What to watch in the NBA, as training camps are set to open

The primary practices of the season within the NBA are right here, with groups set to hit the ground on Tuesday to formally start preparing for the 2021-22 marketing campaign.

A six-pack of issues to look at as issues get began:

THE CHAMPS

Milwaukee is operating it again.

The Bucks used eight gamers in Sport 6 of the NBA Finals, the title-clincher towards Phoenix, and 7 of them are nonetheless on the roster; the exception is P.J. Tucker, now a part of the Miami Warmth. The Bucks even have seven of their prime eight scorers, by way of whole factors, again from a yr in the past; the exception in that case is Bryn Forbes, who returned to San Antonio.

Plus, Giannis Antetokounmpo performed the sport of his life to complete off that title run, a 50-point, 14-rebound masterpiece — and he isn’t even 27 but. His greatest simply could also be but to come back.

CAMP CENTRAL

San Diego hasn’t technically had an NBA workforce since 1984.

This week, town has three.

The Los Angeles Clippers, Denver Nuggets and Brooklyn Nets are all calling San Diego dwelling this week for coaching camp. They’re all working towards individually, utilizing three completely different amenities. The Nets will play in Los Angeles towards the Lakers on Sunday earlier than returning dwelling, whereas the Nuggets and Clippers will play in Los Angeles on Monday.

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YOUTH IS SERVED

In that case inclined, the Houston Rockets would possibly have the ability to do one thing very uncommon within the preseason.

Begin with a three-guard lineup: Josh Christopher, Jalen Inexperienced and Daishen Nix. Put Usman Garuba at ahead, put Alperen Sengun at middle.

It provides as much as 5 teenagers on the ground.

There aren’t any fewer than 21 teenagers on NBA rosters as coaching camps start Tuesday, together with 5 Rockets and a trio of 18-year-olds — Golden State’s Jonathan Kuminga, Oklahoma Metropolis’s Josh Giddey and San Antonio’s Joshua Primo.

Of these, Kuminga and Giddey will flip 19 earlier than the common season begins. Primo doesn’t flip 19 till Dec. 24. He’ll be 18 years, 300 days outdated when the Spurs open their season Oct. 20 towards Orlando.

Which means he’s in line to grow to be the youngest participant in an NBA recreation in additional than 15 years — Andrew Bynum was 18 years, 191 days outdated when he appeared in a playoff contest for the Los Angeles Lakers towards Phoenix on Might 6, 2006.

There have been 4 18-year-olds to debut within the NBA since Bynum: Dragan Bender, Sekou Doumbouya, Devin Booker and Giannis Antetokounmpo.

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However technically, if Primo debuts earlier than Nov. 17, he’ll be youthful than any of them had been for his or her NBA regular-season video games by a matter of days.

HOW THINGS CHANGE

It hasn’t even been a yr because the 2020 NBA Finals between the Los Angeles Lakers and Miami Warmth — they had been performed in October.

“Looks like three years in the past,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said.

The Lakers used 12 players in that series; of those, only LeBron James and Anthony Davis have remained with the team on an uninterrupted basis. Rajon Rondo and Dwight Howard are back now, after playing elsewhere last season.

The Heat also used 12 players in that series; of those, only Jimmy Butler, Bam Adebayo, Tyler Herro and Duncan Robinson remain in Miami.

It should be noted that in both cases, the Lakers (Talen Horton-Tucker) and the Heat (Udonis Haslem, Gabe Vincent) have had other players remain on the roster since those finals. They just didn’t play in that title series inside the restart bubble at Walt Disney World.

PRESEASON PERSPECTIVE

The games that start Sunday when Brooklyn visits the Los Angeles Lakers mean, and this can’t be stressed enough, absolutely nothing in terms of wins and losses.

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Milwaukee went 0-3 in the preseason last year and won the NBA title. Phoenix went 0-4 in the preseason last year and went to the NBA Finals.

The only team in the last 25 years that had the best record in the preseason and went on to win the NBA crown was Golden State in 2016-17.

FINALLY, HOME

For Raptors fans in Toronto, the wait is nearly over.

The team plays at home next week. Really at home, that is.

For the first time since Feb. 28, 2020, the Raptors will play a game in Toronto when they open their preseason schedule against Philadelphia. Only a handful of players and staff remain from that team, so the Raptors are having camp in Toronto instead of going elsewhere in Canada — as they’ve done often in recent years.

Toronto called Tampa, Florida, home last season because of the pandemic.

“We thought it was really important to re-establish our base here and get everyone familiar with the city,” Raptors general manager Bobby Webster said. “A lot of our players, a lot of our staff, haven’t been here, so we thought that was really important for us to do that.”

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