NBA storylines to follow this season

By Will Pembroke

Where will Ben Simmons end up? Can LeBron James still produce at an elite level in his 19th season? Are the Bulls good again? Will Kyrie Irving get vaccinated? The answers to each of these questions lie ahead.

The Ben Simmons Dilemma 

It is now mid-October,  and we still do not have an answer to the question of where Simmons will play basketball this season. 

The seemingly never-ending saga between the 76ers forward and his team began almost six months ago when Head Coach Doc Rivers hinted in an interview that he does not believe Philadelphia could win a championship with Simmons in the starting rotation. 

Often criticized for his lack of development since entering the league, the LSU product has failed to show any kind of a perimeter offensive game or a willingness to attempt to have one. 

Now entering his sixth season in the NBA, Simmons is averaging a pedestrian 0.1 three-point attempts per game. 

In a league predicated on shooting ability, Simmons has yet to prove he can be a threat from the outside. With four years and nearly $150 million left on his contract, Simmons’ trade value is next to zero. Yet, he has been persistent in expressing his discontent with the 76ers and requesting a trade. 

For the time being, it does not look as though there is a logical landing spot for Simmons, but he is a player to keep an eye on in trade rumors as the season progresses.

 Ben Simmons, 76ers guard, has demanded a trade away from Philadelphia, but the team has been reluctant to move him. Simmons’ situation is one of many storylines to follow during the 2021-22 NBA season, along with LeBron James, the Chicago Bulls and Kyrie Irving.  
The NBA regular season officially began Tuesday night, which means there is a whole schedule of storylines ahead.

The Annual LeBron James Discussion

Season 19 of the James experience has arrived, and along with it comes the annual debate as to whether he will still play at a high level. If Tuesday was any indication of what is to come, the answer to that question is that he is still the king we all know and love. 

James dropped over 30 points against the Golden State Warriors on opening night, showcasing an improved jump shot by nailing a bevy of threes. He is, however, in uncharted territory from a career minute played standpoint and is likely to start showing signs of an aging basketball player in the near future. Regardless of what happens, the fact that James is as good as he is at his age is damn impressive.

Wait, are the Chicago Bulls relevant again? 

Yes! The rather splashy offseason acquisitions of Demar Derozan and Lonzo Ball have put the Windy City back on the map as a relevant NBA franchise. I am pegging Chicago as my sleeper team to compete for a chance at the Eastern Conference bid to the NBA finals.

Will Kyrie Irving do the right thing? 

Probably not. If Irving has proven anything to the basketball world over the past few years, it is that he is more interested in trivial, illogical self-pursuits like joining the anti-vaccination movement than competing for NBA titles. 

I do not see Irving compromising his current stance despite New York City guidelines mandating he must be vaccinated in order to enter his home arena. Whether he gets traded to a city that doesn’t have a mandate or chooses to sit out the season remains to be seen.