The NBA season is set to return on the 31st of July. But it won’t begin its playoffs until playoff seeding has been determined. The invited 22 NBA teams must play eight regular season games each to determine their positions in the standings.
Since we have more than a month before the NBA season resumes, let’s predict the ending to each 22 NBA teams’ 2020 season.
Predictions For Each 22 NBA Teams
Each NBA team is expected to play eight seeding games once the season resumes. We’ll be discussing if they can get into the playoff picture or not.
Better Luck Next NBA Season
Some NBA teams were invited just to make sure they are seeded properly once the season ends. Some are just given false hope that they’ll make it to the NBA playoffs.
The Washington Wizards will remain at the 9th spot in the Eastern Conference standing once the 2020 NBA season concludes. Even if John Wall comes back from his injury, the Wizards will watch the NBA playoffs at home. And hopefully, they’ll perform better in the next NBA season that’s expected to begin early December of this year.
The young Phoenix Suns team will remain at the 13th place after they play all 8 of their reseeding games. They have a bright future ahead of them once their young core of Devin Booker, Kelly Oubre, and Deandre Ayton improves cohesively, especially on the defensive end.
Sacramento Kings will slide down to the 12th spot in the Western Conference standings once the NBA regular season ends. They’re way too inconsistent on both ends of the court for them to merit consideration as a legitimate playoff hopeful. Hopefully, Vlade Divac will start recognizing players based on their talents. And not how their father acts toward him once he gets to draft again in the lottery for the upcoming NBA Draft
San Antonio Spurs
There’s a famous saying that death, taxes, and the Spurs making the NBA playoffs are the only consistent things in the world. Unfortunately for the Spurs, it seems they hit the end of their glorious days. Gregg Popovich and his team won’t reach the playoffs for the first time since they missed the playoffs in Popovich’s first year as head coach in NBA’s 1996-97 season.
NBA Playoff Wild Cards
When the NBA resumes, there will be a play-in tournament if a team in the 8th place does not have more than four games advantage over the next placed team. And we expect these teams to compete for the last playoff spot in the Western Conference.
The Memphis Grizzlies are currently the team holding the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference standings. However, we don’t expect them to be the team holding the last seed for the West in the upcoming NBA playoffs. They have a strong young core, but we think the two other teams below have a better chance of making the NBA playoffs.
New Orleans Pelicans
Zion Williams and the New Orleans Pelicans are resuming their NBA regular season looking to help JJ Redick avoid missing the playoffs for the first time in his NBA career. They have a good chance of achieving that with the play-in rule taking effect. If they can grab the ninth-spot and be less than four games behind the 8th placed team, they’ll have a chance to make the NBA playoffs in Zion’s rookie year.
The Portland Trailblazers is another team we’re confident will make some noise once the NBA season resumes. With their strong backcourt of Lillard and McCollum, and Nurkic expected to come back from his injury. The Trailblazers are ready to make a run for the last playoff spot in the Western Conference. Also, they still have Hassan Whiteside to get them going defensively. If they figure out how to stagger the minutes between their two good big men, they’ll be a nightmare matchup for smaller teams playing in Disneyland.
As much as we liked for JJ Redick not to miss the playoffs, we are going with the Portland Trailblazers to grab the 8th seed in the Western Conference. They have an edge against those two young teams when it comes to experience, and they have the better players. When it goes down to a play-in tournament for the Western Conference’s final playoff spot, we’re backing Damian Lillard to put his team on his back and lead them to the NBA playoffs.
Pick: Portland makes the playoffs
Eastern Conference Playoff Contenders
The Eastern Conference playoffs are already set as the Washington Wizards are 5.5 games behind the Orlando Magic for the final playoff spot. So we’ll be predicting the seed of each Eastern Conference team once they play all eight reseeding games.
The Milwaukee Bucks are currently 6.5 games ahead of the second-seeded Toronto Raptors. We expect them to hold the 1st seed once the NBA regular season concludes. They might even rest Giannis during the reseeding games and still be the first-placed team heading into the playoffs.
The Toronto Raptors should stay on second-place once the season concludes. And they’d be one of those vulnerable top-seeded teams. Especially if they match up against a good lower-seed team like the Magic or the Nets
(assuming Kyrie or KD, or both play). Their reign as NBA champions should end either by the first round or second round of the NBA playoffs. They’ll be fine. See our Nets explanation.
The Boston Celtics should remain at the number 3 spot heading into the NBA playoffs. Their young core gained some valuable experience over the years. And they’re looking forward to showing the world how good they can be once the NBA postseason starts.
The Miami Heat will stay at the fourth spot and will have their superstar, Jimmy Butler, lead the charge going into the NBA playoffs. With their young guys being new to the pressure of NBA postseason basketball, they’ll look into Jimm Buckets in clutch moments, hopefully, he can lead them past the first round against the…
Jimmy’s old team should grab the 5th spot once the NBA regular season ends. The 76ers are fresh off a disappointing loss against the Kawhi-led Toronto Raptors in last year’s playoffs. Embiid and Simmons are being pitted against one another by the media, and this could be the time they’ll prove those naysayers wrong. If they can get past their old teammate and his Miami Heat team.
The Indiana Pacers will be the 6th seed once the NBA playoffs begin. And they will be able to have Victor Oladipo and Malcolm Brogdon back to lead their backcourt. They’ll be a good test against the young Celtics team if ever they do face in the first round of the 2020 NBA postseason.
There’s still a chance for the Brooklyn Nets to have their two premier superstars back before the NBA playoff starts, and they’ll be going in as the 7th seed.
Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant has not been ruled out yet, so the Raptors should be in for a treat if ever one or both of them come back from their respective injuries. Kevin Durant already ruled himself out for the rest of the 2020 NBA season, and Kyrie Irving won’t suit up in Disneyland either. Nets will be lucky to survive the first round.
The Orlando Magic should hold on to the 8th spot and face off against the Milwaukee Bucks once the 2020 NBA Playoffs start. They’re a good defensive team, and if they can get their defensive anchor, Jonathan Isaac, back from injury, they’ll stand a better chance avoiding a sweep from the Eastern Conference’s top team.
Western Conference Playoff Contenders
Unlike the Eastern Conference where all eight teams are almost ensured a playoff spot, the Western Conference only has seven teams that are almost certain to qualify for the NBA playoffs.
Los Angeles Lakers
The Los Angeles Lakers should stay at the top spot once the NBA regular season ends. Anthony Davis and Lebron James should be in great shape once the season resumes. And Western Conference teams will now have the chance to experience for the first time what Playoff Lebron is.
Los Angeles Clippers
The Los Angeles Clippers will hold on to the number two spot like how they hold on to that same spot among Los Angeles natives’ favorite NBA team. Paul George should be well-rested and ready to play once the NBA resumes. The same can be said to The Claw after he led his Raptors team to the promised land last season.
The Denver Nuggets will be the third-seed once the postseason starts. Their young and solid team should be ready to compete despite playing in neutral ground, without being in their mile-high home arena in Colorado. And Jokic should be ready to face-off against other West big men with his beach-ready form according to their president of basketball operations, Tim Connelly.
Oklahoma City Thunder
The Oklahoma Thunder should continue breaking people’s expectations when they grab the forth-seed in the Western Conference standings. Led by their point God, Chris Paul, this OKC team has a chance to reach the Western Conference Finals if they get favorable matchups in the early rounds.
The Houston Rockets may slide down to the 5th spot once the NBA season restarts, and they could even face their old point guard and his pesky OKC team. Russ and Harden will enter their first postseason together since their days wearing the same Oklahoma City uniforms along with Kevin Durant. We’ll see if they can reach the NBA Finals again and win their first-ever championship.
The Utah Jazz are expected to miss Bogdanovic when the NBA season returns, and they could slide down from their fourth-placed rank once the regular season concludes. There is also the drama between Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert that may have an adverse impact on their team chemistry. Hopefully, they’ll be able to figure it out once they start their practice sessions.
Sophomore sensation, Luka Doncic, and the Dallas Mavericks are expected to remain at the 7th place when the NBA playoff begins. They have a six-game lead over the 8th-seed Grizzlies and are three games behind the sixth-placed team. This will be the first postseason for the Doncic and Porzingis core and everybody is looking forward to how long this team would last during the NBA playoffs.
Predicted Final 2020 NBA Standings
Early 2020 NBA Playoff Predictions
Using our NBA regular season predictions above, we’ve made some early picks for each first-round matchups and which teams will reach the NBA Finals.
2020 NBA Playoffs First Round Matchups
We expect almost all top-seeded teams to beat their playoff opponents in the first round.
With the exception of the Toronto Raptors.
If Kyrie Irving or Kevin Durant returns from injury, the Raptors could be eliminated in the first round. If both players return, we don’t see a chance for the number two seed Toronto Raptors to defeat the 7th-seed Brooklyn Nets.
Raptors are going to be fine. It’ll be a shock to us if they don’t win against a Kyrie-and-KD-less Brooklyn Nets squad.
The most interesting matchup in the first round based on our seeding predictions will be the Western Conference’s fourth and fifth-seeded teams. That’s the Thunder against the Rockets. CP3 against Harden and Westbrook. The only sad thing about this matchup is fans will not be allowed inside the arena. And the Beard and Russ won’t be returning to OKC where it all started to face off against CP3 and his Thunder squad.
2020 NBA Playoffs Second Round Matchups
For the second round of this year’s NBA playoffs, we expect the top-seeded teams on each conference to defeat their opponents. This means the Milwaukee Bucks and Los Angeles Lakers will advance to the respective Conference Finals.
The Clippers and Nuggets should have one of the best second-round matchup in NBA history since both teams match up well against each other. However, without their home-court advantage, the Nuggets may lose against a solid Clippers squad led by the top two-way players in the league today.
We also pick the Boston Celtics to reach the Eastern Conference Finals once the NBA postseason begins. With their two great wings, Brown and Tatum, a great facilitator in Kemba Walker, and a formidable bench, they should get past their first and second-round opponents with ease.
2020 NBA Playoffs Conference Finals
As much as we want a Los Angeles Lakers and Boston Celtics NBA Finals matchup for old time’s sake, we cannot see the Bucks getting before they reach the NBA Finals.
The Clippers should be a great opponent for the Lakers, but with so much going on in the Lakers organization, and the presence of the greatest player in the NBA today. The Lakers should give their all to advance to their first NBA Finals appearance in this Lebron James Lakers-era.
2020 NBA Finals
We expect the Milwaukee Bucks and Los Angeles Lakers to face off during the 2020 NBA Finals. This Final matchup could easily reach seven games and be one of the greatest NBA Finals matchups in NBA history.
And we are predicting the Los Angeles Lakers to win their first NBA championship since Kobe Bryant led them to their 16th NBA championship in 2010.
Lebron James should grab his 4th NBA Final MVP trophy, and this Finals win will help him solidify his place among NBA’s all-time greats.