The NBA season is approaching, fans are ready to see the aftermath of the most exciting offseason in recent years. Players are putting on new jerseys and seeing new teammates. Being an athlete, you are under a microscope, all your moves are watched, and your performance matters. If players cannot perform, then they will receive the criticism and players have to be ready for that especially if you are labeled a star.
A new NBA season brings more pressure for certain players storylines to play a factor into expectation on performance. Here are five NBA players that will face the most pressure in the 2019-2020 season.
5. Ben Simmons
The one concern for Ben Simmons coming into next season is his shooting ability. Simmons also signed a 5 year $170 million contract with the Sixers this summer. Although he is only 22 and still developing, Simmons is on a top-caliber team in the eastern conference, and the addition of an outside game can elevate the Sixers possible title contender. Simmons playmaking ability for a player his size is a scary thought, but if he develops an outside game, the offense will flow better. Simmons averaged 16.9 points, 8.8 rebounds and .7.7 assists per game. If the Sixers have the same problem closing out games, then there could be some talks of building around Joel Embiid.
4. Russell Westbrook
The former MVP was traded to the Houston Rockets for Chris Paul, and draft picks during the offseason. This elevates Houston to be a legitimate threat in the western conference, but if things do not go as planned, more fingers will point to Westbrook. Westbrook coming off another triple-double season averaging 22 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists per game. The concern with Westbrook comes from performance in the playoffs, the last three seasons the Thunder were bounced in the first round. It also said that you cannot build around Westbrook he had Kevin Durant and Paul George and still could not win. The situation is different now you have James Harden if Westbrook cannot win with Harden then he will receive criticism.
3. Anthony Davis
The former number one pick got traded to the Los Angeles Lakers for Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart, and several first-round picks. The Anthony Davis trade saga was said to stir up drama in the organization after attempts to trade for him during the trade deadline. Anthony Davis made his request to leave the team very public and was even fined. Davis last season averaged 25 points and 12 rebounds per game. The pressure he faces will be staying healthy and performing like an MVP caliber player. Playing with LeBron James will elevate his game and put him in situations he has not really been in.
2. Zion Williamson
It seems unfair to put a guy who has not even play a regular-season game yet. That is the thing he has not performed a game, however but has received so much hype. Zion Williamson has had the spotlight on him since he was in high school. People compared him to LeBron James; the hype around him is vast. Concerns come that Williamson is too heavy and that his recent knee issues come from his weight. Williamson weighs 284 pounds but has a freakish vertical ability. Willamson played nine minutes in a summer league game before sitting the rest of the game with a knee injury. All eyes will be on Williamson and how his career will play out.
1. LeBron James
LeBron James, 34, is one of those players that age well. At his age, he is still putting up incredible numbers and showing dominance in the sport. James has always been criticized and has always been under a microscope. LeBron signed with the Los Angeles Lakers in 2018. Last year did not go as planned for the Lakers as they missed the playoffs, had drama in the organization and Lebron missed 27 games with a groin injury. People were concerned that age is catching up to James after the injury. Them missing the playoffs ended James streak of 13 straight years in the playoffs. LeBron will be under the most pressure this year of all the drama in the second half of the season.