NBA Restart: Top 5 Bold Predictions
By Carlie A.Horn
NBA is resuming on Thursday after 141 days hiatus. Utah Jazz vs. New Orleans Pelicans will start off the night followed by Los Angeles Clippers vs. Los Angeles Lakers.
The "NBA Restart" has 344 players located at Disney World in Orlando. Over a month ago the the NBA decided to move forward with the idea that players, coaches, and staff will remain in a bubble. The bubble plan had a lot of people and myself skeptical if the plan could even work, but the bubble has shown to be effective with NBA reporting zero positive players with COVID-19 entering the evening.
The players seem to be comfortable and having fun as they acclimate to living in the bubble. NBA Bubble Life social media accounts on Twitter and Instagram show the players riding bikes, bowling, practicing, and how players are making a social impact from inside the bubble.
Top five previous rankings put the Milwaukee Bucks first, followed by LA Clippers, Los Angeles Lakers, Toronto Raptors, and at number five the Houston Rockets. Little over four months have passed since these rankings where made. Now it is all about the fundamentals, and which players are fired up to go after such a long period of time off. These games will show which players kept practicing, working out, and maintaining their diets.
New predictions need to be made!
1. Los Angeles Lakers
The Lakers play in a harder conference, but is clear to see how superior they are over the Bucks. Before the season went on a pause the team won 11-13 games and had wins over the Bucks and Clippers on March 6 and 8. They also have Lebron James who has been to the NBA finals eight times.
The Bucks have been dominant this past year. The team has the league best 16.7 net rating, best offensive and defensive rating, and +550 odds to win the title. The Bucks also have an easier path to championship being in the Eastern Conference. The bottom four seeds are very weak in this conference, weaker than the Western Conference.
3. Houston Rockets
The Rockets had a lot of kinks to work out earlier this season, but since the team has a restart to the season, they have had plenty of time to work out their strategy. Having no true center could lead to a struggle against great players like Anthony Davis and Nikola Jokic. The team has two of the best guards, James Harden and Russell Westbrook, who can lead the team to the championship.
The Celtics have new superstar Jason Tatum, who was showing dominance and great progression through the start of the season. If Tatum can work well with Kemba Walker it will be hard to leave them out of the ECF. Although Walker was nursing a knee injury in the early season, with positive thinking he will be back for the restart.
5. Los Angeles Clippers
The Clippers have had numerous players in and out of lineup due to injuries and loads of different strategies. Members Kawhi Leonard and Paul George are getting over lingering health issues, it will be intriguing to see how well they do back on the court. There is no doubt the new additions Marcus Morris, Reggie Jackson, and Joakim Noah are up for the challenge of learning different plays The team should be well rested now, but it will be interesting to see if there is any chemistry together over the next few games.