Who Stands to Gain From Adam Silver and the NBA’s Proposed 22 Team Return?

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Who Stands to Gain From Adam Silver and the NBA’s Proposed 22 Team Return?

As it looks right now the NBA is coming back sooner than we thought and the format is interesting to say the least. Adam Silver’s proposal is still awaiting approval but if approved the top 22 teams in the league, 13 from the west, 9 from the east, would fly to Disney’s ESPN Wide World of Sports complex and play 8 games as a reseeding to decide the normal 8 team playoffs. If the 8th seed is within 4 games of the 9th seed there will be a play in tournament to decide the 8th seed. The only catch is that the schedule will not be recreated for these 8 games. Essentially the schedule will continue on where they left off where it stopped. Now teams that happened to be in a tough span of the season when the season stopped are disadvantaged and teams that are in a light span of the season are at an advantage. In this article I wanted to talk about each team and discuss who is at an advantage and disadvantage…

Eastern Conference:

1 : Milwaukee Bucks
schedule: BOS, MIA, MEM, WSH, HOU, WSH, DAL, TOR

Fairly easy schedule for Milwaukee excluding Boston and Toronto. If Milwaukee stays in the same shape they should get good seeding.
2 : Toronto Raptors
schedule: PHI, BOS, DEN, LAL, MEM, MEM, MIL, MIL

They had a few lingering injuries before the season was postponed so this break hopefully got them back to full strength. On the downside, this schedule is just horrendous. They had great seeding during the regular season over-performing after losing Kawhi but facing Philly, Boston, Lakers, Denver and Milwaukee twice isn’t looking great. Although probably unlikely, I wouldn’t be surprised if they end up out of the playoffs.
3 : Boston Celtics
schedule: MIL, WSH, TOR, BKN, WSH, MEM, POR, MIA

I really think Boston benefits from their schedule. Aside from Milwaukee and Toronto, the rest of the teams they face are a 4 seed or below and they only have a negative record against Brooklynn.
4 : Miami Heat
schedule: MIL, IND, OKC, DEN, PHX, BOS, IND, BOS

Aside from Milwaukee they have a fairly easy schedule and hopefully the quarantine gave the Heat some time to refresh after going into a rut before the season was postponed.
5 : Indiana Pacers
schedule: PHI, MIA, PHX, ORL, HOU, SAC, LAC, LAL

An overall rough schedule. I didn’t have huge aspirations for the Pacers during the post season as it is and this schedule hasn’t made me change my mind.
6 : Philadelphia 76ers
schedule: BKN, NO, DAL, DEN, PHX, BKN, IND, SAC

The 76ers was one of the clear winners of this new format. A really easy schedule along with time to heal injuries and get out of a rut that dominated most of this season. This schedule could potentially give the 76ers a second chance to fulfill what they were originally predicted to do before the season began.
7 : Brooklyn Nets
schedule: LAC, SAC, BOS, ORL, LAC, ORL, POR, IND

The Nets are a team that I don’t think anyone really thinks are going to do much this postseason including themselves. Given their tough schedule and the fact that they’d rather work towards next season I could see this format pushing the Nets out of the playoffs.
8 : Orlando Magic
schedule: SAC, BKN, IND, BKN, NO, BOS, PHI, BOS

Orlando is a team that could benefit a lot from a schedule that’s not overwhelmingly hard. They have a young core of Aaron Gordon and Markelle Fultz who all have something to prove in the post season so if they make any kind of run they could end up coming out a real winner.
9 : Washington Wizards
schedule: BOS, OKC, PHI, BKN, MIL, BOS, PHX, MIL

The Wizards are an interesting one, by no means do they have an easy schedule and my first instinct would to just dismiss them all together but I saw that John Wall is pushing for a return and Bradley Beal has been pretty much carrying the wizards all season so I’d really like to see something positive happen.

