22.06.2021 - The 2021 NBA Championship is finally on the Playoff stage, and we have various matches lined up for the weekend. Los Angeles Lakers won the 2020 NBA Champions and were looking forward to defending the title. Last season, the Lakers put forward a strong fight to bring the Larry O'Brien Trophy for the 17th time home.
Lakers won last season after dominating the regular season (52-19) and winning the Western Conference. After that, they needed not more than six games to eliminate any team that stood in their way during the 2020 NBA Playoffs.
The Lakers lost aging but valuable veterans such as Dwight Howard, Rajon Rondo, and Avery Bradley. However, the team got some valuable additions, such as Montrezl Harrell, Wes Mathews, and Marc Gasol. Some of the key players that have been leading the Lakers are LeBron James, Dennis Schroder, and Anthony Davis. However, the Lakers were eliminated from the playoffs after Game 6 loss to Phoenix Suns (100-113)
Which teams are likely to win the championship with defending champions out? We take a look at the current standings and some of the worthy contenders for the championship.
Milwaukee Bucks is a top contender for the championship this season. Giannis Antetokounmpo's contract will expire at the end of the campaign, and the Bucks have one last chance to convince the star to spend longer at the team with a championship. The Bucks have overhauled their roaster after floundering out of the 2020 NBA Playoffs.
Jrue Holiday is one of the crucial additions to the Bucks after they released Eric Bledsoe. Bobby Portis, Torrey Craig, and Bryn Forbes are the players that Manager Jon Horst put forward to surround Antetokounmpo. Some of the key players for the Bucks are Jrue Holiday, Giannis Antetokounmpo, and Khris Middleton.
Philadelphia 76ers was one of the most disappointing 2019-2020 NBA season's teams. However, the underdogs have proven to be worthy contestants in the 2021 NBA Championship and changed the NBA scores and odds. Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons are raw talents that experienced players always surround to balance the Sixers on the pitch.
Even after losing crucial players such as Al Horford, Zhaire Smith, and Josh Richardson, the team has held it head high with additions such as Danny Green, Dwight Howard, and Seth Curry. Some of the key players on the Sixers roaster include Tobias Harris, Joel Embiid, and Ben Simmons.
After knocking out the Los Angeles Lakers in the Playoffs, the Suns are still strong after closing out the Nuggets in a 4-game sweep in the semis. Some of the players that have been pivotal in this championship are Frank Kaminsky, Deandre Ayton, Abdel Nader, and Dario Šarić. In addition, some of the Suns' biggest signings in 2021 have been Torrey Craig, Frank Kaminsky, and Damian Jones.
LA Clippers failed last season even after being even after what looked like a season that was supposed to launch them to basketball relevance. However, the Clippers were knocked on the second round of the NBA Playoffs.
Owner Steve Ballmer and General Manager Michael Winger made some crucial changes to the team, and they released head coach Doc Rivers. Instead, his assistant Tyronn Lue rose to the ranks even though he hadn't made many roaster changes.
The biggest loss to the team was Montrezl Harrell, even though they also acquired a two-way force in Serge Ibaka. Some of the key players on the Clippers roaster are Serge Ibaka, Kawhi Leonard, and Paul George.
Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving barely appeared for the team last season. Irving missed 20 games last season while Durant was out the entire season. Spencer Dinwiddie and Caris LeVert were some of the driving forces to see the Nets in the playoffs last season before the Toronto Raptors swept off them. The team saw off key players such as Garrett Temple and Dzanan Musa but added worthy mentions such as Landry Shamet, Bruce Brown, and Jeff Green.
The Hawks are facing the Philadelphia 76ers in the Eastern Conference. Lou Williams has been a crucial trade for the Hawks and has fixed several issues, such as lack of scoring whenever Trae Young was not on the field. Young and Williams have shown to be a good pair that coach Nate McMillan can rely on.
NBA 2021 Championship is at a crucial stage, and we can only wait and see who will walk home with the trophy. Even though sports are yet to get back to normalcy since the Covid-19 pandemic struck, NBA has adapted in these difficult times.