NBA Preview

A look at the time-warped 2020-2021season from our NBA communities

The arrival of a new NBA season feels like being trapped in a time-warp. While it’s been only two months since the Lakers captured the championship inside the bubble, the teams that didn’t qualify for the league’s restart haven’t played since March. If you’re feeling overwhelmed about the start of a new season, the SB Nation NBA communities are here to help. Our experts told us about their teams ahead of the new season with rankings based off votes from SB Nation Reacts. This is what you need to know about the NBA’s return.


The only way these teams are going to be satisfied is if they’re holding the Larry O’B at the end of the season. Does anyone have what it takes to dethrone the Lakers?

Who is the biggest threat to the Lakers?

  • Bucks

  • Clippers

  • Heat

  • Nuggets

Playoff locks

These teams have star power at the top of the roster and proven coaches on the bench (hey, Mike D’Antoni is an assistant in Brooklyn!). The biggest intrigue for this group is where they’ll finish in the playoff standings. Each of them could be only one move away from jumping up to the elite tier.

Will all of KD and Kyrie’s dreams come true in Brooklyn?

  • Easily winning the East

  • They'll fall short of the Finals

  • First round exit

  • They won’t be getting along by March

Scrappy playoff hopefuls

Making the playoffs would count as having a good season for anyone in this group. Winning a playoff series would count as a great season. What all of these teams are really looking for is progress on their goals and development from their roster.

Which Western Conference team from this tier will get the highest playoff seed?

  • Suns

  • Warriors

  • Pelicans

  • Rockets

Skip to draft lottery

These teams might be able to make a run at the play-in tournament, but the reality is all of them still need to add a serious amount of talent to the roster. One of these teams could walk away with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2021 NBA Draft.

Who needs the No. 1 pick in the 2021 NBA Draft the most?

  • Cavs

  • Pistons

  • Thunder

  • Knicks