After two seasons truncated by the Covid-19 pandemic, the NBA is back on Wednesday with expected teams, French people in full swing and young talented people.
The NBA season resumes Wednesday, October 20 with the Milwaukee Bucks against the Brooklyn Nets as the first poster (game scheduled for 1:30 am, French time, on the night of Tuesday to Wednesday). Between the favorites, the French players, the big transfers and the “rookies”, here is all you need to know about this new year of basketball in the American league.
While the 2019-20 fiscal year ended in a bubble without an audience at Disney World after four months of interruption linked to the Covid-19 pandemic, last season was also disrupted, between closed doors and postponed matches .
This year, the NBA returns with a classic calendar, the resumption being set for Wednesday, October 20 and the play-offs for April 2022. The League will however carry out PCR tests at home to avoid any clustering whether for players or members. of the staff of each franchise.
Cue Health, a mission-driven healthcare technology company, and the NBA today announced that Cue will provide COVID-19 testing for the 2021-22 NBA season. Cue will serve as the league’s Official Home and Point of Care Test. More https://t.co/dGWoacKczb
With nearly 96% of players vaccinated within the League, the pressure will however be less than a few months ago. However, players, led by Kyrie Irving, continue to refuse the covid-19 vaccination. A situation that will initially affect the players playing in the Golden State Warriors as well as in New York (Knicks, Nets) because only those who have received at least one dose will be allowed to join the sports premises. A decree that does not concern players coming from outside.
The Milwaukee Bucks, champions last summer, can count on their 2019 and 2020 MVP (best player of the season) Giannis Antetokounmpo to retain their title and achieve the double like the Warriors in 2017-18. The Greek is not alone in this quest and can count on Khris Middleton and Jrue Holiday, both gold medalists this summer at the Tokyo Olympic Games with Team USA.
For the Brooklyn Nets, they will have to recover from the frustrating loss to Milwaukee in the conference semifinals in June. A three-point buzzed basket at the last second from superstar Kevin Durant, ultimately sanctioned for biting the line, ended the franchise’s hopes of winning its first NBA title. Second chance this season for the teammates of James Harden, deprived of their leader Kylie Irving, unvaccinated and excluded from the group.
Finally, it is impossible not to talk about the favorites without mentioning the Lakers of Lebron James (who is aiming for a 5th ring of champion). The armada surrounding the “King” is impressive: Anthony Davis, Russell Westbrook, Carmelo Anthony, Rajon Rondo, Trevor Ariza and Dwight Howard. With the oldest workforce in the League (30.7 years on average), the Los Angeles franchise will however have to manage the long season, but can also draw on its experience to shine at major meetings.
They are twelve French to evolve in the franchises of the NBA. But some are more in the spotlight than others. Rudy Gobert and Evan Fournier, Olympic silver medalists with the Blues this summer, have big ambitions. The pivot of Jazz (first in the Western Conference last season) is coming off a big season, voted best defender in the League last summer (after his titles in 2018 and 2019). He will be lined up again this season alongside Donovan Mitchell, one of the most seasoned scorers in the League (11th leading scorer in 2020-2021). The duo want to continue their ascent to the top, and forget their elimination in the conference semifinals against the Clippers, in whom Nicolas Batum, elected best French basketball player of the year and whose cons with the France team against the Slovenia at the Olympics remains in everyone’s memory. Beaten by the Suns in the conference finals, the other LA franchise wants to play spoilers.
Evan Fournier, meanwhile, has just been transferred to the New York Knicks and will be expected to restore the image of a more ripe “big apple”. 20-year-old basketball player Killian Hayes will recover from an injury-ridden season with the Detroit Pistons.
Like every year in the NBA and like the summer transfer window in football, this summer has been marked by departures and arrivals on both sides. Among the biggest “trades” to know, that of Russell Westbrook, from the Wizards to the Lakers, is in all likelihood the most flashy of all. The 32-year-old point guard is coming off a mixed season with Washington, but enjoys notoriety partly gained during his stint with the Oklahoma Thunders, a franchise with which he won the MVP title in 2017.
Spurs star DeMar DeRozan, Olympic champion with Team USA in 2016 and leading scorer in Toronto history, signed with the Chicago Bulls after three seasons in San Antonio. Club also joined by Lonzo Ball, second pick in the 2017 draft. Kyle Lowry, NBA champion with the Raptors in 2019, flew to Miami, becoming the Heat’s new point guard.
The rookies (NBA-drafted college club players) are still a big draw as we approach a new season. First pick in the draft this summer, Cade Cunningham will be eagerly awaited in Detroit. The 2m03 leader is renowned for his ability to organize the game and shoot with precision (44% shooting and 40% at 3 points).
Recruited by Houston, Jalen Green, an outstanding scorer (18 points average in the G-league), will try to put the Rockets back on track, last in the Western Conference in 2021 and confused since the departure of their leader James Harden from the side of the Nets. Another rookie to watch is Jared Butler. The Jazz point guard, NCAA (college championship) champion and best player in the Final Four, established himself as the leading scorer among the preseason rookies with 18 points, 4.3 assists and 1.3 interceptions from mean.
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