The 2020/21 NBA season has already started, which means the best hoopers in the world are working their hearts off to win the ultimate prize: The Larry O'Brien Trophy. Sadly, just a handful of them will be able to pull it off.
Needless to say, great talent also comes with great expectations. That's what takes apart the stars from the superstars: Their ability to thrive under pressure and step up when it matters the most.
That's why some of the best players on earth will be under heavy pressure since day one this year, as they'll have to once again silence their haters and prove why they're elite. Today, we'll let you know about the top 5 NBA stars that will be under fire in 2021.
Top 5 NBA Stars Under The Most Pressure In 2021
5. Russell Westbrook
Russell Westbrook has posted numbers no other player in NBA history has been able to do but that hasn't translated in a ring. He's been traded twice in the past two seasons and now has to lead the Washington Wizards to the playoffs for the first time in two years.
Westbrook has been deemed a stat-padder and his haters claim that he doesn't care about winning. The Wizards got off to a rough start and it will be on him and Bradley Beal to silence their critics and protect their legacy.
4. Giannis Antetokounmpo
Giannis Antetokounmpo recently signed the largest contract in NBA history. As such, he'll be demanded and pressured to deliver when it matters the most, especially considering his history of underperforming in the playoffs.
It's NBA Finals or bust for Giannis and the Milwaukee Bucks, regardless of what he says. He's a back-to-back MVP and reigning Defensive Player of the Year but needs to step up in the postseason to be taken seriously as a superstar.
3. LeBron James
LeBron James is coming off winning his fourth NBA Championship, so why should he be under pressure? Well, because he's LeBron James, and he's always measured by a different standard than the rest of the league.
LeBron's haters will always try to find a way to take him down. They've been waiting for father time to catch up with him for years now, and some people actually believe that last season's ring has an asterisk next to it. As per usual, The King will silence them.
2. Kyrie Irving
There's no doubt that Kyrie Irving is one of the most talented scorers in the history of basketball. However, he's gotten a lot of negative attention because of his antics, weird views, and the way he's handled the media and his teammates in the past.
Now, he needs to prove that he can once again embrace playing with another superstar in Kevin Durant. The Brooklyn Nets spent a lot of money on them, and it's time for him to pay back by making another run at the NBA Finals.
1. Stephen Curry
No other NBA superstar will be under more pressure than Stephen Curry this year. The Golden State Warriors will once again be without Klay Thompson and their roster is far from optimal, to say the least.
Curry is fully healthy and there's no room for excuses anymore. He must lead the Dubs to the playoffs if he doesn't want his flawless legacy to take a massive hit. Otherwise, people will start questioning whether he was actually as good as we say he is.