The 2020-21 NBA season is getting off to a later start this season due to the coronavirus pandemic. However, the first matchup of the campaign will take place on Tuesday as the Golden State Warriors visit the Brooklyn Nets (7 p.m. ET on TNT).
Brooklyn’s Kevin Durant will be the main attraction for this game. Durant has played in the preseason this year, but this will be his first official game since Game 5 of the 2019 NBA Finals. Ironically, the team he was playing for at the time was his opponent in this game: the Warriors.
The Nets have built a roster that is stacked with talented players, especially on the offensive end. Meanwhile, the Warriors have a solid roster of their own. They have superstar Stephen Curry at point guard and a solid collection of role players, bolstered by new additions Kelly Oubre Jr. and No. 2 overall draft pick James Wiseman.
Will Durant burn his former team? Or will the Warriors show him that he should’ve never left the Bay Area? Let’s discuss a few key questions that will determine this contest’s outcome as part of this preview and our Warriors vs Nets predictions for USA Betting.
Will James Wiseman Look Like a Rookie Playing in His First NBA Game?
Wiseman, the No. 2 overall pick in November’s rookie draft, missed much of training camp and did not play in any of the Warriors’ three preseason games due to testing positive for COVID-19. This is not ideal, because Wiseman was already considered a raw prospect, and the Warriors are a team that plans to make the playoffs. The 19-year-old center isn’t one of those usual high draft-pick rookies who can immediately take on a high-usage role on a team that faces no pressure to win right away.
The 7’1” Memphis product is athletic and reasonably skilled, but he has some weaknesses, especially defensively. He has shown a tendency in his past performances to bite on pump fakes, chasing blocked shots rather than playing sound defense. He is not super strong physically and his fundamentals when he has to defend on the perimeter are not great.
Wiseman’s first NBA contest on Tuesday evening will not be an easy matchup, as he’s facing a vaunted Nets offense and a strong Brooklyn big man duo in Jarrett Allen and DeAndre Jordan. Will he show himself to be ready for the moment or will he look very much like a wide-eyed rookie who has a lot to learn about playing NBA basketball?
Can Brooklyn Keep the Ball Hopping on Offense?
The Nets have the most talented collection of perimeter offensive players in the NBA. Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, Caris LeVert, Spencer Dinwiddie and Joe Harris all cause problems for opponents with their respective skill sets. However, all of them except for Harris like to use a lot of touches and create a lot of their own offense for themselves.
If Brooklyn has trouble with its new roster this season, part of the reason will probably be due to a lack of chemistry on offense. It is not easy to construct an offense that maximizes two offensive superstars as well as three other high-end offensive players.
The Nets are playing against a Warriors team that could be weaker defensively with Klay Thompson and Draymond Green both out for the contest. If the Nets are able to move the ball quickly between their talented players, the Warriors will have trouble keeping up.
Will Andrew Wiggins Remained Locked In on Defense?
Wiggins has had a very interesting NBA career. The No. 1 overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft has averaged 19.7 points per game in his six seasons. However, most people still consider him a bust, as he’s won a whopping one playoff game in his career and doesn’t provide much besides volume scoring on mediocre efficiency.
For the Warriors in the preseason, Wiggins has shown himself to be a more well-rounded weapon. His defense has been a pleasant surprise, given that his impact on that end has always fallen well short of his tremendous athleticism. We’ve seen stretches of motivated defense from the athletic wing, but he’s shown poor awareness far too often.
Wiggins needs to show that this defensive surge is for real. The Warriors don’t have a bona fide wing stopper with Klay Thompson on the shelf for the season, so it would be a godsend if Wiggins can admirably step into that role.
Our Betting Preview’s Golden State Warriors at Brooklyn Nets Predictions & Picks Recommendations
I think both teams will need some time at the beginning of the season to build chemistry, but the difference is that the Nets’ roster for Tuesday had the entire training camp to get used to playing with each other. Meanwhile, the Warriors were without Wiseman for most of training camp and now they’ll have to fill Draymond Green’s spot because of his recent foot injury.
I see Brooklyn’s offensive firepower blowing this game wide open against a Golden State defense that is undermanned. Golden State does have the talent to keep things respectable with Stephen Curry and other solid options but, for the Golden State vs Brooklyn prediction for this preview, this should ultimately be a Brooklyn win by at least 10 points. So the selections look like this:
- The Nets are favored in this matchup by 7 or 7.5 points with most betting outlets. Your smartest decision here is to take the Nets -7pts @ -115 with BetOnline.
- Because both teams in this contest are more offensively focused and Brooklyn should get off to an early lead, this could turn into a more free-flowing game with lots of quick shots on both sides of the court. Put money on the over 228pts @ -110 with Bovada or Bookmaker.
Jared is a lifelong sports fan and writer whose specialist subject is NBA. A 2015 graduate of Indiana Wesleyan University, with a bachelor’s degree in journalism, Jared has been a sought-after freelance sports writer. In addition to his valuable USA Betting contributions, he has also written for other top media outlets.