By: Louis Areniello
May 11, 2020
Time off in sports is a weird thing. For some teams time off means a break from a bad run or recovery from a stretch of injuries. On the other hand time off can be an absolute momentum killer for those teams that were just finding their groove in the season. We are almost two months removed from the last NBA that was played and the big question as we get closer to a return is, How will this time off affect the NBA contenders?
The way I look at it, the team that will benefit the most from this layoff has to be the Los Angeles Clippers. The Clippers are experts in “load management” but as the season progressed we saw their injuries add up which affected their overall chemistry. Rest for Paul George and Kawhi Leonard was exactly what the Clippers needed during the final stretch of the season. Teams such as the Pacers and Mavericks both will benefit greatly from this layoff. Both teams are in the middle of their conference playoff standings and have stars who need recovery time in Oladipo and Doncic. Toronto getting healthy and already positioned at two in the standings could be set to explode the last few games of the season as well.
The other side of the coin are teams that were hot already or looking to get hot but were halted by the layoff. The Houston Rockets were starting to gain momentum after going with a full small ball five but that was pre-layoff. When the NBA returns other teams will have healthy big men who will be ready for the Rockets small lineup. I believe this struggle will continue into the playoffs for Houston as well. All the drama that has gone on in Utah, with Gobert and Mitchell, will have a negative impact on the team as a whole. This extended time off has done nothing but let this issue linger around in the Jazz locker room that will bleed into the rest of the season. Finally, the team I think could suffer a lot from this layoff is the Philadelphia 76ers. I know the Sixers were already struggling before the break so you may think it could help them. Here is why you would be wrong, Philly’s issues are all based on trust and lack of on court compatibility. No amount of time will fix that.
We are all praying that this layoff will be over very soon, but we also hope it has a positive affect on our teams. No matter how long it takes we are all itching to hear that Spalding hit the hardwood. We will see in due time what affect, if any at all this layoff will have on the NBA contenders.