It’s fair to say every team across all sports have been impacted by the coronavirus and temporary suspensions of the current season. The NBA was just about 4 weeks away from starting it’s postseason play when the season came to a halt. The timing of this definitely heightens the impact felt throughout the league both positive and negative. That being said, I’d love to take a look a look at what I think are the 5 teams effected the most by the suspended season.
The Utah Jazz should probably be on every one of these types of list. The Rudy Gobert press conference incident has had major effects on this teams future. It was a mistake, but a costly one for him after reports came out that he and star Donovan Mitchell tested positive. If anything, many reports have shown that the situation has caused quite a strain on the duo’s relationship. Rudy needs these playoffs, almost more than anyone. This could mark the end of Gobert’s time in Utah, unless he can help push the Jazz further into the playoffs than they’ve gone in the past two seasons.
Some of the impacts felt by this season suspension are positive and this is definitely the case for the Boston Celtics. Returning from the All-Star break, Kemba Walker had his left knee drained for a lingering issue. It caused him to miss 6 of the last 10 games before the abrupt stop. Luckily, the Celtics are an extremely deep team with a budding superstar in Jason Tatum which kept them afloat in the meantime. If anything, this time off has been huge for Boston as Kemba gets more than enough time to rest before a long playoff run.
This was already an important season for the Rockets before all this went down. Back in July, the team made waves sending Chris Paul to the Thunder for Russel Westbrook, reuniting Harden with an old teammate and former MVP. Then, in November the pressure began to build as Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta and head coach Mike D’Antoni couldn’t come to terms on a contract extension. It seemed that this would be a make or break year for this franchise, Championship or bust. With the season temporarily suspended, it has allowed this team some much needed time to rest and regroup from a long season in which they averaged 90 shots per game as a team. They currently sit as a disappointing 6th seed in the West and desperately need to turn things around.
Holding on to star players will always be the toughest test for small market franchises. Giannis is set to be a free agent in 2021 and has the power to completely shake up the NBA. The Bucks obviously have a shot at getting him to stick around but a championship is absolutely necessary. With Kawhi out of the East, things opened up even more for a talented Milwaukee team and all signs have been pointing towards a Finals appearance this year. Then the pandemic happened. I’m not saying the Bucks still wouldn’t be favorites when play resumes, but this time off seems to be benefiting some formidable foes in the east. Specifically for teams like Boston and Miami to get healthy. Both of which Milwaukee struggled against this year. The Bucks have a lot to prove and need this season to come back.
Los Angeles Lakers
Before the Pandemic hit, no team had more momentum than the Los Angeles Lakers. They had just come off a 10 game win streak and back to back wins against Milwaukee and the Clippers, while sitting comfortably atop the West. Everything seemed to be aligning at the exact right time entering post-season play in a very important year for Lebron and co. Anthony Davis is a free agent at the end of this season and although all signs point to him resigning in LA, a lost season could change things. Lebron is now 35 and it’s tough to want to tie yourself to an aging superstar, even if he happens to be the best one. I’m not saying he will leave, but Lebron and the Lakers would arguably have the most to lose if the season were to be completely dropped.
Many scenarios have been tossed around to get the season back on track. Some teams have even begun opening up practice facilities again. It seems we could be getting some answers soon as to when the season would pick back up. I for one, can’t wait to see this season finally play itself out.
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