Every NBA fan regardless of which team they support is currently mourning the loss of basketball. Now, while the NBA does have the potential to finish out their season, currently it is unknown whether it will be possible for them to do so. Commissioner Adam Silver has stated that he is staying optimistic about the Covid-19 situation, and personally I’m crossing my fingers it does return. However, if it’s not possible for the season to continue, here are 5 of the biggest stories I feel we will be missing out on.
Sidenote: One thing not directly discussed in the different points is something that affects every player in the league – age. Missing out on the rest of the season is just one more a player cannot get back. While for a rookie that may make little difference, veterans or even players contemplating retirement have a difficult decision to make about how they want to continue their career.
1 – Luka Doncic’s Incredible Year
Luka Doncic Burst on the scene last year as a rookie averaging 21 points per game (ppg) along with 6 assists and 8 rebounds for a Mavericks team that ended the season second to last in standings. Doncic’s sophomore campaign he got even better averaging nearly 29 ppg and 9 rebounds and 8 assists. The Mavericks record improved tremendously and they currently sit 7th in the Western Conference with a good chance at the playoffs. It has been an incredible year for Luka and I was definitely looking forward to seeing how far he could bring his team this year.
2 – Ja Morant And Zion Williamson Finishing a Breakout Rookie Campaign
Similar to Luka Doncic, it is really enjoyable to see these young talents play a big role for their teams. Zion Williamson missed the first half of the season but after his injury, he began to show why he was the number 1 pick in the draft. In the 19 games he played with the Pelicans this season he topped 30 points 3 times and 20 points on 16 of those occasions. Ja Morant, the 2nd pick in the draft, had big shoes to fill after the Grizzlies let Memphis legend Mike Conley go in free agency. Almost from the jump, he began showing why he’s the favored rookie of the year. Averaging almost 18 ppg and 7 assists, he helped the Grizzlies go from 12 in the conference last year to where they currently sit in 8th. Morant may not be enough to take the grizzlies far in the playoffs but it sure would be fun to see Zion and Ja’s season come to a proper close.
3 – The Battle Of the LA Teams
After the 2019 free agency wrapped up and the NBA schedule was released, the most looked-forward-to game were those between the Los Angeles Clippers and the Los Angeles Lakers. These two all-star studded teams have matched up 3 times this season, with the Clippers winning two of the three (including the first game of the season). However, the Lakers have a better overall record and sit first in the conference while the clippers are right behind in second. They have one more matchup slated if the NBA is able to return this season. With these two being home-town rivals, plus both being close favorites to win the Western Conference title, the highly anticipated ending to this battle will be missed if it doesn’t come to fruition.
4 – James Harden, Russel Westbrook, and the Small-Ball Rockets
One of the more shocking moves this NBA season for me was at the trade deadline. The Rockets traded away starting center Clint Capela AND their backup center Nene and received Forward Robert Covington in return. This comes after the Rockets became the 1st team to win a game without a player above 6’6″ entering the game since 1963. As surprising a move that was, I was excited to see how the Rockets would do without a center. They started hot by defeating the top-ranked Lakers with their small-ball lineup and went 8-2 after that. I was definitely excited to see how the rest of Houston’s season would go and if their small-ball lineup was championship caliber.
5 – The Historic Season for Milwaukee
The Milwaukee Bucks have been one of the most entertaining teams to watch these past two seasons. They started blowing up last year when they had an NBA best record of 60-22. Although the Toronto Raptors edged them out in the Eastern Conference Championship, they came back this year even better and have managed to put up a 53-12 record so far this season. While undoubtedly they can be dominant next season, I was definitely pumped to see the Bucks attempt revenge on the East and see how their dominant season will end.