As the NBA restart inches closer for its July 31st start in Orlando, Florida, the excitement over the playoffs and crowning a new NBA champion is slowly starting to build as teams make their way into the bubble. While Lebron James and Kawhi Leonard are headlining the premiere Western matchup between the two Los Angeles teams, there are a number of other teams that are built to win in the next few seasons when the torch is passed and the new NBA generation begins to take over the league. Check out lines.com to get your fill of NBA news before the season starts!
Giannis Antetokounmpo was, and still may be, set to win his second straight NBA MVP award before the Covid-19 pandemic derailed the regular season back in March. If, after 2021, Giannis stays with the Bucks, he is the ultimate cornerstone to build that franchise around. The Bucks arguably didn’t have any other superstars and still went 53-12 in the regular season, good for the best record in the NBA. Kris Middleton and Eric Bledose are fine secondary pieces, but if the Bucks can truly start to develop a young core around Giannis, the sky may be the limit for this franchise. With LeBron out of the East for the foreseeable future, Giannis is the clear best player in the conference now and the Bucks would have a window to win several NBA championships over the next decade if Giannis decides to re-sign in Milwaukee.
The New Orleans Pelicans are on this list, frankly to nobody’s surprise. Last season, the Pelicans decided to finally trade their disgruntled superstar Anthony Davis to the Los Angeles Lakers for a huge stockpile of talent coming back the other way. Lonzo Ball and Brandon Ingram were the center pieces of the deal, that also included Josh Hart and some draft picks. The Pelicans also won the draft lottery, landing them Zion Williamson in the process. The core of this young Pelicans team is deep and versatile, with Jrue Holiday most likely on his way out in the next couple of seasons, Nickeil Alexander-Walker should be a prime candidate to take over at one of the two starting guard positions. The cousin of Oklahoma City Thunder guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Nickeil showed flashes of dominance in the NBA Summer league, as well as in college for Virginia Tech. He is a deadly three-point shooter and just like Shai, he is fully able to stuff the stat sheet so the Pelicans could have a perennial all star in the young Canadian guard. Youth is the essence here and in the next five seasons, the Pelicans should be competing for Western Conference Championships.
The Atlanta Hawks had another disappointing season by any measure. Point guard Trae Young will always be compared to Dallas star Luka Doncic, as the two picks were swapped at the 2018 NBA Draft by Atlanta and Dallas. While Doncic has his Mavericks in the playoffs, the Hawks have sputtered with Young as their leader, but help is definitely on its way. Power forward John Collins really came into his own this season, developing a three-point shot while dominating the glass. The Hawks have an abundance of young talent at the wings with Kevin Huerter, De’Andre Hunter, and Cam Reddish all making impacts in their first couple seasons in the NBA. The Hawks also acquired Clint Capela from the Rockets at this year’s trade deadline, locking in a solid rim protector which should in theory keep Collins out of the paint and help avoid injuries which have plagued him so far in his young career. The Hawks have a bright future with the way they have rebuilt their franchise, and could be challenging the Bucks in the Eastern Conference before long.