NBA 2021 Season Preview

Story posted October 19, 2021 in

The NBA season begins Tuesday night with the Milwaukee Bucks and the Brooklyn Nets tipping off, followed by the Golden State Warriors and Los Angeles Lakers. As the season approaches, let's take a look at some of the biggest storylines to follow.

Ben Simmons in Philadelphia

Ben Simmons’ postseason performance last season was the headline going into the offseason. The top-seeded 76ers were eliminated in the Eastern Conference Semifinals by the fifth-seeded Atlanta Hawks. After firing Brett Brown in favor of Doc Rivers last offseason, many wondered who would be on the move this offseason.

From the start of the offseason, it was rumoured that the 76ers were looking to move Simmons. The asking price was reportedly very high and no one would meet it.

In August, after rumors had settled down, Simmons and his agent officially requested a trade. As general manager Daryl Morey struggled to find a suitor, Simmons’ camp said that he would not return to Philly. But with nowhere to go but Philadelphia, Simmons agreed to come back and see if he could help the 76ers and his trade value.

Kyrie Irving

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues on, many places have vaccine mandates in place to try to stop the spread - one being New York City. It had originally seemed like Kyrie Irving would be able to play during away games, but now it is likely he will not play at all. The organization announced that it would not let Irving participate this season unless he gets vaccinated.

The Nets looked like a lock to get through the East last season after the acquisition of James Harden. After injuries to all three superstars derailed their chances in the playoffs, it looked like they would be able to get through the East as long as they could stay healthy this season. With Irving out, it will be up to Durant and Harden to carry the load.

Golden State is healthy

The last time we saw the Golden State Warriors at full health was in Game 5 of the 2019 NBA Finals. Kevin Durant tore his achilles in that game and Klay Thompson tore his ACL in Game 6, before the Warriors lost to the Toronto Raptors. Both were ruled out for the 2019-2020 season, and Durant left for Brooklyn that offseason.

Steph Curry missed most of that season with a wrist injury, Draymond Green did not play the full season, and the team secured the second overall pick in the draft, which they used on James Wiseman.

As Thompson was training for the 2020-2021 NBA season, he tore his achilles which forced him to miss his second straight season. The Warriors traded for Andrew Wiggins to try and fill the void, but they struggled and despite making the play-in tournament, they failed to make the playoffs.

This year, the Warriors will be healthy once again. All eyes will be on Steve Kerr’s team to see if they will once again be title contenders.

Fans are officially back

Many teams did not have the ability to host fans last season, and if they did, it came in a reduced capacity.

It took until the playoffs to see Madison Square Garden filled with Knicks fans who were enjoying their first glimpses of success in years. Even though Trae Young played the villain in that series, it was a great scene and a look ahead to this season.

At this moment, it looks like all arenas will have fans back for the start of the season. Though each city has different vaccine mandates, every arena will have fans for the first time since March of 2020. Players will look to once again feed off the energy of the fanbase and it will be a great scene across the NBA.

Justin Ciavolella is a first-year student majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email