Monday, 15 Jul 2024

Which NBA Teams Could Move Up – or Down – Once the 2019-20 Season Resumes?

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Now that the NBA’s 88-game comeback schedule is out, teams are strategizing how to approach the “seeding” portion of the resumed season before the playoffs start. While teams like the Los Angeles Lakers, Milwaukee Bucks, LA Clippers, Toronto Raptors, Denver Nuggets, and Boston Celtics have secure positions due to their performance before the season suspension, they can’t afford to relax.

Every team wants to find their rhythm immediately, especially in an unfamiliar environment like Orlando, where the remainder of the season will take place. However, some teams need to be more vigilant as the pecking order determines their playoff seedings. Let’s take a closer look at what we might expect:

Teams with no time to waste

Denver

The Nuggets are in a good position heading to Orlando but cannot take their final eight games for granted. With Utah, Oklahoma City, and Houston right on their tails, a stumble or two could change their playoff seed dramatically.

Dallas

The Mavericks have performed better than their record suggests, often losing closely-contested games. With a healthier roster and other teams focused on each other, Luka Doncic and his team have an opportunity to make a move up in the standings and potentially avoid a tough first-round matchup against the Clippers.

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Utah

Losing second-leading scorer Bojan Bogdanovic to wrist surgery is a significant setback for the Jazz, who rely on their offensive firepower for a deep playoff run. The chemistry between All-Stars Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert will be crucial from the start.

Tied up

Philadelphia

The Sixers were the most unpredictable team in the league before the shutdown. With a healthy lineup and a chance to start fresh in Orlando, reconciling their chemistry issues is critical for Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons. Additionally, the lack of road games is a positive for Philadelphia, as they struggled on the road before the season pause.

Indiana

The Pacers faced injuries and roster changes throughout the season. Still, they have flown under the radar and now have a chance to prove themselves in Orlando. Overcoming the obstacles, including a head-to-head matchup against the Sixers in their first game, is crucial for the Pacers.

Oklahoma City

Led by Chris Paul, the Thunder surprised many and positioned themselves as contenders for a top-four seed. With so much at stake, expect CP3 to demand the best from his team.

Houston

The Rockets are in a fierce battle in the Western Conference, with motivation running high for both themselves and the Thunder. The shutdown came at the perfect time for Houston, giving them a chance to recuperate.

Look over your shoulder

Brooklyn

Although the Nets will be without stars Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, they are determined to avoid a first-round playoff matchup against Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Bucks. Orlando Magic will be in a similar position, but Brooklyn’s desire to dodge the Bucks is more significant.

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Orlando

The Magic’s coach, Steve Clifford, must be tired of waiting for the influx of teams to his stomping grounds. Their home advantage could slip away if they don’t start well. They face immense pressure to perform under these unique circumstances.

Scrapping and clawing

New Orleans

The conclusion of the regular season grants everyone’s wish: more Zion Williamson. With a playoff spot in sight, a rested and rejuvenated Zion could lead the Pelicans to success. Their remaining schedule in Orlando appears favorable, facing mostly losing teams.

Portland

The Blazers oppose the 22-team comeback format, but they stand to gain the most from the long layoff. With key players returning from injury, Portland could be the most dangerous team in the comeback season.

Memphis

Before the shutdown, the Grizzlies faced the toughest remaining schedule in the league. Holding onto the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference would require fending off challengers from all directions. Now, with the season resuming, their fight becomes even more challenging.

Odds and ends

  • The Lakers face the biggest jump in the quality of opponents they will face. Their schedule became significantly tougher from what it was on March 11. The Heat, Raptors, and Blazers also encountered tougher opposition.

  • The Wizards are the only team with a lower cumulative opponent winning percentage in the bubble than before the shutdown. The Grizzlies, Mavs, and Nets also benefit from a more favorable schedule.

For more information and analysis on the NBA’s resumed season, stay tuned!

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FAQs

Q: Will the NBA season resume in its entirety?
A: As of now, the NBA plans to resume the season and complete the playoffs.

Q: How will teams be affected by playing in an unfamiliar environment like Orlando?
A: Playing without home court advantage will require teams to quickly adapt to the new environment and find their rhythm.

Summary

In the NBA’s 2019-20 season, teams have the opportunity to move up or down in the standings once the season resumes. While some teams have secure playoff positions, they cannot afford to relax. In an unfamiliar environment like Orlando, teams must quickly find their rhythm and adjust to the new circumstances. The article highlights key teams to watch and the challenges they face in the remaining games. With high stakes and intense competition, the resumed season promises excitement for fans. Stay updated for more analysis and news as the season progresses.

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