Top 5 NBA Teams to Watch Next Season
Every new NBA season is sure to offer loads of surprises. The league’s landscape shifts year by year with all the free-agent decisions, massive trades, and other variables.
With this, there’s bound to be a few teams that amass massive amounts of hype before the season begins for some reason or another. In this piece, we look at potentially the top five most exciting teams to watch next season. Whether it be due to a roster shake-up, young players looking to break out, or any other factor, these teams will hold the NBA world’s attention on how they fare.
With that, let’s get into the must-see NBA teams of next season.
With many years as one of the NBA’s much-maligned cellar-dwellers, Michael Jordan’s Charlotte Hornets have turned themselves into one of the most exciting teams in the league last year. How exactly did the team get to this point?
Firstly, their recent free-agent decisions have been uncharacteristically smart ones. After initially being clowned for the potential overpay, the signing of Terry Rozier proved to be instrumental. The 6’0” scoring guard picked his 2018 NBA Playoffs form back up after getting to North Carolina. Similarly, Gordon Hayward’s signing was a shrewd piece of business from the Hornets front office, as he was a very solid, borderline-All-Star player for them last season. The two former Boston Celtics show the front office’s proficiency.
This proficiency was shown even more prominently in their recent draftees. Most of their recent draft picks look to be exciting prospects looking to break out soon. The likes of P.J. Washington and Miles Bridges are showing flashes of brilliance, while others like Devonte’ Graham have already broken out and are looking to continue on their path.
Of course, the most crucial piece to the Hornets would be last year’s NBA Rookie of the Year, LaMelo Ball. Charlotte’s flashy and exciting brand will simply not be possible without the star power of the youngest Ball brother.
From winning just seven games in a whole season to a dynamic, high-flying unit, the Charlotte Hornets look to continue their exciting play next season.
Los Angeles Lakers
The Los Angeles Lakers have several intriguing storylines going into the 2021-22 season.
This is LeBron and AD’s potential redemption year after their injury-filled 2020-21 campaign ended with a first-round exit, the very first of LeBron James’ long career. It’ll also be another massive addition to James’ already great legacy.
This is also the Lakers’ chance to overtake their long-time rivals, the Boston Celtics, in total NBA championships won with a potential 18th coming.
However, undoubtedly the most intriguing part about this Los Angeles Lakers team is Russell Westbrook. Specifically, how Russ will coexist with LBJ and Anthony Davis as a ball-dominant player himself, as well as how the Lakers will deal with the reduced spacing.
These problems can be easily seen and have already been milked by various media outlets, but the fact still remains that a former MVP and triple-double machine has just been added to the refreshed Bron and AD combo. Russ adds a lot of value to this Lakers team, but the benefits of his regular-season production to his team cannot be overstated.
The last time the Lakers combo got enough rest before the playoffs, it resulted in the franchise’s 17th championship. With WB taking a lot of load in the regular season, the 18th may very well come in 2022.
Trae Young and the Atlanta Hawks are poised to make waves again next season after a sensational Conference Finals run in the 2021 NBA Playoffs.
The young Hawks team just came off a season where they went from the East’s cellar dwellers to 2 games away from the NBA Finals, after a 3-year postseason hiatus. Leading the way was the remarkable Trae Young, who himself went from being deemed just a shot-chucking foul-baiter to a cold-blooded assassin who single-handedly shushed the entire Madison Square Garden. The fiery Hawks scorched the New York Knicks, after which they remarkably upset the top-seed Philadelphia 76ers in 7 games. They would eventually lose in a valiant effort against the Milwaukee Bucks, who’d go on to win it all.
Flanking Ice Trae are fellow young players John Collins, DeAndre Hunter, Cam Reddish, and Onyeka Okongwu, all of whom look to be on the verge of breaking out. With seasoned vets Clint Capela, Lou Williams, and Danilo Gallinari, the team only looks spicier.
The Hawks’ investment in youth may very well come into fruition next season. Expect ATL to be dark horse contenders once again, and to be a continuous threat to the NBA’s East giants.
As the team with the most offseason activity in the past few months, the Chicago Bulls look to be an exciting franchise once again.
After so many years being in the bottom of the East, Zach LaVine’s Chicago Bulls look to capitalize on their star man’s prime by making several adjustments to the team. Even before this offseason, the Bulls already snagged All-Star big man Nikola Vučević from selling Orlando Magic. They then followed this up by winning the Lonzo Ball sweepstakes, signing the rapidly improving playmaker to much fanfare. Even more fanfare came with the signing of the Los Angeles Lakers’ Alex Caruso. However, their best and most underrated signing came in the form of 4x NBA All-Star DeMar DeRozan, after a 3-year stint with the San Antonio Spurs.
Accompanying these signings are highly-touted young players Coby White and Patrick Williams. With the potential emergence of these two next season, it’s no wonder Bulls fans are so excited. This, undoubtedly, is Chicago’s best team since the Derrick Rose and Jimmy Butler era; this would also be their best chance at a playoff push since 2017.
It’s truly a new, bright dawn for the Windy City, who look to make some noise in the East next season.
Even with one of their stars out with injury, the other playing on one leg, and noticeable gaps in their defense and chemistry, Kevin Durant’s Brooklyn Nets went toe-to-toe against the eventual NBA champions last season.
Now, in the new season, with all of their players rested, the Nets will have the opportunity to finally build up some more team chemistry and have their Big 3 get more and more used to each other. We all saw how great a healthy Brooklyn team can be last season, finishing the Boston Celtics in relatively easy fashion. Even without James Harden, KD and Kyrie Irving were able to outclass the Milwaukee Bucks in the first two games of the series.
The Nets became an even more dangerous proposition after the signing of veteran Paul Millsap and the return of LaMarcus Aldridge. With the added input of Blake Griffin and the potential breakout of youngster Nicolas Claxton, it’s no wonder the Brooklyn Nets are once again tipped to be favorites for the 2022 NBA Championship.
Individually, the trio is already must-see television; a healthy Nets team together surely means scary hours in the NBA. Kyrie’s dribbling wizardry on the ball, Harden’s dazzling playmaking, and KD’s unstoppable scoring ultimately make the Brooklyn Nets the NBA team to watch next season.