As hard as it may be to believe, the NBA will be back in just six weeks now that the NBA Player’s Association has tentatively agreed to starting the season on December 22.
With plans to tip off the new season just 71 days after the conclusions of the NBA Finals in Orlando, players have been left disgruntled after campaigning for a mid-January start date at the earliest. However, the revised 72-game season ensures that players will lose less of their salaries.
Given the state of the United States and the nature of the beast that is Covid-19, dates may be subject to change. However, here is what we know about upcoming NBA season so far:
November 18 2020: NBA Draft
Favourites to be selected with the first pick in the 2020 NBA Draft:
1. Anthony Edwards (-200)
2. LaMelo Ball (+185)
3. James Wiseman (+450)
December 1 2020: Training camp
December 22 2020: Regular season opener
Favourites to win the 2020/21 NBA Championship:
1. Los Angeles Lakers (+350)
2. Los Angeles Clippers (+450)
3. Milwaukee Bucks (+550)
Favourites to win the 2020/21 NBA Most Valuable Player:
1. Giannis Antetokounmpo (+350)
2. Luka Doncic (+500)
3. Stephen Curry (+600)
Favourites to win the 2020/21 NBA Defensive Player of the Year:
1. Anthony Davis (+225)
2. Rudy Gobert (+300)
3. Giannis Antetokounmpo (+300)
Favourites to win the 2020/21 NBA Rookie of the Year:
1. LaMelo Ball (+300)
2. Anthony Edwards (+350)
3. James Wiseman (+550)
Favourites to win the 2020/21 NBA Most Improved Player:
1. Jamal Murray (+1200)
2. Jaren Jackson Jr. (+1200)
3. Deandre Ayton (+1200)
Favourites to win the 2020/21 NBA Coach of the Year:
1. Brad Stevens (+900)
2. Erik Spoelstra (+1200)
2. Doc Rivers (+1400)
What we don’t know is when free agency will start or when teams will be able to make trades again. Given that we are less than two weeks out from the NBA Draft and then only another two weeks from the start of training camps, it is believed that the second half of November will be jam packed with trades and free agency signings in order for teams to get their rosters set prior to the December 1st training camps.
The NBA and NBPA are expected to discuss moving up the start of free agency as early as possible to accommodate players joining new teams so close to a Dec. 1 start of training camps, sources tell ESPN.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) November 6, 2020
With no ‘Bubble’ for the 2020/21 season, the league will be battling the severity of the Covid-19 pandemic in an attempt to successfully travel across the country to play. Given the amount of travel and without the security of the bubble, the NBA will likely be faced with multiple positive Covid-19 test results from players and executives. The contingency plans that the league has in place will determine the success of the 2020/21 NBA season. However, given the resounding success of the recent restart in Orlando it will be no surprise if the NBA pulls off this season as well.
*Odds correct at time of publication.
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Image by: Keith Allison