Which NBA teams and players could disrupt the home-court and award races in 2021-22?
Which NBA teams and players could disrupt the races for home-court advantage and awards during the 2021-22 season?
After the New York Knicks’ surprising run to the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference last season, could head coach Tom Thibodeau’s crew pull off that feat again in an improved East? Are Rookie of the Year LaMelo Ball and the Charlotte Hornets real threats to make a leap? Are the Toronto Raptors, back north of the border after playing their entire home schedule in Tampa, Florida, last season, primed for a bounce-back campaign?
Despite Kawhi Leonard’s injury absence, are our Western Conference projections sleeping on the LA Clippers? Are Damian Lillard and the Portland Trail Blazers due for another run up the standings?
And are there sleeping giants lurking outside the favorites for the races for MVP and Rookie of the Year?
With less than two weeks until opening night tips off, our NBA insiders are breaking down who could alter the landscape of the new season, and also how one recent rule change could disrupt the league in a far different way.
Lowe’s NBA tiers: Every team, from the top to the very bottom
1. Which West team outside ESPN’s top-six projections has the best chance to disrupt the race for home court?
MacMahon: The LA Clippers. After Kawhi Leonard went down last season, the Clippers closed out the Jazz in the second round and were competitive against the Suns in the West finals. Paul George is a perennial All-Star with something to prove, and he has a supporting cast of quality veterans around him. Terance Mann could be a Most Improved Player candidate after his breakout postseason. There’s also the possibility of Leonard coming back for the stretch run.
Sedano: The Clippers. I feel like we’re sleeping on them. George showed us in the playoffs that he can still be an elite two-way player and carry a team. Granted, the Western Conference is a slog and absurdly deep, but I think PG can thrive again being the No. 1 option. This Clippers…
Source : espn