Commencing the second week of the NBA 2020-2021 season, we are met with several surprises especially in the Eastern conference. Ever since circa 2010, the Western Conference has always been considered the superior conference, but it seems that the tides are about to swing the other way now.
Rising Stars: Young teams with great potential
Several teams that was once fringe-playoff teams have started to exact their presence in the NBA. Here are the list of those teams with their current standings and records compared to last season’s:
|Current Standing (As of 7th January 2021)||NBA 2019 – 2020 Season Standing|
|Orlando Magic||6 – 2 (2nd seed in Eastern Conference)||33 – 40 (8th seed in Eastern Conference)|
|Phoenix Suns||5 – 2 (2nd seed in Western Conference)||34- 39 (10th seed in Eastern Conference)|
|Cleveland Cavaliers||4 – 4 (6th seed in Eastern Conference)||19 – 46 (15th seed in Eastern Conference)|
It may still be very early in the season, but several contenders (Brooklyn Nets, Washington Wizards, Dallas Mavericks) appear to be struggling. Meanwhile, these young teams are rising to the limelight, the only question is: Will they keep this up?
Devin Booker looks better than ever, the veteran Chris Paul adds great value and leadership to the team. Meanwhile, the power center Deandre Ayton is also reaching his potential like never before. Last season, the Phoenix Suns ran a 8-0 winning streak in the “NBA Bubble” and barely fell short of the playoff due to Memphis Grizzlies getting a win over. This year, the Suns may be a dark-horse team with enough to even threaten contenders.
The Magic has a strong, young cast, featuring developing players in Markelle Fultz, Jonathan Isaac, Evan Fournier. Meanwhile, they also have mature players in Aaron Gordon, Nikola Vucevic. They are an extremely well-assembled cast overall, the only question being consistency.
The team has faded from the spotlight ever since LeBron James left few years ago, which is no surprise. However, this also means that a lot of people has dismissed the team’s potential. Ever since then, the team has made major improvements. Kevin Love & Andre Drummond duo makes up an excellent backcourt. Meanwhile, young players in Collin Sexton, Kevin Porter Jr. are proving their mantle and running the frontcourt. It should be very interesting to see how this team develops over the course of the season.
Expectations for the season
Most people are expecting the contender teams to bounce back after getting into a rhythm. After all, there is no reason to expect the Kyrie Irving + Kevin Durant duo to continue to struggle. Additionally, with Draymond Green returning, the Golden State Warriors are coming back with Stephen Curry dropping a whooping career-high 62 points. Stay tuned for GamingSafe’s 3rd week update for NBA 2020 – 2021 season!