Western Conference:

1 : Los Angeles Lakers
schedule: HOU, DEN, UTAH, UTAH, TOR, WSH, IND, SAC

The Lakers are similar to the Bucks. Probably going to stay a similar seed but can only go down from the 1 seed.
2 : LA Clippers
schedule: BKN, NO, DAL, DEN, PHX, BKN, IND, SAC

The Clippers have a real chance to use this format to dominate the playoffs. Not only do they have one of the easiest schedules but with the extra rest for Paul George and Kawhi Leonard we could see a more polished Clippers team than we saw in the regular season.
3 : Denver Nuggets
schedule: SA, LAL, LAC, OKC, TOR, MIA, SA, OKC

Denvers one of those teams that seems like a great regular season team but I just can’t wrap my head around a Jokic, Murray duo leading a championship team. With a tough schedule and every game carrying a lot of weight, I think the Nuggets would more likely to turn out worse than better after the 8 games.
4 : Utah Jazz
schedule: OKC, NO, MEM, LAL, LAL, SA, SA, DAL

The Jazz don’t really give me any reason to predict them changing seeds. The one thing that I think could really effect the Jazz’s seed would be the chemistry between the team and Rudy Gobert taking a turn for the worst after everything that happened with the Coronavirus
5 : Oklahoma City Thunder
schedule: UTAH, WSH, MEM, DEN, MIA, DEN, PHX, LAC

The Thunder are a team that I really don’t expect to make a huge run in the playoffs but they keep overperforming and given their easy schedule they could end up with a better seed.
6 : Houston Rockets
schedule: LAL, POR, SAC, DAL, MIL, IND, PHI, TOR

I really don’t know what to expect from the Rockets. They started doing pretty well after trading Clint Capella and going all in on small ball but as the games went on I think PJ Tucker and the rest of the Rockets got tired of having to play physical with teams that towered over them. I think if they can come out refreshed they might be able to take advantage in the 8 game regular season but I can’t see them staying at full strength during a long playoff run.
7 : Dallas Mavericks
schedule: PHX, LAC, SAC, POR, PHX, HOU, UTAH, MIL

The Mavericks seemed like all season they were doing pretty well then I looked at the standings and they were a 7 seed. I think they have the potential to do pretty well in the playoffs if their chemistry and defense sees an improvement.
8 : Memphis Grizzlies
schedule: POR, UTAH, SA, OKC, MIL, NO, NO,

The Grizzlies have been my favorite team to watch this season and one of the biggest disappointments of having the season postponed was not being able to see more of Ja Morant’s rookie year. I think they have one of the easier schedules but I’m eager to see what they can do when the pressure is on.
9 : Portland Trail Blazers
schedule: SAC, BKN, IND, BKN, NO, BOS, PHI, BOS

The Trailblazers on the other hand have been disappointing to watch all season after such an entertaining performance in last years playoffs which I think speaks to how valuable Pat Connaughton was to their team. Hopefully with Rodney Hood returning to the lineup and extra rest time for Nurkic, they can make something of what has been an otherwise disappointing season.
10 : New Orleans Pelicans
schedule: SAC, UTAH, LAC, SA, MEM, SAC, MEM, ORL

The Pelicans have by far the most to gain from this playoff format and I think that’s by design. From sources around the NBA, the priority of their decision was based around getting Zion Williamson to the playoffs. With one of the easiest schedules and Zion coming off 3 months of rest, I’m eager to see what they can do.
11 : Sacramento Kings
schedule: NO, BKN, DAL, HOU, ORL, NO, IND, SA

Everyone talks about how disappointing Sacramentos season was this year but but I’d disagree, I just think they’re up against a much more competitive western conference this year with Dallas really improving, Memphis gaining Ja Morant and the Lakers having a healthy Lebron James alongside Anthony Davis. Even with tougher competition they were still within 4 games of the 8 seed in the west. Hopefully with an easier schedule they can take advantage.
12 : San Antonio Spurs
schedule: DEN, MEM, NO, UTAH, UTAH, DEN, SAC, NO

For the Spurs I think this year’s all about keeping their playoff streak alive, knowing they can’t make a legitimate run at the playoffs with a lackluster roster. They don’t have a hard schedule so maybe they’ll be able to make something of it.
13 : Phoenix Suns
schedule: DAL, LAC, DAL, IND, WSH, PHI, MIA, OKC

The Suns would be an interesting team to see go to the playoffs because they are a really fun team to watch even though they lack any star power. They haven’t made the playoffs since 2010 with Steve Nash so I think a playoff birth would meaningful in the same way it is for the Spurs but looking at their schedule I just can’t picture the suns winning enough games.

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