Top 10 NBA Teams of 2021 Rankings
Ranking the best basketball teams of the 2020 - 2021 NBA Season
The 2020-2021 NBA Season has been in the rear view mirror since the final whistle of the 2021 NBA Finals. A finals in which may have surprised many as many experts and sports fans had put high expectations on the Los Angeles Lakers and the Brooklyn Nets. However, after failing to produce in the years prior the Milwaukee Bucks didn’t disappoint taking home the NBA Championship with a 4-2 series win over the Phoenix Suns.
Along with the Lakers, Nets, Bucks and Suns, the 2020-2021 NBA Schedule produced a ton of talented players to watch along with a solid group of teams that were some of the best within the game of basketball. As many might debate who should be the number one NBA team, it is hard to look past the NBA Champions. With that said, here is our list of the Top 10 NBA Teams of 2021.
Portland Trail Blazers & New York Knicks
Just missing the cut were the Portland Trail Blazers and New York Knicks. The Trail Blazers have one of the best one two punches of all the guards within the NBA with Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum. Meanwhile the Knicks made their first playoff appearance since 2013 while seeing a strong development of Julius Randle who they signed as a free agent and young shooting guard RJ Barrett.
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Top 10 NBA Teams of 2021
Golden State Warriors
One team that is always near the Top 10 teams in the NBA is the Golden State Warriors and despite missing out on the NBA Playoffs the team found a way to make it into the NBA play round of games. The Warriors were led by Steph Curry and Draymond Green after losing Klay Thompson before the season for the entire 2020-21 NBA schedule.
In addition to losing Thompson, both Curry and Green appeared in just 63 games but still managed to put together a 39-33 overall record. In those games Curry averaged 32 points a game to go with 5.5 rebounds and 5.8 assists. In addition the team had solid play from Andrew Wiggins (18.6 ppg) while Kelly Oubre Jr (15.4 ppg), Jordan Poole (12 ppg) and James Wiseman (11.5 ppg) all averaged double figures. A fully healthy Curry and the Warriors would have been within the playoffs.
One team that continues to develop and has the potential to a top tier team within the Western Conference is the Dallas Mavericks. The Mavericks are led by All-Star Luka Doncic who continues to develop into one of the games top young stars. Doncic led the team in points (27.7), rebounds (8) and assists (8.6) per contest while showcasing his ability to post triple doubles almost at will.
In addition to Doncic, Kristaps Porzingis when healthy is another dynamic weapon to help lead the Mavericks. In addition to Porzingis, the team includes Tim Hardaway Jr, Jalen Brunson and Josh Richardson.
Los Angeles Clippers
After losing Doc Rivers many question marks were present for the team and many wondered how the Los Angeles Clippers would perform. Nonetheless the playoff appearances kept coming as the Clippers would finish with the fourth best record within the Western Conference (47-25). The Clippers are led by All-Stars Kawhi Leonard and Paul George while having additional role players such as Reggie Jackson, Lou Williams and Serge Ibaka over the course of the season.
However, despite the deep team the Clippers failed to reach the NBA Finals after another disappointing NBA Playoff departure. Leonard and George combined to average 48.1 pints a game as well 13.1 rebounds and 10.4 assists.
Any time you have the NBA’s MVP locking down your roster it makes you a contender and a Top Ten NBA Team. This is the case with the Denver Nuggets as Nikola Jokic continues to develop into one of the most all around big men in all of the NBA. Jokic would lead the team in points scored (26.4 ppg), rebounds (10.8 rpg) and assists (8.3 apg).
The team also featured the talented Jamal Murray at the point guard position before losing him to a season ending knee injury that would shut him down for the remainder of the year including the playoffs. Along with Murray and Jokic the team also included Michael Porter Jr who is slowly developing into a great all round player. The Nuggets would finish the regular season with a 47-25 overall record, eliminate the Portland Trail Blazers in six games to open up the playoffs before being swept by the Phoenix Suns.
The Utah Jazz might be the best team in the Western Conference but they are one team that gets overlooked due to the lack of the big name stars. However the Jazz were a well-balanced team that finished with the best record in the NBA at 52-20. The offense was controlled through veteran point guard Mike Conley while Donovan Mitchell averaged 26.4 points during the regular season.
Other assets included one if not the best defensive player in all of basketball Rudy Goebert while additional role players Bojan Bogdanovic and Joe Ingles provided the team with a scoring threat and additional key role players. Despite the strong success during the regular season the team was able to cruise past the Memphis Grizzlies in the first round of the playoffs before getting derailed by the Los Angeles Clippers in six games.
