By James Skvarla
The National Basketball Association has announced the schedule for the upcoming 2020-2021 season, with the Brooklyn Nets playing on December 22nd against the Golden State Warriors and the New York Knicks playing on December 23rd against the Indiana Pacers. With this new season comes a fresh start for both teams, giving them an opportunity to showcase their talents in empty stadiums due to Coronavirus protocols. But just how exactly is each team expected to do this season? To answer this question we have to look at the factors involved when it comes to each team's rosters.
The Brooklyn Nets are projected to do very well this season with the return of their star small forward Kevin Durant, along with star point guard Kyrie Irving. But just how much has the team changed since last season? Let's take a look to see what the Brooklyn Nets have done this past off season.
To start the off season, the Nets got a new head coach, Steve Nash, a former player who is getting his first chance at coaching an NBA team. The Nets also hired Mike D’Antoni and Ime Udoka as assistants, with Amar’e Stoudmire coming on as a development coach. They were also able to retain assistant coaches Jacque Vaugn, Adam Harrington, Jordan Ott, Tiago Splitter, and player development coordinator Ryan Forehan-Kelly.
As for the draft, the Nets did not do much other than trade their 19th overall pick as a part of a deal with the Los Angeles Clippers in exchange for guard Landry Shamet. They also picked power forward Reggie Perry, 57th overall, out of Mississippi State University. As for free agency, they brought in small forward Jeff Green, point guard Elie Okobo, as well as re-signing shooting guard Joe Harris and point guard Chris Chiozza. Despite what everyone in the media has said, the Nets did not make a move to trade for the Rockets’ star shooting guard James Harden.
Overall, the Nets did not make many big moves during this off season, but in retrospect, that doesn't really matter considering how good their team is currently. I predict the Nets to finish the season as a 3rd in the east come playoff time and lose in the NBA conference finals.
As for the Knicks, they are projected by most to do poorly again despite all the changes made. The team made some pretty bold moves when it came to the coaching staff by hiring Tom Thibodeau as their head coach and Kenny Payne as their assistant head coach, along with Johnnie Bryant, Mike Woodson, Andy Greer, and Dice Yoshimoto.
In the draft, the Knicks were able to make a big move by selecting the star power forward from the University of Dayton, Obi Toppin, with the 8th overall pick. They then went on to select a shooting guard from the University of Kentucky in Immanuel Quickley, while trading University of Minnesota player Daniel Oturu to the Los Angeles Clippers in exchange for a 2023 second round pick. They also signed an undrafted free agent Myles Powell, a shooting guard from Seton Hall University. In free agency, the Knicks signed small forward/shooting guard Alec Burks, power forward/center Nerlens Noel, small forward Theo Pinson, point guard/shooting guard Austin Rivers, and small forward/power forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. They ended up re-signing only point guard Elfred Payton and trading Ed Davis and a second-round pick to the Minnesota Timber Wolves in exchange for Omari Spellman and Jacob Evens.
While the Knicks made many moves this off season, many experts are saying that they are going to finish nearly last in the league. I agree. I have them finishing last in the East, becoming a 15th seed and the most likely candidate for the first overall pick in the 2021 NBA draft.
Overall, this season is going to be a very interesting one. Many games may very well be cancelled due to the Coronavirus, much like we have seen in other sports leagues. Nevertheless, it is sure to be an exciting season for all.
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