The National Basketball Association, NBA, returned in this season to their regular calendar. The games started on October 19th. The season is just beginning, the teams have played at least twenty games. But we can already notice some highlights and surprises from the 2021/2022 edition.
In the last year, the competition was paralyzed due to the restrictions of Covid-19. But, in season 2021/22, everything returned to normal. After the reduction of the last year, 82 matches will be played. The final match is predicted for April 10th.
This season is special for the NBA, because it marks the 75 years of the league. So, 75 games will count with special attractions, like idols of the sports, big names and artists. All of this just to celebrate the date.
Just three teams have played all NBA´s editions: New York Knicks, Boston Celtics and Golden State Warriors. All of these teams will face off in three games in five days, with broadcast across all The United States from December 14th-18th.
Now the teams are still playing in the phases called “conferences” and “divisions”. In that part of the competition, all the teams are divided according to their hometowns. There are 30 teams, divided into east and west conferences. This part serves to define sixteen teams, eight of each conference, that will get the classification for the playoffs.
The bests teams until now
There are some teams that are standing out, like the Washington Wizards, Chicago Bulls, Golden State Warriors, Brooklyn Nets and Phoenix Suns.
With the exception of the Phoenix Suns, last season’s runners-up, and the Brooklyn Nets, that nearly reached the eastern conference final, the other teams are a surprise. Golden State and Chicago. Neither made it to the playoffs. Washington got a play-in rating, but was voted out in the first confrontation.
The Chicago Bulls went through changes. DeMar DeRozan, Lonzo Ball, Alex Caruso were joined by Zach Levine. While the Washington Wizards traded Los Angeles Lakers Russell Westbrook for Kyle Kuzma, Montrezl Harrell and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope.
The Golden State Warriors did not undergo major changes, nor did they bring a flashy reinforcement. But experienced duo Stephen Curry and Draymond Green are getting along better than ever. Jordan Poole and Andrew Wiggins are also standing out on the team. The Warriors are still awaiting the return of Klay Thompson, who will likely return in the second kill of December, and James Wisemen, who is also expected to return soon. Both were injured.
Some teams haven’t met expectations yet
The last winner, the Milwaukee Bucks are not so good at this first step. The Atlanta Hawks also got off to a timid start, having played in a conference final last year.
Los Angeles is unstable, having unexpected losses. The trio Lebron James, Russell Westbrook and Anthony Davis have not yet achieved the expected performance.
Covid-19: almost surpassed, but vaccination causes controversy
This new season marks the return of the public to arenas across the US. The Toronto Raptors, the only Canadian team, returns home after a year of playing games in Florida because of corona’s limitations.
Talking about COVID-19 and all protocols, just 5% of players didn’t accept to get vaccinated. If they insist on the decision, they will face a lot of restrictions such as wearing masks in the games, keeping the distance in the travelings and having constant tests, as well, long quarantines.
Names like Bradley Beal (Washington Wizards) and Kyrie Irving (Brooklyn Nets). Under threat of losing games and salary, some players gave in and immunized themselves, this is the case of Andrew Wiggins.
If Irving keeps insisting on not getting the vaccine, he won’t play any games this season. The only exception might be the All-Star Game in Cleveland. Like New York, the city of the Nets, it does not allow unvaccinated players to play at home or train indoors. Under these circumstances, the team decided that Kyrie would be better off not playing any games.
The controversial play-in is back
Speaking of highlights: the play-ins. The dispute between the teams that ranked 7th, 8th, 9th and 10th to decide the last two teams to be in the playoffs will continue this season.
Despite always generating controversy for being considered unfair by many players. On the other hand, play-in tends to be electrifying and has amazing games where teams have to seek a playoff ranking in one or two games at most.
Last season, for example, Lebron James said that whoever invented play-in should be fired from the league. After the player’s declaration, the Lakers ended up having to play in the play-in against Golden State, but managed to qualify in a game with a tight score
The dispute for the MVP
So far some names already stand out in the fight to be MVP, who leads the race for now are Sthephen Curry and Kevin Durant. But other players are also in the fray like Nikola Jokic (Denver nuggets), Giannis Antetokounmpo (Milwaukee Bucks), Jimmy Butler (Miami Heat) and Chris Paul (Phoenix Suns).