The Coronavirus has rocked the sports world and it was inconceivable for anyone to believe that March 11 would be the last time we witnessed a live NBA game. Now that hoops is returning at Disney with a revamped playoff format we can more seriously take a look at the top NBA Championship contenders entering the tournament.
The 22 top teams in the league at the time of the suspension will play eight additional regular season games to set the dramatic playoff seeding, and 16 of those squads will then play in a conventional postseason tournament.
So everything is official. The basketball junkies and dedicated gamblers are looking at a July rebirth. There are no odds for games yet because the schedule has not been set, but once that’s out, SBD’s NBA odds page will automatically update and weekly lines will be available.
For now, let’s take a look at the current top teams.
Top 3 Seeds/Favorites Entering 2020 Restart
- Milwaukee Bucks (53-12) — It’s still basically Giannis Antetokounmpo or bust for this squad, who still might not have enough to defeat the loaded Lakers and Clippers teams. Greek Freak missed the final two games entering the suspension of play with a joint capsule sprain in his left knee. It’s mandatory that he be 100 percent healthy if the Bucks are going to have any chance of winning a Walt Disney Bubble ring.
Some critics have complained that the older NBA players may not be in shape once the season restarts. On the contrary. The best thing to happen to the Lakers was for the NBA season to shorten. The older heads got an opportunity to rest their bodies for four months, midseason. They should have fresh legs and be ready to go. It’s all about whether or not James and Davis can rise to the moment.
3. LA Clippers — (44-20) — The Clippers were just finding a groove, going 7-2 before play was shut down. The Clippers have their own contenders for best 1-2 punch in the league. With Kawhi Leonard and Paul George on the floor together (plus-11.6 net rating in 760 minutes), LA is almost impossible to outgun. Kawhi can snatch another ring if Paul shows up in big spots and Doc Rivers performs surgery in the playoffs.
Life Inside The Bubble:
There are a litany of rules and safety regulations the NBA has put in place that players must follow. Health officials have said it’s almost inevitable there will be COVID-19 cases. In fact, the University of Texas football team reported 13 cases of COVI-19 this week.
Texas athletics officially confirms 13 COVID cases on football team, 23 players are now in quarantine pic.twitter.com/JYMFURBHPV
— Bleacher Report CFB (@BR_CFB) June 18, 2020
Different sport, but a cautionary tale for hoops which requires much contact as well.
With health being the top priority, the NBA is offering the Oura smart ring to every player as they enter the Disney property in Orlando.
The company says the ring, which sells for $299, can predict COVID-19 symptoms up to three days in advance. It connects to an app on your phone to provide the heart and sleep information and supposedly tracks the wearer’s temperature, breathing, and heart rate, which could help indicate if a player has some of the early symptoms of the disease.
Wearing the ring isn’t mandated by league protocols, but anything that can keep the players healthy inside the bubble should be welcomed with open arms. With all of the moving parts and safety risks, this might be one of the most unpredictable and dramatic NBA seasons ever.