Don’t pop the bubble! The 2019-2020 NBA season will conclude after all. For those of you who have had other more pressing things to pay attention to these past few months, maybe you’ve missed it. But they have announced and begun the process of restarting the 2019-2020 NBA season in the hopes of completion this time. If all goes as planned there will be a post-season playoff system culminating in a finals match-up and subsequently, a champion.
This whole thing has been meticulously thought out and prepared for. The NBA commissioner, Adam Silver, has also made it abundantly clear that they are not going to shut it all down again for a few positive tests.
It’s all going down in Orlando where all the teams will be playing in the same area. Everybody will be quarantined the entire time. And there will be numerous tests being administered to each and every player including all of the team’s personnel throughout the entire thing. If someone leaves the bubble without prior approval, they’ll be faced with a 14 day quarantine upon return and they’ll have to show 2 negative tests in a row before they can return to action.
Additionally each NBA player will have the option to opt-out of the bubble and will not be penalized for doing so. Some players have already come out and said they will not be joining their team in Orlando. Some of those include, DeAndre Jordan, Bradley Beal, Spencer Dinwiddie, Victor Oladipo, and even Kyrie Irving. With a multitude of reasons for them and others sitting out it’s going to make this NBA restart bubble very interesting.
It’s worth noting that not all teams are allowed back to this season restart. The Atlanta Hawks, Charlotte Hornets, Cleveland Cavaliers, Detroit Pistons, Golden State Warriors, Chicago Bulls, Minnesota Timberwolves and New York Knicks are those deemed with too many losses to warrant them coming back for a chance at this NBA post-season. The rest of the teams will follow a normal playoff seeding and 7 game series-system that has been in place in the past.
For those who are invited back (the rest of the league not named above), the training camp is starting July 9th with the first games coming on July 30th. Here are some quick games to be on the look-out for when this whole thing gets back up and going again.
July 30th – This one’s got 2 great games for this restart, other than being the first pro basketball games we’ll see in months.
The first game, Utah Jazz – New Orleans Pelicans has a litany of interesting story-lines. For one, the Pelicans contain arguably the most exciting rookie since Lebron James in Zion Williamson. He’s only 19 games into his career but some execs thought it was enough to stick him on the cover of the next NBA2k video game. And on the other end you’ve got a Jazz team that could be dealing with chemistry issues. One of their star players, Rudy Gobert, made some ill-advised actions while taking questions about the coronavirus before it got really bad here.
And the second game is LA versus LA, Clips – Lakers. Both have very realistic title aspirations on the line and both are lead by dynamic duos. Lakers are on Lebron’s redemption tour with his new running-mate in Anthony Davis. Meanwhile the Clippers are trying to pull off the completion of one of their best offseason’s ever when they acquired last year’s Finals MVP – Kawhi Leonard and traded for Paul George. This should be entertaining.
July 31st – Boston Celtics – Milwaukee Bucks
It will be intriguing to see how the reigning MVP, Giannis Antetokounmpo, fares after all this time off from basketball. Also this could easily be a potential future eastern conference finals match-up later on this summer as well.
August 8th – Milwaukee Bucks – Dallas Mavericks
The prime-time game that night. Luka vs Giannis should be interesting, they play very different styles of the game but both are incredibly enticing to watch. Plus the Mavericks should be in the playoffs (but more on that later) and have an outside shot at surprising some people with a run this year. This could be a very telling game for either side.
August 11th – Houston Rockets – San Antonio Spurs
Another good one, the Spurs could have a shot to play spoiler in this game if the Rockets need it for seeding purposes. Or they could be fighting for one of the lower playoff spots as well and might actually need the game. Either way this bodes well for the viewers.
August 12th – Toronto Raptors – Philadelphia 76ers
A rematch from last year’s Eastern Conference finals. There could be some bad blood leftover for this one although the Raptors lacking Kawhi Leonard seem destined to fall at the hands of the young upstart sixers this time. But they did still look formidable without him, for now…
Western Conference Playoffs – I don’t see much changing in the standings from where they are now, the teams that have to win to get in are the Pelicans, Trail Blazers, Mavericks and Grizzlies. Mavericks already have 40 wins so it would take a drastic collapse for them to miss it. I think they stay in the 7 spot and the Grizzlies hang onto that 8th seed they’re currently in. Trail Blazers and Pelicans just barely miss it this year, fueling aspirations for the next.
Eastern Conference Playoffs – This one is a little more interesting. Top 6 teams have clinched playoffs, similar to the West. Nets and Magic are in the 7 and 8 seeds respectively, but the Nets are going to return with about only half of their original roster. Here’s the kicker though, there’s only 1 team below them that could usurp their spot, the Wizards. The 7 game gap might be too much to make up in the little games left so I do not see it happening. The Magic only sit a half game behind so I think they move into the 7 seed and the Nets hold onto the 8th rounding out the East.
Eastern Conference champion – Milwaukee Bucks
-The Bucks make their first finals appearance in almost 50 years.
Western Conference champion – Los Angeles Lakers
-Going to be difficult for anybody to deny Lebron’s revenge tour, so I don’t see anybody doing it. This year the King returns to the finals.
NBA Champion – Los Angeles Lakers
Finals MVP – Anthony Davis
-Lebron gets his 4th title and Anthony Davis blossoms into an unstoppable playoff/finals star this summer.