After a historically short offseason, the NBA is set to kick off the 2020-21 season with a matchup between the Brooklyn Nets and Golden State Warriors. The game will be Kevin Durant’s first as a member of the Nets, so it’s only fitting that the contest comes against his former franchise. The Warriors will be looking to climb back into contention in the Western Conference after a down season due to injury issues, but they will again be without Klay Thompson for the entirety of the 2020-21 campaign due to an Achilles injury.
Both teams will be looking to start off their campaigns with a win, so this game promises to be an exciting one. With that said, here’s everything you need to know about the matchup between the Nets and Warriors.
Viewing informationDate: Tuesday, Dec. 22 | 7 p.m. ETLocation: Barclays Center — Brooklyn, New YorkTV: TNT Odds: Nets -6.5 | Over/Under: N/AStorylines
Nets: In addition to the game between Golden State and Brooklyn being Durant’s debut with the Nets, it will also be the debut of Durant and Kyrie Irving as a duo. Both players signed with Brooklyn as free agents in 2019 but dealt with injury issues throughout last season. Durant missed the entire campaign, while Irving was limited to just 20 games.
On paper, the combination of Durant and Irving projects to be one of the most dynamic duos in the entire league. However, chemistry could be a concern, given Irving’s history. Plus, like we have seen time and again, throwing star players together doesn’t necessarily guarantee success. If it did, the Rockets would have won a title over the past couple of years, and the Clippers wouldn’t have lost in the Western Conference semifinals last season. Only so much can be learned from one game, but it will be great to finally get to see Durant and Irving out on the floor together.
Warriors: It’s a new era for the Warriors, and rookie big man James Wiseman projects to be a big part of that. Wiseman was one of the most highly-hyped prospects heading into the 2020 NBA Draft, and he will get to make his pro debut against the Nets on opening night. The Warriors selected Wiseman with the second overall pick in November’s draft, and he projects to play a role on a Warriors team that will be looking to climb back into contention in the West after a down season due to a multitude of injury issues. It’s not every day that a rookie will have an opportunity to come in and immediately contribute to a contender, but that could very well be the case with Wiseman. Wiseman could play limited minutes early on as he gets acclimated to the NBA, but it will be interesting to get a first look at him in the league nonetheless.
After a year of anticipation, we will finally get to see the debut of Durant and Kyrie Irving as a duo, and it’s safe to say that they will be motivated to put on a show. If the Warriors were at full strength this would be a battle, but not only will they be without Thompson, they always might be without veteran forward Draymond Green, who is dealing with a muscle strain. Without those players available, the Nets should walk away with a win. Pick: Nets (-6.5)