenge for last season.
Philadelphia have made a quantum leap in terms of play and are now rightfully in first place in the Eastern Conference. Management has added quality shooters in Danny Green and Seth Curry to Embiid’s physical strength, and the 76ers are now a much more balanced team than they were last season. And the team’s star player has looked unstoppable so far. We wonder if Embiid has enough stability, as he’s shown good basketball before but didn’t do it regularly.
Separately, let’s mention the favorite of Telecomasia.net. The Utah Jazz have 15 wins in their last 16 meetings and sit in first place in the Western Conference. Donovan Mitchell is the team’s biggest star, but Utah’s success comes at the expense of team effort. And, of course, by a fantastic level of three-point shooting. Quin Snyder’s team leads in shots from behind the arc with 425 on 40.2% shooting in 25 meetings. It’s too early to tell how the team will do in the playoffs, however, as Utah often does well in the regular season but doesn’t even make the NBA Finals.