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Zion, Nash, Davis: Seven players, coaches who enter NBA season under pressure PBT Podcast: Golden State Warriors season preview Khris Middleton says he will miss start of season following wrist surgery Westbrook says he’s ‘all-in on whatever it takes for this team to win’ Suns, Crowder agree he will sit out training camp while they seek a trade

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Every season in the NBA comes with pressure—the drive to win, the pressure of fan emotions and expectations, and the pressure on the players that this is their livelihood. There is real pressure to stay in the NBA and earn that solid salary.

But some players and managers enter this season under more pressure than others.

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Here are seven players and managers who are under extra pressure this season.

Anthony Davis

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“This won’t work without AD. No disrespect to Bron, no disrespect to Russ. They will be who they are… but AD, having AD…. it will be priceless. He’s the centerpiece of the championship table we’re trying to build.”

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It was the new coach of the Lakers. Darwin Ham talking about Anthony Davis – the linchpin of everything Ham hopes to do in Los Angeles. As he said LeBron James there will be LeBron (read: elite, even at 37), and Russell Westbrook there will be Russell Westbrook (he says the right things, but…), but if the Lakers are going to pose any threat in the West, then Davis will start. Ham needs a Davis from the bubble — a healthy, elite defender, playmaker, solid mid-range jump shot — because he plans to run the attack through AD.

It’s not just this season that the Lakers have to come to a decision: Is Davis the #1 option they can hand over the franchise to after LeBron leaves? Can he physically bear this burden and not break down? Davis may be one of the game’s elites, but is he ready to carry the Lakers’ franchise? Their future direction depends on this answer.

Zion Williamson

Acquisition CJ McCollum Last season helped rally the Pelicans. They made it to the playoffs with McCollum’s hard core Brandon Ingram, Herbert JonesJonas Valansiunas, Larry Nance, Devonte Graham and others. Looking at New Orleans, you involuntarily think: “If Zion Williamson were healthy…”

Now we have to find out. Williamson is reportedly in the best shape of his life (take note of all the offseason prep comments) and is poised to resume his role as the No. 1 attacking option and arguably the top inside scorer in the game. Salary pressure is off Williamson – he got the maximum extension – but the pressure to live up to that is just beginning.

Steve Nash

When your star player says “he or I” in the offseason – even if that ultimatum is cancelled – you enter the season under a microscope. Nash would take a close look even if Kevin Duran didn’t drag his name into his off-season drama—there are a lot of front office people in the league who aren’t convinced Nash is up to the task in Brooklyn. There’s a lot of pressure on this team to get it right – to avoid a crisis – and if things go wrong in Brooklyn, Nash will be the downfall. His seat is already warm.

Kyrie Irving

While we’re in Brooklyn… Ben Simmons is the logical first name that comes to mind when you think of players under pressure from the Nets, and with good reason. We haven’t seen him on the NBA court in over a year, and his play and fitness are critical to the Nets’ hopes of fighting. But there is another player who is facing real contract pressure in Brooklyn.

This summer, Kyrie Irving wanted a trade from Brooklyn, the Nets said, “Come on, find him,” and Irving found that his market wasn’t as deep and strong as he expected (the Lakers were interested, and he was reportedly interested in them). , but any exchange would involve Russell Westbrook and become too complex). Irving is now on a year-long contract and is under pressure to remind everyone that when he is focused and committed, he becomes an NBA point guard and a game-changer. But will he stay focused and focused this season?

Tom Thibodeau

Nix President Leon Rose came out this week in a softball-filled interview on MSG Network and cheered for his coach. When asked if Thibodeau was under pressure, Rose replied: “I don’t think so. I say this: we continue to carry out the plan. Things didn’t go according to plan with the Knicks last season. Although Thibodeau is not to blame for all this – he did not cause Julius RandleShooting regression – if things go slowly again after you spend money on Jalen Brunson this summer someone will have to pay the price. Thibodeau’s work may not be as reliable as Rose tries to portray.

James Harden

James Harden is set to have a monstrous regular season. He was asked to be more of a playmaker, to pass the ball to an MVP candidate. Joel Embiidput Tyrese Maxi as well as Tobias Harris in positions to thrive, and score some points there. Harden could be ready for the NBA-level regular season and then playoffs. That’s where the pressure is. Harden’s long history of weaknesses in the playoffs (including a few flat games against the Heat last year) will be under the microscope this season because Daryl Morey has put together a team of solid role players — that team is good enough. Harden (and Embiid) will have to prove that he can also be an elite player in the postseason.

Kawhi Leonard

Steve Ballmer paid a huge… well, it’s small money for him, but it’s still a huge amount of money to turn the Clippers from a league laughingstock into a respected franchise (sorry, those are real Lakers fans). These Clippers are rivals. But this fight for the title falls on the shoulders of Kawhi Leonard. He needs to be healthy and play like the guy who helped the Raptors win the title. If Leonard and Paul George healthy and playing like all NBA players, in the postseason the Clippers are a serious threat – two-sided wingers win a series of playoffs, and the Clippers will have two of them. Leonard (and Paul) just have to be that guy.

The Golden State Warriors will enter the season with the era’s fourth banner and hand out championship rings, but this team has more questions than most returning champions.

Otto Porter as well as Gary Payton II gone and their minutes will go to the young core – Jordan Pool, Moses Moody, Jonathan Cuminga, James Wiseman who will be asked to carry the larger load. Especially during the regular season.

Dalton Johnson of NBC Sports Bay Area joins NBC Sports’ Kurt Helin on the Warriors’ upcoming season, what to expect, and whether the young core can take the older veterans into the playoffs rested and ready to defend their title. There’s also talk of what’s next for Golden State as there’s a tough contract choice coming up over the next few years.

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When Chris Middleton He went under the knife for the first time this summer to fix a problem with his left wrist and expected to be back in time for the start of the season.

At the Bucks’ media day on Sunday, Middleton said he was not going to score the first goal but should return early in the season, according to ESPN’s Jamal Collier.


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