Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James shoots against the Sacramento Kings during the first quarter of an NBA preseason basketball game in Sacramento, Calif., Thursday, Oct. 14, 2021. (AP Photo/Randall Benton)

NBA Tips Off the Regular Season

The long-awaited start of the 2021 NBA season begins Tuesday evening. Two games will take place opening night, with last season’s champions, the Milwaukee Bucks, making their debut. The Bucks will have their ring ceremony and banner unveil prior to their matchup against the Brooklyn Nets. Later in the evening, the Los Angeles Lakers will host the Golden Sate Warriors.

Offseason Overview

Milwaukee is looking strong prior to opening this season. The team is led by last season’s Finals MVP, Giannis Antetokounmpo. The Bucks also keep valuable players Khris Middleton and Jrue Holiday. However, they will be faced with tough competition during their run for a back-to-back title.

The Nets take second to the Bucks in Bleacher Report’s latest Power Rankings. Brooklyn has Kevin Durant and James Harden, who rank fourth and fifth in all-time offensive box plus/minus. With their powerhouse offense, the only uncertainty for the Net lies in Kyrie Irving. Irving’s status on the team remains uncertain due to his refusal of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Both the Warriors and the Lakers are also strong contenders to come out on top this year. Last season, the Warriors showed defensive dominance. With Draymond Green at the center of their defense, the team neared the top of the league in assists per game, allowing just 23.8. They also forced turnovers on 13% of possessions. Offensively, the Warriors have former MVP Stephen Curry to rely on. Curry averaged 32 points, 5.8 assists, and 5.5 rebounds per game last season. The team ranked top 10 in the league for 3-pointers and 3-point percentage.

The Lakers can prove to be tough competitors for the Warriors. LA was top five in shooting efficiency last season and forced turnovers in about 14 percent of possessions. The team gave up less than 1.08 points per possession, leading the league defensively. Additionally, the Lakers made plenty of power moves on their roster this offseason. Lebron James and Anthony Davis are now joined by Russell Westbrook and Carmelo Anthony. The team boasts a strong roster that can undoubtedly make a run for a championship title.

Lebron James on the Season

With a disappointing exit in last season’s playoff games, Lebron is ready for the new year. After the additions to the Lakers’ roster, James is ready to start fresh and progress this season.

Ahead of the season, James displays pride for his teammates’ efforts during their training so far. He says the team knows what it takes to come out on top of the league this season, and they’ve set their eyes on a victory.

Overall, Lebron’s confidence in the Lakers is  strong, and they could make a solid run for this year’s title. As Milwaukee, Brooklyn, Golden State, and LA play Tuesday, team standings for the season will become much clearer.

About Asia Cymone Smith

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