The first game of the NBA season will be played between the Milwaukee Bucks and Brooklyn Nets on October 19th at 6:30 PM at the Fiserv Forum. The matchup will be a rematch of the second round of the Eastern Conference playoffs, which the Bucks dramatically won in seven games.
What is the expected starting lineup & bench for the Milwaukee Bucks and Brooklyn Nets in the season opener?
Kyrie Irving and James Harden are expected to recover from their injuries and will start in the Brooklyn Nets backcourt on opening night. Kevin Durant will be the obvious choice for the small forward position, but there is some certainty regarding the Nets frontcourt.
Joe Harris and Blake Griffin seem likely candidates, but one of LaMarcus Aldridge and new signing Paul Millsap could also feature.
Bruce Brown, Patty Mills, rookie Cam Thomas, and power forward Nic Claxton are expected to come off the bench for Steve Nash's side.
The Milwaukee Bucks, on the other hand, will start Donte DiVincenzo and Jrue Holiday at the two guard spots. Khris Middleton will take up the small forward role, while 2021 NBA Finals MVP winner Giannis Antetokounmpo will play at the 4. Brook Lopez is likely to start at center.
For the Bucks, Bobby Portis is expected to see major minutes off the bench. Pat Connaughton will also come off the bench to share minutes in the backcourt.
What can we expect from the arena and Covid protocols on the NBA 2021-22 season opening night?
The NBA recently outlined health and safety protocols, and here are some key pointers.
Occurrence of independent cases (not spread among players or staff) or a small or “expected number” of COVID-19 cases will not require a decision to suspend or cancel the season.
• Anyone who tests positive will have two routes to return to work: go 10 days or more after the first positive test or onset of symptoms, or test negative twice at least 24 hours apart via PCR testing.
• Any player who tests positive, even if asymptomatic, will not be allowed to exercise for a minimum of 10 days and then must be monitored in individual workouts for an additional two days.
The Milwaukee Bucks' Fiserv Forum hosted a 95% crowd for the 2021 NBA playoffs, and the arena is expected to be at full capacity on opening night.
Which team has the better roster so far?
As things stand, the Brooklyn Nets have a far better roster than the Milwaukee Bucks. The Bucks, of course, are the reigning NBA champions, but PJ Tucker's departure makes them light on defense.
Meanwhile, the Nets replaced outgoing Jeff Green with Paul Millsap, and the addition of Patty Mills gives them a major boost as far as the bench unit is concerned.
Both teams will rely on their star trio, with the Nets likely fielding Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, and James Harden.
Prediction for the NBA 2021-22 season opening night
The Brooklyn Nets have some serious firepower and will be looking to avenge their 2021 NBA playoff loss. In the end, it will come down to which team plays better on defense. We can envisage the Brooklyn Nets pulling off a narrow win.