The LA Lakers may have had it their own way last season and lived up to their tag as preseason favorites. However, for the past few years there have been several teams under development who could be ready to knock the Lakers off their pedestal in the 2020-21 NBA season.
The Miami Heat produced an inspiring display prevailing in the East and will certainly be looking to repeat this feat. In this article we will look at the Heat's credentials as well as four other teams'.
5 teams that could challenge during the 2020-21 NBA season
This season will be one like no other, yet despite the empty arenas, it could be one of the most exciting and open seasons in recent years. Here are five sides who we believe could battle for an NBA Championship.
#1 Miami Heat
The Miami Heat surprised a lot of NBA fans last season and brought a breath of fresh air to the Eastern Conference. Their young roster played as if they had nothing to lose and were led by Jimmy Butler's steely determination. Having crushed the Milwaukee Bucks, the Heat then proved too strong for the Boston Celtics in the Conference Finals.
It wasn't until they came up against LeBron's Lakers that Miami struggled to score, strangled by their opponents' gritty defensive structure. Coming into this NBA season, the Heat will be looking to channel the experience gained from last year. Don't be surprised if teams focus on forcing Miami's 3-point specialists into high-risk shots. They were a side, after all, who consistently scored over 100 points in both their Conference Semifinal and Final series.
Jimmy Butler will be hoping to carry his young teammates to the No. 1 seed in the East. For this to happen, he will be looking at the front office to add some experienced assets and perhaps one more All-Star if they are to challenge for a ring again.
#2 Brooklyn Nets
Another exciting prospect coming out of the East in this season's NBA will be the Brooklyn Nets. Already a gritty team who work hard on both ends of the floor, the stars could align for the Nets this year as Kevin Durant returns from his long-term injury. Playing alongside Kyrie Irving and with new head coach Steve Nash in charge, that is a level of postseason experience and talent some teams could only wish for.
Extremely shorthanded heading into the bubble, a depleted Brooklyn Nets finished as the 7th seed with a 5-3 record. Despite getting swept by the Raptors, they have a roster that will put together a serious challenge if kept fit this season in the NBA. Add to the All-Stars prolific scorers Spencer Dinwiddie and Joe Harris, the Nets have an all-around lineup that will go under the radar but could achieve great things.