Who could possibly imagine that the NBA season 2020 will be so dramatic and so unusual!?
But the COVID-19 situation in the world forced NBA and sports in general to a new shape but the old form. There were all kinds of questions about the procedure, league end, and schedule. But we all know the severity and the market value of a corporation such as the NBA, so they did it and here you will able to read how and what to expect in the NBA finals.
The preliminaries are over and the real thing already started! In the preliminaries, we saw a few, things and a lot of experimentation. Malone’s starting five in the first game was extremely interesting with Jokić as a playmaker, and most teams rested their main stars, so rarely did anyone play more than 20 minutes of play. The new situation will surely give us a certain dose of tension in the League.
Teams have released rosters, 350 players have registered and there is no way out of Orlando for them. Sweet Lou has demonstrated what will happen if the rules are broken, so he will now spend 10 days in quarantine for a trip to a strip club.
As everyone has almost equal chances, they could have one of the most interesting playoffs in the last few years. The fight for the playoffs will be interesting, especially in the West. Five teams have settled in 6 wins difference and theoretically with 22 games by the end of the season, all 5 have a chance of a playoff. The East is more or less settled, the Wizards are 6 games behind Magic, which will be difficult to reach.
Before we jump on the league favorites for the NBA ring, let’s talk about NBA Playoff candidates and their chances.
The Memphis Grizzlies have the best position in the West. Unexpected, but totally deserved. The Bears are playing great basketball, led by Morant who has already become an elite guard in his rookie season. Rebuilding in Elvis’ city lasted much less than expected, apart from Morant, Jaren Jackson Jr. has a great season. This duo will be a real danger in the coming seasons. The rest of the team fit in great, Brooks, Valančiunas, and Clarke are a great help to the leading duo, and finally, we saw signs of life from Josh Jackson. Their schedule until the end was supposed to be the hardest, will they manage to keep the 3-game advantage?
Portland Trail Blazers
The only team that was against voting for the proposal to continue the League. Still, their suggestion was to play two games less than suggested, so they are ready to continue as well. We have the opportunity to see Jusuf Nurkić on the floor. He recovered completely during this break, and the Blazers ’medical team will assess how much will Nurk be able to play. Lillard said a few days ago that it makes no sense for him to return to the floor, but the playoffs are a realistic goal for them, and with Nurk returned, they could totally turn this disappointing season.
New Orleans Pelicans
Rookie sensation Zion Williamson finally played his first NBA minutes and he was great. Zion started to justify the “hype” after only a few games and delivered great numbers, especially in the second month when he recorded 25.7 points, 6.2 rebounds, and 2.6 assists on average. Ingram has finally started to play at a higher level. He is playing the best season in his career and he is one of the main MIP candidates. They caught the momentum before the League was called off, followed by the easiest schedule of all the teams fighting for the playoffs. The change in the schedule will certainly be no but the Pelicans are still a serious candidate for the playoffs and Zion for the rookie of the year.
Walton has no way of catching all the strings on the King’s Bench. He experimented a lot during the season, and most of the experiments didn’t go well. The Kings had too many “black holes” during the season, which was evident in their score as well. Bjelica and Bogdan have very good seasons, and they are one of the most consistent in the Kings team, along with Fox. Bagley got injured again, he played just 13 games and the season is probably over for him. Divac still has a lot of work to do to stabilize the Kings to become a stable playoff team again.
Eight teams ended their season that way. They have no more chance of a playoff so their participation would be an unnecessary risk. They can turn to the next season which by all rumors should start around Christmas.
Now let’s jump to the real deal here, potential NBA Championship winners.
For a long time, there were no more expectations, excitement, and speculation before the restart of an NBA season. Central events are taking place in the West which will be the scene of a battle between the Los Angeles Clippers, and the Lakers.
Lakers vs Clippers Rivalry
The Clippers became the main favorites to win the crown after bringing in Paul George and Kawhi Leonard. The Clippers have Montrezl Harrell under the basket, while Beverley, Shammet, and Lou Williams pose an additional threat from the three-point line.
Their rivals in the Lakers jersey are favorites right next to them, led by the duo of Lebron James – Anthony Davis, and reinforced with reborn Dwight Howard, Avery Bradley, Danny Green, J.R. Smith and younger brother Anteteukoumpo. In the first part of the season, the Lakers looked like a Dream Team at times, but there are still a few dice left to match. Anthony Davis must stay healthy, Lebron will often play in the position of a playmaker, and Kuzma must realize that he is not Kobe Bryant. Nor he will be.
A possible surprise comes to us in the form of a team from Denver. Last season Denver Nuggets had the best year of the last 15 seasons, led by Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray. According to NBA coaches, Jokić is currently the best center in the NBA, and Michael Porter Jr. is back. Porter missed the entire last season due to injury, and this year he is expected to make a big contribution to the Nuggets game as well as the fight for the rookie title of the year. It should also be pointed out that this year they picked up Bol Bol in the draft, the son of Manute Bol, from whom huge development and progress are still expected. Jokic said that lately, he has been preparing by watching Pokemon.
The Denver Nuggets entered the continuation of the League “crippled” by injuries. The first guard pair Murray – Harris is out of the roster, there is no Barton also. Three players from the top five. Only Millsap and Jokic remained. Their places were taken by Morris, Craig, and the young Porter Jr.
Apart from Porter, the main and responsible person is none other than Nikola Jokić. In the new, lighter edition, Jokić continued to dominate. He was masterful against the Spurs, he scored three three-pointers in a row in the third quarter and broke the match, and delighted Popović. “I have never seen anything like it. He goes out and scores threes, he is dominant under the basket, and he is probably the best tall passer in the League. Jokic is the reincarnation of Bird and Moses Malone “.
When it comes to teams from the East, the competition is stronger, although the East is not as exciting or “tense” as the West. The 76ers brought in Al Horford, and Ben Simmons finally learned how to shoot the ball and even sometimes score a three-pointer, Embiid lost some weight and it seems this team could go far in the East. They could go far if they stay healthy.
The Milwaukee Bucks are emerging as one of the favorites to conquer the East and the league, With last year’s MVP Giannis Antetokoumpo and his teammates, it’s going to be interesting to see how they will handle this specific situation. The Lopez brothers are here, Wesley Matthews, Frank Mason III, Middleton, and the Bucks can threaten many in the East.
Just like the Boston Celtics with one big BUT. Irving left, and Kemba Walker took his place. They also have the main “acquisition” of this year’s draft, the tallest player in the entire NBA league, and they have also been strengthened with Enes Kanter under the basket. We can’t afford to forget Jayson Tatum and Gordon Hayward, players with high ability and points in their hands.
When it comes to odds for the winner of the NBA for this season, it’s close between LA Lakers. Bucks (+270) and Clippers (+333). The highest odds for winning goes to the Lakers at +210.
But at the end of the day, odds do not have to mean anything. One shoot can decide the winner, the moment of inspiration.
Who will be the league’s champion?
If I really had to choose, I like to do it, because, like I said it can be one shoot or a mistake, it was seen last year, but if I have to choose, then I think the finals will be the Lakers against the Bucks. And I think the Lakers will win.
The Lakers are very good… Their talent is indisputable. They have LeBron and Davis and they can cover the majority of positions. With that kind of player you have almost everything, you need to win. These are two players who are among the best in their position.