The NBA is back! If you’re like me, then NBA League Pass and watching basketball is an enormous part of your life. With the season starting tonight, we’ll be ranking every NBA team on watchability in the 2020-21 season.
30. Cleveland Cavaliers
Cleveland used the fifth pick in the draft to take Isaac Okoro out of Auburn. Darius Garland is due to take a step forward in year two. However, LeBron isn’t coming back, and there isn’t much reason to watch the Cavaliers unless they are playing your favorite team this season.
29. Detroit Pistons
After trading Andre Drummond, the Pistons have committed to a rebuild that will begin this season. Killian Hayes and Saddiq Bey are exciting rookies. Blake Griffin and Jerami Grant will provide occasional highlights, but overall not much reason to watch Detroit in 2020-21.
28. Orlando Magic
Who doesn’t love watching Nikola Vucevic? With due respect to the fact they’ve made the playoffs in back-to-back seasons, there isn’t much to watch in Orlando. Arguably their most exciting player, Jonathan Isaac, is out for the year with a torn ACL. Chuma Okeke and Cole Anthony are semi-intriguing rookies, but Orlando won’t be a very entertaining squad.
27. San Antonio Spurs
Unless prime Tim Duncan and Tony Parker come back through that gym, there isn’t much reason to watch the Spurs this year. DeMar DeRozan and LaMarcus Aldridge are aging veterans who likely aren’t enough to bring San Antonio to the playoffs. Devin Vassell is intriguing, and Dejounte Murray is a MIP candidate, but there isn’t much to watch on this team.
26. Sacramento Kings
De’Aaron Fox is an athletic freak and certainly someone to watch. However, the rest of the team doesn’t provide much excitement for a team that will likely miss the playoffs once again. It will be interesting to see what rookie, Tyrese Haliburton’s, role looks like in 2020-21 as well.
25. New York Knicks
The Knicks are hoping to finally get over the hump after hiring Leon Rose as President of Basketball Operations and Tom Thibodeau as Head Coach. RJ Barrett should improve in year two, while Obi Toppin and Immanuel Quickley are intriguing rookies. However, the Knicks are still a few years from being playoff hopefuls.
24. Chicago Bulls
As long as he doesn’t get traded, Zach Lavine is the primary motivation to watch Chicago Bulls basketball. Coby White is an intriguing 20-year-old who is due to improve in year two. It will be interesting to see what the role for the fourth overall pick, Patrick Williams, looks like. However, Chicago likely won’t be a playoff team this season.
23. Oklahoma City Thunder
The Thunder are headed for a full-blown rebuild; as a team made up almost entirely of young players, they bring some excitement. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is a stud and has a chance to make an all-star team in 2020-21. Young guys Darius Bazley, Hamidou Diallo, and Luguentz Dort should all improve, while Aleksej Pokusevski is an intriguing rookie.
22. Indiana Pacers
While the Pacers on paper have a playoff roster, they come in at 22 due to their lack of star power and young talent. When was the last time you turned on your TV and said, “I really want to watch Domantas Sabonis and TJ Warren!” You likely haven’t. Victor Oladipo is finally fully healthy, and Indiana has a solid team, but they aren’t necessarily watchable.
21. Washington Wizards
A team that was at the bottom of being watchable last season, Washington brings some upside for 2020-21. Love him or hate him, Russell Westbrook is exciting to watch, and it will be interesting to see how he does in Washington. Deni Avdija is an intriguing rookie as the eighth pick as well. Not to mention Bradley Beal put up over 30.0 points per game last year, while Davis Bertans had a breakout campaign.
20. Houston Rockets
As long as the Rockets have James Harden, there will be a reason to turn them on. However, it seems increasingly likely that Harden will get traded, killing the mojo of this team. It will be interesting to see if John Wall and Demarcus Cousins can regain their all-star form. However, this is the least watchable Rockets’ team that fans have seen during the James Harden Houston era.
19. Minnesota Timberwolves
For some reason, Anthony Edwards hasn’t been attracting many headlines as the first overall pick. However, it will be interesting to see how he pans out at the NBA level. Karl-Anthony Towns and D’Angelo Russell are an exciting young duo, and Minnesota may surprise some people out of the West this season.
18. Charlotte Hornets
The Charlotte Hornets are watchable for the first time in a while, and it’s due entirely to LaMelo Ball. Again, regardless of how you feel about him, Ball attracts many headlines and highlight videos. As the third pick, who has been under a microscope since his high school days, it will be exciting to see how LaMelo’s game translates to the NBA level.
17. Toronto Raptors
The Raptors are still title contenders but don’t bring the same excitement that many other teams do. Kyle Lowry and Pascal Siakam are all-star level players but aren’t necessarily guys that will show up on a highlight reel. OG Anunoby and Fred VanVleet are both MIP candidates to watch for this season as well.
16. Memphis Grizzlies
For the first time in a few years, the Memphis Grizzlies are watchable due to Ja Morant. Morant is a walking highlight reel due to his insane dunks and vertical at age 21. Jaren Jackson Jr. has shown a ton of potential through two NBA seasons. It will undoubtedly be interesting to see if the duo can lead Memphis back to the playoffs in 2020-21.
