This Might Take Some Getting Used to: The Peculiar Start to the NBA Season

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Luke Lamison

While the NBA season is only about a month in, it has already been a thrilling start. From players emerging as superstars to familiar faces in unfamiliar places, the league has had no shortage of headlines early on. However, as entertaining as the NBA has been, the threat of COVID-19 looms large on the horizon and might just prove fatal to the league’s hopes of a season. 

The most shocking storyline of the NBA season thus far has been the blockbuster James Harden trade, which most notably sent the Rockets star to Brooklyn, Jarrett Allen to Cleveland, Caris Levert to Indiana, and Dante Exum and Victor Oladipo to Houston. Obviously, the big development from this deal is the pairing of James Harden with Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant, establishing what many believe to be the best big three ever. While the Nets lose a plethora of draft picks and two key contributors in Levert and Allen, they receive one of the greatest scorers ever in Harden. One thing is clear: they are going all-in on winning the next few years. If they get a ring, this trade will be seen as successful, but if not, the lack of draft capital and young talent could decimate the franchise for decades to come. 

Another rising story is the emergence of somewhat unknown talents as elite-level contributors, particularly Jerami Grant of the Pistons, Christian Wood of the Rockets, and Julius Randle of the Knicks. Both Grant and Wood relocated this offseason and have made huge strides in the new season, averaging 24.8 and 23.2 points per game, respectively. Randle is putting up great numbers of 22.8 points per game, 10.8 rebounds, and 6.8 assists. All of these players have put themselves in the early running for the Most Improved Player race, and it will be worth monitoring over the course of the year. 

While the NBA appeared to have little issues with COVID-19 initially, the virus has since caused huge problems. Since January, 16 players have tested positive, which has led to the postponement of several games. Additionally, one of the league’s brightest stars, Brooklyn Nets point-guard, Kyrie Irving, was recently photographed at a maskless birthday party. While the bubble proved to be a huge success in stopping the spread of the virus, the NBA has struggled immensely containing COVID-19 early on this season. It isn’t clear yet what the future holds, but players like Irving breaking safety protocols is the last thing the NBA needs.