By: Kevin Sinatra
June 9, 2020
With the NBA officially set to make its return of the 2019-2020 season, here is a look at teams that will most benefit from this pandemic and time off.
As we all have heard, the NBA season is officially set to return July 31st. However, it will look a little different than we’re all used to. First off, instead of 32 teams, the NBA will only resume with 22 teams (13 West, 9 East), all of which will reside and play in Orlando, Florida, at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. With this 22-team continuation, each team will play 8 regular season games to determine the seeding for a complete 16-team playoff bracket. The seeding will then be set 1-16, determined by overall record, and not by conference. The NBA Finals is set to end no later than October 12th.
The 22 teams invited back for the return of the season are: Boston Celtics, Brooklyn Nets, Dallas Mavericks, Denver Nuggets, Houston Rockets, Indiana Pacers, LA Clippers, LA Lakers, Memphis Grizzlies, Miami Heat, Milwaukee Bucks, New Orleans Pelicans, Oklahoma City Thunder, Orlando Magic, Philadelphia 76ers, Phoenix Suns, Portland Trail Blazers, Sacramento Kings, San Antonio Spurs, Toronto Raptors, Washington Wizards, and Utah Jazz.
Now the question is, which teams have benefited the most from this pandemic and which teams will be effected the most?
Some teams that will be somewhat negatively affected by this time off are the young teams that were hot going into the pandemic. Teams like the Celtics, Grizzlies, Kings, Pacers, Magic will I think will be the most negatively affected. Although many people may think, being young would be an advantage at a time like this. It’s actually quite the opposite. With the last 2-3 months off, every team old, young, or in between are all on the same level now. The older, veteran guys have gotten time to rest. The injured have gotten time to heal up in hopes of a late season comeback. For these young teams that were already healthy, they’re not really benefiting from this as much as other teams.
However, teams such as the Lakers, Clippers, Bucks, 76ers, Blazers, OKC, Mavericks and New Orleans can really benefit from this time off, which can make a serious impact on potential playoff runs. Think about this. Last year was the first time Lebron had missed the playoffs in 18 years, therefore, he got an extra two months off (explaining his incredible play this season.) Now he has just gotten 2-3 more months off right before the playoffs?! Not to mention this time gave guys like AD, Danny Green, Dwight Howard, Avery Bradley and Rajon Rondo time to rest and get their bodies prepared for the playoffs. Even the Lakers’ next door neighbors, the Clippers, will benefit substantially.
With Kawhi being known for “load management”, and Paul George’s injury history, with these two months off, the duo has been able to get themselves healthy and in shape to make a serious playoff run. A team like the Bucks will benefit because they’re heavily reliant on one guy, Giannis Antetokounmpo. This time off allows him to rest his body and prepare for the heavy load he will carry throughout the rest of the season and the playoffs. Other teams such as Dallas, Portland, OKC, Philly, and New Orleans will also benefit because they were able to also get their players some rest and prepare them for the return. Guys like Zion, Cp3, Embiid, Ben Simmons, Nurkic, Porzingis, and others who are crucial parts of their teams were all abe to not only physically prepare themselves for the playoffs, but mentally prepare themselves as well.
It will definitely be interesting to see how this time off will affect every team in different ways. I think the Clippers and Lakers have definitely benefited the most from the time-off and fully expect one, if not both of them, to appear in this year’s NBA Finals.
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