Top 10 Storylines For 2021-22 NBA Season | Ben Simmons & Philly Trying To Work It Out

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NBA opening night is eight days away, and as we enter another season there are several storylines that will dominate the early part of the NBA season and ultimately influence the race to the NBA Finals. 

1. Kyrie Irving Vaccination Status 

With Kyrie Irving unvaccinated and showing no signs of ever getting pricked, the Nets will have to navigate some rocky waters.

How will this affect the Brooklyn Nets and their NBA title hopes. Irving won’t be able to play home games for the team unless he gets vaccinated.

Head coach Steve Nash said the following concerning this matter.

“I think we recognize he’s not playing home games,” Nash told reporters Sunday. “We’re going to have to for sure play without him this year. So it just depends on when, where and how much.”

If he does not meet New York’s vaccine requirements, Irving stands to miss as many as 44 games — the Nets’ 41 home games at Barclays Center, their two road games against the Knicks at Madison Square Garden, and one at the Golden State Warriors’ Chase Center arena in San Francisco.

This situation is the 9,000-pound elephant in the Brooklyn Nets locker room and executive suites of the Barclays. 

2. Ben Simmons Saga

How will the Ben Simmons saga end?

Will he sit out the season or will he get his wish and be traded? The Sixers aren’t nearly as good without the budding two-way star, who was a finalist for DPOY in 2020-21. The Sixers want a haul for their star player. They have shown an unwillingness to budge from their exorbitant asking price to get a deal done.

Meanwhile, Simmons says he’s done and won’t ever take the floor as a 76ers player again. This situation remains fluid. ESPN’s Malika Andrews, however, reports that the two sides are talking about a possible return and the feedback has been positive.

3. Frenzy Of Offseason Moves Changes Power Structure

Free agency moves were plentiful in the offseason. Some teams have gotten significantly better and one has to wonder what new teams, if any, will crash the postseason party.

The new-look Bulls added DeMar DeRozan, Lonzo Ball and Alex “Air Buddah” Caruso to a core that already featured Zach LaVine, Nikola Vucevic, Coby White and Patrick Williams. Billy Donovan has pieces to win in the Windy City.

And more talent is coming down the pipeline in Chi-Town.

4. Sac Town’s Quality Control Quartet Making Noise In The West

Can the Sacramento Kings take that next step with their talented guard quartet of DeAaron Fox, Buddy Hield, Tyrese Haliburton and rookie Davion Mitchell?

It’s up to third-year coach Luke Walton, who has gone 31-41 in each of the last two seasons, to finally figure it out.

5. Timberwolves Big Three Developing Chemistry 

The Minnesota Timberwolves have a chance to be in the playoff mix with Karl-Anthony Towns, DeAngelo Russell, and Anthony Edwards potentially crashing the postseason party. This team has to go from a compilation of talent to a team of winning players. They already have fans around the world.

6. Kawhi Leonard’s Absence Changes For Clips 

Will Kawhi Leonard play at all in 2021-22? The entire fate of the Clippers rests on Leonard’s health. When this championship-caliber team was built, it was supposed to bring the Clippers the title. Paul George and The Claw were supposed to lead the Clippers over the Lakers in the West. With the Clippers’ new arena in tow, Leonard was supposed to be the face to lead a new culture. He will be no more than a cheeleader this season as the Clippers try to battle with an undermanned roster. 

Kawhi Leonard Status Uncertain Going Forward | The Clippers Jinx Continues

4 More Storylines To Follow This NBA Season 

7. How will Russell Westbrook co-exist in Tinseltown with LeBron and AD? He’s never been a third option, but that’s now his role.

Can Russell Westbrook Accept Being Third Option On Lakers?

How will Frank Vogel keep Westbrook engaged when things aren’t to his liking? And how will Westbrook handle being chastised by ’Bron?

8. How much will Klay Thompson play when he does return after a two-year hiatus because of various injuries? The fans obviously want him back. Even when he wasn’t playing his popularity was soaring.

9. Can The Atlanta Hawks return to the Eastern Conference Finals?

10. How will the new rules against offensive players trying to draw fouls affect the play of James Harden, Trae Young, Luka Doncic, and even Steph Curry at times?