The NBA plans to start the 2020-21 NBA season on December 22. This comes after the Los Angeles Lakers won the franchise’s 17th NBA title in early October. With the quick turnaround, here’s what you need to know to get ready for the new season.
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Teams will report to training camp in early December and preseason games will begin on Dec. 11. The season will be divided into two halves with the first half ending on March 4. The first half schedule will be released during training camp.
The All-Star break will take place from March 4 through March 10. The second half of the season will begin on March 11. The second half schedule will be released late in the first half of the season. Should there be any cancellations in the first half due to the coronavirus, the NBA can potentially reschedule those games in the season’s second half.
Teams will play 72 games and the regular season will end on May 16. The league will keep the play-in tournament idea alive to determine the seventh- and eighth-seeded teams in each conference.
The No. 7 and No. 8 teams in each conference will play the “Seven-Eight” game. The winner will be the seventh seed and the loser will play the winner of the “Nine-Ten” game which features the teams that finish No. 9 and No. 10 in each conference.
The loser of the Nine-Ten game is eliminated and the winner plays the loser of the Seven-Eight game for the eighth seed in the playoffs.
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2020-21 NBA Season Favorites
With the 2020 title in their back pocket, the Lakers, led by LeBron James and Anthony Davis, are once again the favorites to win next year’s title. L.A. is listed at +350 to repeat at the top NBA sportsbooks.
Milwaukee, which had the NBA’s best regular season record for the second straight season, checks in next at +500. Giannis Antetokounmpo repeated as the league MVP and returns looking to get the Bucks over their recent playoff hurdles.
Brooklyn will get Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant back from injury and there is talk of a trade for James Harden in the works. With or without Harden, the Nets will be a contender as their +600 odds to win it all represent.
The Lakers crosstown rival, who exited this year’s postseason early, the Clippers are also listed at +600. Golden State follows at +800 for the 2020-21 NBA season. The Warriors were expecting a healthy Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson to return, but it is feared that Thompson suffered another injury that could cost him the 2020-21 season.
NBA free agency starts Nov. 20 and the biggest name on the list is the Lakers Anthony Davis. It’s no secret that Davis is going to re-sign with the Lakers and chase a repeat performance of last season.
Toronto’s Fred VanVleet is the biggest name among unrestricted free agents. The Raptors point guard really blossomed last year averaging 17.6 points and 6.6 assists per game.
Brandon Ingram is a restricted free agent and is expected to be re-signed by New Orleans. The Clippers Montrezl Harrell, the league’s Sixth Man of the Year, is also expected to re-sign.
The 2020 NBA Draft was held a few months later than normal. Georgia’s Anthony Edwards went No. 1 to the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Seven-footer James Wiseman went No. 2 to Golden State and point guard LaMelo Ball, youngest brother of New Orleans star Lonzo, was picked third by Charlotte.
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