After years and years of rebuilding the Philadelphia 76ers are now a staple of the Eastern Conference and the success of the NBA. The Sixers had one of the deeper starting squads in the NBA and a very talented bench to help them take home the best record in the NBA Eastern Conference (49-23). The team’s success is anchored around NBA All-Star Joel Embiid who averaged 28.5 points and 10.6 rebounds per game. Along with Embiid, the 76ers featured two other stars in Tobias Harris and Ben Simmons.
However, Simmons struggled at times averaging just 14.3 points to go along with 7.2 rebounds and 6.9 assists while also appearing to clash with teammates including Emiid. Nonetheless the 76ers won four of five to open the playoffs eliminating the Washington Wizards in five games to land a spot in the Conference Semifinals. Unfortunately the Atlanta Hawks were too much eliminating the 76ers in Game 7 of the NBA Playoffs.
Los Angeles Lakers
The reigning NBA Champions the Los Angeles Lakers were as good as any team in the NBA but injuries slowed them down during both the regular season as well as the playoffs. Leading the Lakers was the four time NBA MVP and NBA Finals MVP LeBron James. James continued to play strong, averaging 25 points with seven rebounds and 7.7 assists; however, the King appeared in just 36 games during the regular season.
Meanwhile Anthony Davis struggled to stay healthy appearing in just 36 regular season games before missing time during the playoffs. Davis averaged 21.8 points and 7.9 rebounds during the regular season. The Lakers were also able to add Andre Drummond to the stretch while acquiring Dennis Schroder prior to the start of the season. Other key players included Alex Caruso, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Montrezl Harrell and Talent Horton-Tucker.
On paper there might not have been another team in the NBA as loaded as the Brooklyn Nets from top to bottom including both Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving as the season approached. Despite the talent, the team acquired MVP candidate James Harden to give the Nets the best three man tandem in all of the NBA. With those three along with the likes of Joe Harris, Jeff Green, Landry Shamet and Blake Griffin who signed with the team in March of 2021 to provide depth.
The Nets would roll to a 48-24 record and sit second within the NBA Eastern Conference landing them with a first round matchup against the Boston Celtics. A series the Nets would win in five games to set up a Conference Semifinal showdown with the Bucks would be too much.
When looking at the number two spot, the reigns could go to a number of solid teams around the NBA but it is hard to look past the success the Phoenix Suns had during the 2020-21 NBA Season. Led by future NBA Hall of Famer Chris Paul and proven scorer Devin Booker, the Suns finished the regular season just behind the Utah Jazz within the Western Conference with a 51-21 record. The Suns were as well balanced as any team in the league with a stronger leader at the point guard position with Paul. Paul helped facilitate the offense both during the season and as well as within the playoffs while averaging 16.4 points a game to go with 8.4 assists.
In addition to Paul the team was led by leading scorer Booker who averaged 25.6 points a game to go along with 4.2 rebounds and 4.3 per contest. Other key performers included Deandre Ayton, Mikal Bridges, Jae Crowder, Dario Saric, Cameron Payne, Cameron Johnson and Frank Kaminsky. The depth from top to the bottom allowed the Suns to make a deep run and come up just short of taking home the NBA Championship.
Heading into the 2020-2021 NBA Season the Milwaukee Bucks might have been overlooked after dominating the prior seasons and failing to live up to the hype during the NBA Playoffs. That all changed during the NBA Playoffs, as the Bucks did not disappoint, running through a talented NBA Eastern Conference clashing with a loaded Phoenix Suns team. However, despite winning the Championship the Bucks finished the regular season with the seventh best record in the NBA at 46-26 and third best in the Eastern Conference.
In the end, the Bucks solid tandem of Jrue Holiday and Kris Middleton to go along with the former NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo was just too much and too strong. During the regular season Antetokounmpo averaged 28.1 points a game to go with 11 rebounds and 5.9 assists while Middleton and Holiday combined to average 38.1 points a game, 10.5 rebounds and 11.5 assists. In addition to that group the Bucks had four other players who averaged double digit points during the season including Brook Lopez (12.3 ppg), Bobby Portis (11.4 ppg), Donte Divencenzo (10.4 ppg) and Bryn Forbes (10.0 ppg). The Bucks versatility and depth had them as the Top 10 NBA Team of 2021.
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