NBA Basketball Preview Chat 2020-21 with Alek, Matt, and Dylan

Alek Para, Dylan McCorry, and Matt Cappello

NBA Basketball Preview 2020-21

The 2019-20 NBA season was a long, confusing, wild and uncertain ride, unlike of years past we had, but not limited to:

  • The Los Angeles Clippers and Los Angeles Lakers raced for No. 1 in the west, which was unusual considering the Clippers never had success like this in their franchise history. It resulted in the Lakers getting the #1 seed in the west and the Clippers getting the 2nd seed in the west.
  • Also, Giannis and LeBron MVP race ultimately resulted in Giannis winning his second MVP at 25 because, and I will stand by this line, stats always beat narrative.
  • Nobody expected the Clippers blowing a 3-1 lead against the Nuggets of all teams. That night on Twitter was probably the greatest night of the season as everybody mocked the Clippers.
  • Denver’s historic playoff run was also noteworthy as they became the first team to overcome not one 1-3 deficit, but two of them.


How worried should I be? 

AP: I shouldn’t be worried about coronavirus having a disruption on the season, because unlike the NFL organization, the NBA cares about its players and staff, and I am confident that Adam Silver, the commissioner of the NBA, will take control and make the season as safe as possible.

DM: Not very, Adam Silver did a great job managing this last season.


Can they complete the season?

DM: With the same bubble as the playoffs, yes.

AP: Yes, the NBA will complete their season with minor disruptions, unlike the NFL where every single week there’s a Covid-19 scare.

MC: With another bubble. However, some players wouldn’t wanna compete there.


How safe can the fans be?

DM: They need to be limited

AP: None for the first half of the season. If the situation looks better in mid-March, allow for minimal fan attendance.

MC: Definitely limited.


How will the teams cope with the short offseason?

DM: Control the depth for short offseasons. 

AP: Rest for teams with short offseasons as ALL the teams in the bubble had a shorter offseason than a normal year with the Lakers and Heat squads having just over 70 days to rest up.

MC: I think its good because they all still got their rhythm 


Should a city have a bubble ready for the NBA for the worst case scenario?

DM: Yes.

AP: Yes, but at the moment, I don’t have information that can clarify that they have one ready.

MC: Absolutely.


Chicago Bulls

New front office, New optimism. Is it the a mirage or will it translate to a playoff spot?

DM: Possible eighth seed

AP: Definitely are going to the playoffs, proving to free agents, like Giannis Antetokoumpo in 2021 that Chicago is the right place for them.

MC: I wouldn’t guarantee a spot but a potential eighth seed.

Is Lauri Markennen a Most Improved Player Candidate?

DM: 100 percent.

AP: Yes. I have him winning it, in fact, because MIP is hard to predict as any player can break out. But because Markennen got a new head coach and player development staff, this might allow him to go back to his old form that Bulls fans love.

MC: Definitely.


How good will a LaVine-White-Markennen-Wendell Lineup be?

DM: Great young core.

AP: Great core IF they can stay together.

MC: I think they should trade Wendell, great trade bait because he is young and he hasn’t done much for us.


Is Lavine going to get snubbed again for All-Star? (Assuming there is going to an All-Star game)

DM: I don’t think so.

AP: Nobody is safe. Vote all you want as a fan, but the media can snub a player out, like they did with Beal and Booker getting snubbed in 2020, Rudy Gobert and Tobias Harris the year before and so on and so forth. If Lavine can average the numbers he had and has positive team momentum, which he didn’t have last year, he could be in the All-Star game.

MC: If Beal got snubbed last year Lavine is going to get snubbed this year.


Why select Patrick Williams with the fourth overall pick?

DM: Outstanding defensive potential.

AP: McCorry’s correct. He does have outstanding potential at the Defense and he’s no joke considering he was a SMOY in the ACC, a conference that had good squads like, Duke (No. 11 on the final AP poll of the 2019-20 NCAA basketball season), Louisville (No. 14), and Virginia (No. 16), so winning that award was no easy feat. the real question now, is that can that translate to good success in the Bulls organization? I think so.

MC: They should’ve drafted Deni.


Miami Heat

Did last season prove Jimmy Butler was a good teammate?

