2020-21 NBA preview: Not this king’s last dance by a long shot
LeBron James, the greatest player in the world, will go for ring No. 5 this season, but what about the Bulls, the rookie class and the coaches who should be renting rather than buying?
Finally, some light.
A thorough housecleaning at 15 S. Wood St. the last seven months made it possible. The malodorous swamp at the Advocate Center had to be drained once and for all.
Longtime Bulls general manager Gar Forman? Gone. Jim Boylen and most of his coaching staff? Fired. The joke of a one-person developmental staff? Replaced with five people now running that department.
Executive vice president of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas is calling all the shots now.
And there is hope for the Bulls.
Just not this season.
The Bulls made major changes in the front office and coaching staff, but the roster was locked in. Besides the additions of rookie forward Patrick Williams and free-agent guard Garrett Temple, the band is all back. It’s a collective that seemingly underachieved with 22 wins last season with a core group that has only seen the postseason on TV.
Don’t expect that to change.
This season is about development and evaluation, with Karnisovas, new coach Billy Donovan and general manager Marc Eversley deciding which pieces they want to keep and who becomes a possible trade asset. Memo to Bulls players: Rent, don’t buy.
As far as the big picture in the NBA, it’s still: You come at the king, you best not miss.
LeBron James and the Lakers are poised for back-to-back titles as James continues to cement his standing as the best all-around talent to ever play the game.
PREDICTED ORDER OF THE NBA BOTTOM
5. New York Knicks
4. Charlotte Hornets
3. Minnesota Timberwolves
2. Cleveland Cavaliers
1. Oklahoma City Thunder
PREDICTED ORDER FOR THE EASTERN CONFERENCE REGULAR SEASON
1. Milwaukee Bucks
2. Philadelphia 76ers
3. Miami Heat
4. Brooklyn Nets
5. Boston Celtics
6. Toronto Raptors
7. Indiana Pacers
8. Washington Wizards
EASTERN CONFERENCE FINALS
Heat over Bucks in six.
ALL-EASTERN CONFERENCE FIRST TEAM
G – Bradley Beal - WAS
G – Jimmy Butler - MIA
F – Kevin Durant – BRK
F – Giannis Antetokounmpo – MIL
C – Joel Embiid – PHI
ALL-EASTERN CONFERENCE SECOND TEAM
G – Ben Simmons – PHI
G – Russell Westbrook - WAS
F – Jayson Tatum – BOS
F – Bam Adebayo – MIA
C – Nikola Vucevic - ORL
EASTERN CONFERENCE HONORS
MVP – Giannis Antetokounmpo – MIL
MOST IMPROVED PLAYER OF THE YEAR – Jaylen Brown – BOS
ROOKIE OF THE YEAR – Isaac Okoro – CLE
COACH OF THE YEAR – Doc Rivers – PHI
COACH ON THE HOT SEAT – Scott Brooks – WAS
MOST UNDERRATED PLAYER – Malcolm Brogdon – IND
MOST OVERRATED PLAYER – Kyrie Irving – BRK
BIG-NAME TRADE CANDIDATE – Zach LaVine – BULLS
PREDICTED ORDER FOR THE WESTERN CONFERENCE REGULAR SEASON
1. Los Angeles Lakers
2. Denver Nuggets
3. Los Angeles Clippers
4. Portland Trail Blazers
5. Golden State Warriors
6. Utah Jazz
7. Dallas Mavericks
8. Houston Rockets
WESTERN CONFERENCE FINALS
Lakers over Nuggets in six.
Lakers over Heat in seven.
ALL-WESTERN CONFERENCE FIRST TEAM
G – Luka Doncic – DAL
G – James Harden – HOU
F – LeBron James – LAL
F – Kawhi Leonard – LAC
C – Anthony Davis – LAL
ALL-WESTERN CONFERENCE SECOND TEAM
G – Damian Lillard – POR
G – Steph Curry – GS
F – Zion Williamson – NOR
F – Paul George – LAC
C – Nikola Jokic – DEN
WESTERN CONFERENCE HONORS
MVP – LeBron James – LAL
MOST IMPROVED PLAYER OF THE YEAR – John Wall – HOU
ROOKIE OF THE YEAR – James Wiseman – GS
COACH OF THE YEAR – Frank Vogel – LAL
COACH ON THE HOT SEAT – Ryan Saunders – MIN
MOST UNDERRATED PLAYER – Chris Paul – PHX
MOST OVERRATED PLAYER – Karl-Anthony Towns – MIN
BIG-NAME TRADE CANDIDATE – James Harden – HOU