Los Angeles Lakers defeat Miami Heat in Game 6 of Finals clash and take their claim as NBA champions

NBA: Who Will be Contenders In the 2021 Season?

The Los Angeles Lakers capped off the wild 2020 season with a title when they defeated the Miami Heat in six games, and they will have the biggest target on their backs for the next NBA season.

They are, of course, expected to run it back given their current core. But one can argue that their journey for a repeat will be much tougher as the playing field gets even more competitive next season.

The teams that have missed out will surely work their way back to try and fight for a championship, which is why they have been preparing to retool in as early as today.

So who are in the running for the title contention? SBOTOP takes a super early look at several teams who are expected to make some noise next season.

 

Los Angeles Lakers

Somewhere out there, LeBron James is already working hard at the gym to prepare for the next season.

But in order for the Lakers to make another bid at the championship, the Lakers would have to revamp their roster by bringing in some new acquisitions.

With Anthony Davis expected to re-up for a new deal to stay in Los Angeles, it is clear that the Lakers’ NBA 2020 odds will rest on the shoulders of him and LeBron James.

While defence remains a strong point for the Lakers, they would have to improve their shooting in order to get to a whole new level.

Several pundits envision the Lakers to go after the likes of Buddy Hield and Danilo Gallinari to address such needs, although there isn’t any imminent deal yet.

Another player that has been rumoured to possibly go to the Purple and Gold is Chris Paul. It can be noted that few years ago, he was supposed to don the Lakers jersey but the trade was vetoed by then-commissioner David Stern.

Rajon Rondo, Dwight Howard, and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope will reportedly test their values in free agency. But I wouldn’t be surprised if they return to the Lakers via team-friendly deals.

 

Los Angeles Clippers

When the Clippers didn’t make it at least to the Western Conference Finals last term, it was clear that several internal issues were needed to be addressed.

Concerns about the lack of team chemistry and the preferential treatment of their stars hounded them all season, and that resulted to their painful loss against the Denver Nuggets.

With the loss, the Clippers made the surprising decision to relieve Doc Rivers of his head coaching duties – and he is now headed to the Philadelphia Sixers for next season according to the NBA 2020 news.

The Clippers didn’t need to go far to find their next head coach as they promoted Tyronn Lue up in their ranks. Lue led the Cleveland Cavaliers to the 2016 championship, establishing himself as one of the best in the business.

For the Clippers to succeed next term, Lue would need to ensure continuity and demand accountability to everyone across the board – including their superstar duo in Paul George and Kawhi Leonard.

Giannis Antetokounmpo becomes the third player in NBA history to helm the MVP and Defensive Player of the Year title

Forward Giannis Antetokounmpo in action for Milwaukee Bucks during first half of match against Miami Heat at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex

Milwaukee Bucks

The Milwaukee Bucks had another letdown when they were defeated by the Miami Heat, which should give them enough motivation ahead of next season.

The Bucks have been dominant in the regular season, but their success could not translate to at least a Finals appearance.

In order to be true contenders, Milwaukee would have to be a deeper team or add another bonafide star alongside the Greek Freak.

Wing shooters Joe Harris, Jae Crowder, and Bogdan Bogdanovic are rumoured to be on the Bucks’ radar. Meanwhile, it has become an “open secret” that they will trade Eric Bledsoe to get an established veteran.

Giannis Antetokounmpo, who become the third player in NBA history to win MVP and Defensive Player of the Year, will have a big season ahead of him especially since his free agency is at stake here.

 

Golden State Warriors

The Warriors have been utterly dominant for the better part of the 2010’s and they are more than eager to get back on top of the summit next year.

After losing to the Raptors in the 2019 NBA Finals, the Warriors were battered and tired last season and they used the time to try and develop their younger talent while resting their stars.

Now that Steph Curry and Klay Thompson are approaching full strength, Golden State are primed to make huge strides anew in the Western Conference.

They also have Andrew Wiggins, Draymond Green, and a top-five pick in this upcoming NBA Draft – which should serve them well as they retool for another deep run.

 

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