NBA 2020/21 Season Outlook
by Ryan Gilleece
This season, the NBA had their statistically worst year in league history based on TV ratings and viewership. The 2020 NBA Finals brought in an average of 7.16 million viewers, the worst numbers since 2007 when Tim Duncan and the San Antonio Spurs swept a young LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers. The average viewers for that season was 9.36 Million. The NBA Finals usually gets around 20 million viewers per game. With that being said, many changes were made during the offseason to the teams rosters that can turn these numbers right around.
It all started with the 2020 NBA Draft, where college and overseas talents get drafted into the most competitive league in the world. All the draft pick analysts were talking about all night was LaMelo Ball. Ball has been looked at ever since he was 14 thanks to his big brother Lonzo, who is a point guard for the New Orleans Pelicans. Lonzo was projected to be the best high school basketball prospect since LeBron James until the discovery of his New Orleans teammate and 2019 1st overall pick, Zion Williamson.
LaMelo Ball scored 92 points in a High School game in 2017. LaMelo went to play overseas instead of college, and so did fellow prospect RJ Hampton, who was drafted 24th overall by the Milwaukee Bucks but shortly traded to the Denver Nuggets for two second round picks. Lamelo was drafted by the Charlotte Hornets with the 3rd Overall Pick. Many people thought he would go number 1 to the Minnesota Timberwolves, but University of Georgia Shooting Guard Anthony Edwards was taken. Despite controversially saying in an interview with ESPN’s Rachel Nichols he would rather be a, ¨famous rapper than a NBA All-Star,¨ the Timberwolves rolled the dice on him and with the season starting on December 22nd they will see the fate they landed on.
A couple days later NBA Free Agency started. Free Agency is where teams can offer contracts to players whose contracts have expired or trade for players that they want.
One example of these trades was between the Washington Wizards and the Houston Rockets. Houston traded Former MVP Russell Westrook, who they received in a trade from Oklahoma City in 2019, for Washington Wizards point guard and 2010 1st overall pick John Wall and a future 1st round pick. Wall hasn’t played a game in 2 years due to a ruptured Achilles, an injury many people do not come back the same from.
The moves that didn’t surprise anyone are Anthony Davis re-signing with the Los Angeles Lakers on a five-year $190 million contract, Jayson Tatum re-signing with the Boston Celtics on a five-year $163 million deal, worth up to $195 million with incentives. Donovan Mitchell re-signed with the Utah Jazz, also for five-year $163 Million worth up to $195 million with incentives.
The surprising move this year is former LA Clippers center and the reigning 6th Man of the Year, Montrezl Harrell, crossing town to the Lakers on a two-year $19 million contract.
With the NBA season just getting kicked off on December 22nd, the teams that are already succeeding from a successful off-season are the Atlanta Hawks, who are 4-2, Phoenix Suns who are 4-2 and the 76ers who hold the best record in the league at 5-1. The team who is disappointing NBA analysts from Kenny Smith and Brent Barry to Ernie Johnson and Adrian Wojinowski are the Toronto Raptors and Washington Wizards. The Raptors are 1-5 and the Wizards are 2-4. Both teams went to the Bubble in Walt Disney World and both teams are losing by small margins. Time will tell how their seasons goes.