AP: Yes. Yes he did. For whatever reason, at least from what I see, some portray Butler as a “locker room cancer.” That’s simply not true. I, too, would lose my mind if I was on bad teams and my goal was to get them to a playoff spot. There’s a reason why he decided to go into Timberwolves practice one day and beat the starters with the third-stringers, at least according to The Ringer in October 2018. Butler said, “You need me. You can’t win without me”. Butler is correct about that. He carried such guys like James Nunnally and C.J Williams over Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins. Butler also reportedly walked out after said game. I see a problem with that, but it’s understandable. At the end of the day, Butler got traded to the Sixers, took them to Game Seven in the semi-finals against the Raptors, lost and moved to Miami where he rejuvenated the roster. That rejuvenation culminated in that NBA finals appearance. He’s not a cancer. He’s a proven leader with an axe to grind.

DM: Yes. Personally I never thought he was a “locker room cancer” even when all of the controversy was going down in Minnesota. Jimmy is a player who really wants to win and some people will take that the wrong way when they don’t want the same thing. The Miami heat shared the same mindset as Jimmy and that is why they were able to go so far last season.


How good will Bam Adebayo be in the future?

AP: He will be a very good NBA star. In fact, I see him going into the Hall Of Fame if he can rack up All-Star appearances, all-defensive, all-NBA and what’s important, numbers that back up the claim he is hall of fame worthy.

DM: I can see him being a repeating All-Star and one of the best defenders in the NBA.


Is Tyler Herro good or overhyped in the media?

AP: I want to say overhyped but I can’t tell. He is better than some NBA players but he’s not better than Beal or others in his position so I’ll just say overhyped because I can’t come to a conclusion. 

DM: I think the hype train with Herro is like a rollercoaster. He started out very underrated, but then quickly became overrated and overhyped. Now I think people have gotten to the point where they call him overrated and over hyped that he’s become almost underrated again. If that makes sense?


Is Heat Culture still a pulling factor in today’s NBA?

AP: Yeah, of course. I’d go there simply because I like Miami. You would go to the Heat if you had the chance.

DM: Yes, it is definitely a way to pull in hard workers.


How will Goran Dragic do with the team?

AP: He will do well this season, but will be perpetually underrated because there are better guards in the east like LaVine, Young, Sexton and others. But hes a really good point for Miamis system so I say he will do good with the team. 

DM: I think he will do great. I think he is one of the most underrated players in the league.


New Orleans Pelicans

Is Zion the real deal?

AP: Yes. But can I take him seriously if he’s ranked No. 24 on CBS Sports’ rankings over Rudy Gobert, Kemba Walk, Ja Morant, Marcus Smart and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. Is he good, yes. But there are players in the past that had good seasons just to fall, an example being Michael Carter-Williams. Back off of ranking him so high and put him at like Nos. 50-60. Until I see him have a 50-game sample size with good numbers, I’m going to say yes, he is if he stays healthy.

DM: He definitely is, but in order to be effective he needs to stay healthy. His body type is very concerning to me and I don’t know if it will be able to keep up with the NBA’s pace of play in the long run.


Will Lonzo Ball improve on shooting?

AP: I don’t think so. He doesn’t show any signs of improvement but he does have a future as a pass-first guard, which is what Steve Nash was. Also, who needs to shoot when you’re going to have a healthy Zion and Ingram.

DM: I think it can improve, but I don’t think he will ever be able to improve to a “good” shooter with his mechanics.


Is a Ball-Ingram-Zion Trio contend in the future or will it fall apart?

AP: Yes. I will watch them closely over the next few years to see how this young roster, with verteran Steven Adams, Eric bledsoe and JJ Redick help teach the team the aura of success. I can see them making some noise in the playoffs if they have favorable oppodents

DM: No. I think it will be like the KD, Westbrook, and Harden trio in OKC but on a lesser scale. They’ll be good and make some playoff runs but I can’t see them winning a championship together.


Is Ingram the next KD?

AP: While he may show promises and glimmers that a young Kevin Durant showed, I don’t think he’ll live up to the hype of KD. But he’ll be very good for the Pelicans. 

DM: No. People have got to stop comparing every tall, lanky player that can put the ball in the basket the next Kevin Durant. Durant is a once in a lifetime type of scorer and Ingram is definitely not that.


Los Angeles Clippers

How confident are you in thinking they’ll win a title?

AP: Not confident if Paul George and Kawhi Leonard did what they did last year in late games. If they changed their ways and don’t choke, I can trust them. 

DM: I think they have a chance. They underperformed in the playoffs last year, but they still have two fo the top 15 players in the league.


Will Kawhi AND PG-13 leave LA for good next offseason or will they stay?

AP: I was going to say they are going to leave LA but due to PG-13s extension, Kawhi might stay and they better make it count if the Clippers want any return for the future. 

DM: I think they’ll stay.


How will Montrezl Harrells departure impact the team’s bench?

