The NBA season is set to resume in Orlando July 31. The league’s Board of Governors approved a 22-team plan featuring eight regular-season games heading into the playoffs. And if the postseason goes chalk, a Los Angeles team will be representing the city in the NBA Finals.
The Lakers and Bucks are tied for the shortest NBA championship odds at DraftKings. The Clippers are right behind them. Then, there’s a sizable drop off, which isn’t surprising given how loaded that trio is.
DraftKings 2020 NBA championship odds
Here are the odds for the top 12 teams, according to DraftKings:
NBA Playoff picture before the lockdown
The Bucks had the best record in the NBA at 53-12, with the Lakers leading the Western Conference by 5.5 games at 49-14. The next three teams based on winning percentage were the Raptors (46-18), the Clippers (44-20) and the Nuggets (43-22).
However, on paper, the Clippers deserve to be in that first tier. Kawhi Leonard and Paul George have combined to miss 35 games this season, and each should be a full go for the playoffs provided there are no injury setbacks.
It feels like ages ago, but we saw the Clippers and Lakers square off shortly before the shutdown. On March 8, the Lakers beat the Clippers 112-103 in a Sunday afternoon primetime clash.
The Clippers won the prior two meetings, but the March 8 matchup was particularly noteworthy, as both teams were at full strength and had plenty of time to acclimate after transformative offseasons.
It’s near impossible to project how the layoff will impact certain players or teams, but it’s interesting to see that the Lakers, Bucks and Clippers are so far ahead of the pack, considering their home-court advantage will likely be zapped with this funky plan. According to reports, top teams are lobbying for rule changes that would result in some sort of home-court advantage, but the plans appear far-fetched at best.
The NBA return plan
Here’s what we know about the return plan now, via NBA.com.
- July 31 is the tentative start date. The NBA Finals would end by October 12.
- A total of 22 teams would return to play this season, 13 Western Conference teams, and nine Eastern Conference teams.
- The games will be held at Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando.
- The eighth playoff seeds could potentially come down to a play-in tournament, but the top seven teams in each conference will automatically clinch a playoff spot.
- If the team with the eighth-best record in its conference is more than four games ahead of the team with the ninth-best record in the same conference, there is no play-in.
- If the team with the eighth-best record in its conference is four games or fewer ahead of the team with the ninth-best record in the same conference, there will be a battle for the final spot.
Now, does any of that impact the Lakers or Clippers? Perhaps, as the play-in scenarios could determine the Lakers’ first-round opponent. But it’s unlikely to significantly affect their championship pursuit. Scrapping the conferences and doing a straight 1-16 playoff tournament would have, but the NBA decided to go in another direction.
DraftKings 2020 Western Conference Champion odds
If you’re looking to put a future on the Clippers or Lakers but like the Bucks to win it all, you may want to consider one of them to win the West. Here are those odds.
Trail Blazers: +8,000
Yes, another California team, the Kings, will be invited to Orlando. Sacramento is 11th in the Western Conference at 28-36, 3.5 games back of the eighth-seeded Grizzlies. Who’s feeling frisky?