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.”
— 𝐓𝐚𝐥𝐤𝐢𝐧' 𝐍𝐁𝐀 (@_Talkin_NBA) October 11, 2021
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.
Sixers officials and Klutch CEO Rich Paul have progressed in talks over recent days on a resolution to bring All-Star Ben Simmons back to Philadelphia in the near future, sources tell ESPN. Discussions are ongoing.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) October 11, 2021
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.
— NBA (@NBA) October 11, 2021
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.
Hoyeon Jung, Squid Game star, reveals in a recent interview to Vogue Korea that lately she’s been obsessed with Anthony Edwards of the Minnesota Timberwolves.
“I just think it’s something the world needs right now. Whenever I watch him play, my mood changes for the better" pic.twitter.com/2BOSQyDYJd
— Wolves After Dark (@WolvesAfterDark) October 11, 2021
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.
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.
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.
Which NBA players have gained the most Instagram followers in 2021?
1. LeBron James, 25,376,750 👑
2. Steph Curry, 4,104,774
3. Giannis Antetokounmpo, 2,039,709
4. Russell Westbrook, 2,000,831
5. Klay Thompson, 1,564,736 😲
See the rest of the list: https://t.co/9qOrob8unf
— Hoop Central (@TheHoopCentral) October 9, 2021
9. Can The Atlanta Hawks return to the Eastern Conference Finals?
10 DAYS FROM THE REGULAR SEASON 😤 pic.twitter.com/C9gVKaXzPV
— Atlanta Hawks (@ATLHawks) October 11, 2021
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?