AP: It’ll impact them considering they have JUST Lou Will and he is getting old.

DM: It gives them a lot less depth.


Milwaukee Bucks

What’s to blame for playoffs, coaching or players?

AP: I honestly think it could be the players fault. Remember, It was in game three of the Eastern conference finals in 2019 when Nick Nurse switched Kawhi Leonard onto Antetokoumpo and from there, it was history. I say the players should step it up and coaching help them adopt to scenarios. 

DM: Players, the role players didn’t dominate their roles and that is what they needed to do beside Giannis.

Boston Celtics

Is Jayson Tatum a future MVP candidate?

AP: Of course Tatum is an MVP candidate in the future. His domination over opponents on the court make him very bright for the next DECADE and could lead Boston to more titles in the future, pending trades, signs, injuries etc.

DM: No. Personally I don’t think Tatum is ever going to be able to make a real MVP push over some of the other guys in the league. I still think he will be a consistent all star.


Is a Tatum-Smart duo the future of the league?

AP: Yes. They are both very defensive players, with Smart being the 

DM: No, Smart isn’t good enough offensively to be in a top duo of the league.


How likely are they to contend for an NBA title this year and can they win it?

AP: Yes but not when the Lakers, Bucks, Nets and Clippers are in the way. If they can get in the way for this teams, they can win at least ONE title or even two.

DM: They’ll make a push in the playoffs but I don’t think they can make a championship run.

Los Angeles Lakers

How long can an AD-Bron duo last in contention?

AP: As long as LeBron can attract talent to the beautiful city of L.A on the basis that he’s LEBRON, the greatest basketball player to ever lay hands on a basketball. It also helps that he has a sidekick in AD that he gave up Lonzo and Ingram for. Pretty even trade, LeBron gets their guy and the Pelicans got their future.

DM: As long as Lebron is in the league. I don’t see him slowing down anytime soon.



AP: I’m going with Bucks-Lakers but Lakers win in 7. The reason why I have the Bucks, as opposed to the Nets could potentially fall off, example being that Kyrie played just 19 games this season or potentially KD not being 100%, the 76ers could collapse also like they did last year. The only real threat that I haven’t seen collapsed is the Celtics. And the Lakers? Well, he washed the West like it was nothing and the Warriors and Clippers aren’t anywhere close to beating Lebron and Davis

MC: Lakers-Nets Nets in 7.

DM: I have Lakers-Bucks and I think the Lakers will take it in 5. I don’t know how Giannis will play in a high pressure situation like the finals against David who experienced last year and Lebron James who’s been there 10 times.



AP: I have LeBron winning Finals MVP. He is a phenomenal player in the finals (except in 2011) and every finals he’s won, he’s won the MVP award so its a no brainer for me.

MC: Kyrie Irving

DM: Anthony Davis again.


Rookie of the Year?

AP: James Wiseman is going to win Rookie of the Year. Wiseman was the most complete player coming into the draft and it could help him win the award.

MC: LaMelo Ball.

DM: Issac Okoro. He dropped 18 points in his first preseason game and will be getting a lot of touches on the Cavs.


Most Improved Player?

AP: LeBron James. He’s going to win it due to voter fatigue from Giannis and can definitely win it if the Bucks don’t make it far, or make the Finals.

MC: Luka Doncic

DM: Luka Doncic


Coach of the Year?

AP: From what I’ve seen, Nick Nurse could repeat it again. Or it could be Bulls incoming coach Billy Donovan that snatches the award. Though on average, you have to win 60 percent or 43 games this year to be considered a real candidate. I can see Nick Nurse getting there but not the bulls, though it’ll be close

MC: Billy Donovan or Mike Malone.

DM: Mike Malone.


Defensive Player of the Year?

AP: Giannis Antetokoumpo. He has the momentum from last season to win that award again.

MC: Giannis Antetokoumpo.

DM: Bam Adebayo.


Sixth Man of the Year?

AP: Lou Williams. Dennis Schroder and Montrezz Harrell could potentially split the votes between them so I say it’ll end up in Williams hands for the 4th time in his career

MC: Lou Williams

DM: Lou Williams


Most Improved PLayer?

AP: Lauri Markkanen. He’s got a new head coach that can help him bring him back to his rookie numbers. Whatever, I just want him to do good after years of being under Hoiberg and Boylen.

MC: Lauri or Ayton

DM: Lauri Markkanen


Final Thoughts?

AP: I have only three words to summarize this season: It’ll be fun.

MC: This will be the most exciting season in the history of the NBA.

DM: I think this draft class is going to be a lot better than people think and surprise a lot of people.