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Who to watch in the NBA this 2021-22 season

If you’re not marked 19 October down in your calendar yet, you need to do so because it’s when the regular season in the NBA starts. Can the Milwaukee Bucks defend their title successfully? The Clippers, the Lakers, the 76-ers, the Knicks, and a host of other teams will be doing their best to shatter that aspiration. 

If you’re a fan of NBA betting as much as of basketball, you’ll be keeping your eye on the players that could help carry their team to the championship and you to win some money if you back their team. Below is a look at some of the players that could have a big impact on their team’s performance in the 2021-22 season. I also strongly suggest you follow one of the best sportsbooks for betting in the game.

LeBron James

LeBron James, who many consider the greatest basketballer of all time, will play his 19th season in the NBA and serve the LA Lakers, hoping to take them to their second title in three seasons. There’s talk James could break the all-time points record of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. He’s just 3,020 points behind Jabbar’s 38,387 all-time points record, but he’s not likely to smash the record this season.

James was playing out of his skin last season, but then an injury put him out of the game for several weeks. When he did return, he returned to a very high level… one that few players, if any, can match. The arrival of Russell Westbrook to the team will ease some of the pressure on him for creative play. Not that James minds a bit of pressure, as the world knows from that game-winning three-pointer versus the Warriors

Russell Westbrook

Russell Westbrook joins the Lakers with a heavy burden of expectation upon him, one up to which it isn’t certain he’ll live. The Lakers are his fourth team in as many seasons. The chemistry between him and Kevin Durant or Paul George at Oklahoma City, James Arden at the Rockets, or Bradley Beal at the Wizards just hasn’t been there. The Lakers are hoping bringing Westbrook to his home team to work with James will be the right matchup. 

Westbrook will also be working with Anthony Davis. The incorporation of Westbrook to work alongside both James and Davis will be the chance for him to really raise his game. The inability to gel with the big names in other teams could all change this season.

 

Westbrook is a productive point guard and can handle high-paced games, himself being a high-place player. He’s good at getting up to the rim for layups and at pushing the ball up the court on the break, and he can out-rebound taller players. 

One thing the Lakers will have to watch out for is that he’s prone to turnovers, which is one of the risks of his high-usage style. His shooting also lets him down. His free-throw shooting makes him something of a risky option in the final few minutes of a game. They may work on these aspects with him.

RJ Barret

Knicks man RJ Barret will be playing his third season with the team — it could be his breakthrough season. In the first two seasons, his stats have improved, and he’s shown much greater overall awareness. His physical build lends versatility to his game, he has an excellent basketball IQ, and, importantly, he has the mentality of a winner. That last asset shines through in his defensive game, as he makes multiple defensive plays.

RJ Barrett can not only handle the pace of the NBA, but he also looks to push it. He’s a real grab-and-go player who, when he catches a rebound, will tear up the court and put pressure on the opponents. However, he struggles to get past defenders to the rim sometimes, because of his uprightness, and, despite his versatility, he relies a lot on his left hand to control the ball, which can make him predictable and hamper his scoring ability. Greater ambidexterity would serve him well.

Giannis Antetokounmpo

LeBron James is renowned for his intense training, but if there’s one player who trains as ferociously as LeBron, it’s Giannis Antetokounmpo. He takes his training so seriously that he’s said to have refused to participate in friendly workouts with other superstar players.

After last season, the Milwaukee Bucks won’t begrudge the two-time league MVP that. Antetokounmpo won his first NBA title with the team in July 2021 and had been dominant in the players, showing the rest of the players how it’s done at both ends of the court. He has the game of a point guard, but he can line up as a point forward, and the scary thing for other teams is that he’s still developing physically. His penetrating style of play makes it important for him to build more muscle mass. 

This is a player who wants to be great — and he can be great. He just needs to control his intensity a little, as it can lead him to draw unwanted fouls. A little work on his shooting game would be good, too, as he’s inconsistent in that department. 

The NBA regular season is almost here and promises to generate as much excitement as it ever did. Fans will be watching to see if players such as AJ Barret make 2021-22 their breakthrough season, if the James-Davis-Westbrook and other combos reap their team rewards and if major stars can keep delivering. It’s going to be an interesting season.

 

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