15. Utah Jazz
Donovan Mitchell is exceptionally intriguing to watch, and Rudy Gobert remains arguably the NBA’s best defender. However, this Utah squad doesn’t bring the same pop it has in years past in a smaller market. As a neutral fan, if you’re turning on Jazz basketball, you’re doing so to watch Donovan Mitchell.
14. Portland Trail Blazers
As long as Damian Lillard is in Portland, there’s going to be a reason to turn on Trail Blazers basketball. The team should be better this year with Jusuf Nurkic back from injury. Not to mention Carmelo Anthony is still there. The Trail Blazers likely won’t be championship contenders, but they are still an exciting squad.
13. Phoenix Suns
After trading for Chris Paul, the Phoenix Suns come into the season with playoff hopes for the first time in a while. Devin Booker established himself as a star in the bubble, despite falling short of making the playoffs. Deandre Ayton and Mikal Bridges provide a ton of upside as young players as well.
12. Denver Nuggets
Being in a smaller market, the Nuggets haven’t been garnering a ton of hype coming into this season. However, they have a ton to offer to the viewer. Nikola Jokic is the best center in the NBA, and Jamal Murray has rapidly improved the past two seasons. Not to mention Michael Porter Jr. is super intriguing as an MIP candidate at age 22. The team also has 7’2″ Bol Bol off the bench.
11. Atlanta Hawks
While the Hawks are a fringe playoff team, they have a ton of young talent. Trae Young is a walking highlight reel who can pull up from the logo. John Collins will average a double-double and provide several alley-oops. Not to mention the team brought in reinforcements in Clint Capela, Bogdan Bogdanovic, and Danilo Gallinari. Atlanta isn’t a title contender, but they will be fascinating to watch in 2020-21.
10. Philadelphia 76ers
The Sixers aren’t viewed as top contenders like they were last season, but they are still exciting to watch. Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons are a dynamic duo as long as they can stay healthy. Young players Shake Milton, Matisse Thybulle, and rookie Tyrese Maxey should be fun to watch as well. With Al Horford gone, the 76ers should have a lot more consistency in 2020-21.
9. Miami Heat
Coming off their NBA Finals appearance, the Miami Heat are going to be very fun to watch. Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo do everything well and are both top 15 NBA players. Tyler Herro became an instant fan favorite after he broke out in the playoffs last season. Kendrick Nunn and Duncan Robinson are intriguing young players to watch as well.
8. Golden State Warriors
While the Warriors aren’t top contenders with Klay Thompson out, GSW is still going to be fun to watch as long as Stephen Curry stays healthy. Along with Curry and Draymond Green, it will be interesting to see what James Wiseman brings to the table. Wiseman was the second pick in the draft and projects to be the Warriors’ center of the future.
7. Dallas Mavericks
Luka Doncic is a stud and the current favorite to win MVP in 2020-21. At age 21, he looks like he could be the future best player in the NBA and is extremely fun to watch. Pretty much any time Doncic steps on the court, the Mavericks are must watch. Not to mention, Kristaps Porzingis is exciting due to his ability to create shots at a 7’3″ frame.
6. New Orleans Pelicans
As one of the youngest teams in the NBA, the Pelicans are among the most exciting groups to watch for this season. While they aren’t a lock to make the playoffs, their amount of young talent is hugely intriguing. Most notably, Zion Williamson has an extremely high ceiling, and the league has branded him as the future face of the NBA. Brandon Ingram and Lonzo Ball each improved significantly last season as well. Not to mention, veterans JJ Redick and Steven Adams are fun to watch.
5. Los Angeles Clippers
The Clippers were disappointing last season but are still championship contenders coming into 2020-21. With Ty Lue as their coach, it will be exciting to see if this team has better chemistry. Kawhi Leonard is one of the NBA’s best players, while Paul George looks to return to all-star form. The team made two key additions in Serge Ibaka and Luke Kennard in the offseason as well.
4. Boston Celtics
The Boston Celtics have one of the most exciting young players in Jayson Tatum. Jaylen Brown has gotten better every year and has all-star potential as well. Marcus Smart is one of the best hustle players in the league and always stands out on film. Not to mention Kemba Walker will likely return sometime in January. With their young core, the Celtics will be contenders to come out of the East this season.
3. Milwaukee Bucks
After getting upset by Miami in round two last year, Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Bucks are going to come out with a vengeance this season. The Greek Freak is one of the most exciting players to watch in the NBA, and the Bucks should win a ton of games in 2020-21. Not to mention, Jrue Holiday is a great addition, and Donte DiVincenzo is an MIP candidate for this team.
2. Brooklyn Nets
Led by the returns of Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, the Brooklyn Nets have arguably the most talented team for this season. The bigger question is, how will this team fit together with several prominent personalities? Regardless, they are going to be extremely exciting to watch any time they are on TV. Outside their two all-stars, Caris LeVert, Spencer Dinwiddie, Joe Harris, and Jarrett Allen are very exciting to watch as well.
1. Los Angeles Lakers
Showtime is back in LA! The Lakers remain the most watchable team in the league this season, coming off their NBA championship win. Even at age 36, LeBron James is the best player in the NBA and has barely lost a step. Anthony Davis is the best big man in the league and an MVP candidate as well. This team has a league-leading 23 national TV games of the games that have been announced, and it’s well deserved.
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