Matthew Robinson, Staff Writer
The 2020 NBA season was one that will be remembered forever. Locked in a bubble, with no friends and family is nearly impossible for such a long period of time, but the players and the league were going to do anything they could to get a start on the 2021 season.
On Nov. 9, the NBA and the Nation Basketball Players Association pushed the 2020-21 season start date to late December, with Christmas Day games being played the opening weekend. At the end of the day, the start of the season came down to finances. According to Sports News, the NBA feared a January start could cost the league up to $1 billion in revenue losses. With basketball being a top sport to tune into, it was definitely the biggest priority of them all.
NBA schedule for 2020-21
- Dec. 11-19: Preseason games
- Dec. 22- March 4: First half of regular season
- March 5-10: All-Star break
- March 11- May 16: Second half of regular season
- May 18- 21: Play- In tournaments
- May 22- July 22: Playoffs
Each team will play a total of three times against conference opponents while playing teams from opposite conferences only twice. There will be only 72 games, down from the typical 82. Much like baseball, the teams will play a “series” against opponents with two games in the same city.
On Thursday, league Commissioner Adam Silver told ESPN that the All-Star game will take place on March 7. All games will be squeezed into one night. The skills challenge 3-point contest and slam dunk contest on Saturday night. The game will take place at 8 p.m with the dunk contest at halftime.
With only two months into the season, and no workouts during the off-season, rookies and new players are searching for their team chemistry as the second half of the season is only less than months away.
What happens if and when a player tests positive?
Just like everyone else, players, coaches, and team personnel who test positive will have to go through a series of steps before being able to play again.
Silver spoke about the concern about staying safe while playing during a pandemic, but he was more than confident after having a long discussion with White House coronavirus advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci.
“There is still a lot that we need to learn in terms of rapid testing, for example, getting fans into the arena, it will only be a matter of time until that can happen,” he said.
This off-season didn’t go as planned for some teams including the Brooklyn Nets and Houston Rockets. The blockbuster trade included the Rockets, Indiana Pacers, and Cleveland Cavaliers. James Harden, Victor Oladipo, Chris LeVert, Jarret Allen were the top players in each of the trades.
Some benefited, and others are still in the process of searching for players. The Milwaukee Bucks extending MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo was easily the biggest move, while Lebron James, Kawhi Leonard, Paul George, and Rudy Gobert all stayed on their respective teams. James Harden was the biggest move of them all, teaming up with Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving.
At the start of the season, the Houston Rockets were having trouble dealing with Harden and his off-court behavior such as not following the NBA’s health and safety protocols. It wasn’t long until he requested a trade to Brooklyn, and it was only a matter of time until that went through.
Fast forward to this week, Brooklyn is playing some of their best basketball.
“It’s going to be difficult for a team to beat us four times in a best of seven,” Harden said.
Entering the league, there’s only been one name when considering the Rookie of the Year Award. Lamelo Ball of the Charlotte Hornets is playing his best basketball, and he’s only going to progress into a star player sooner or later trying to be better than his two older brothers LeAngelo and Lonzo. He is averaging 13.6 points, 8.3 rebounds, and 7.4 assists and 28.3 minutes per game off the bench.
James Wiseman is a player not many people were able to watch a play in the 2020 season because of eligibility issues, except for one game. As a top 5 pick, he is averaging 11.4 points and 6.3 rebounds per game. Having veteran Draymond Green playing alongside him will only make him a more dynamic player.
The playoffs are still a little ways away, but with a shortened season it will feel like they are right around the corner. The Philadelphia 76ers currently lead in the Eastern Conference, Brooklyn is right behind with a big game Thursday against the Los Angeles Lakers.
The Western Conference is tight as usual with the Utah Jazz and Los Angeles Lakers, and Los Angeles Clippers in a tight race for the 1 spot. The race for the one seed will be something to keep an eye on.