Handicapping NBA Futures Odds
If you’ve stopped by CappersPicks.com today looking to find out who are NBA Handicappers think the 5 teams who benefit most from the Covid-19 NBA suspension we’ve got your back! March 11th the NBA came to a screeching halt when Rudy Gobert tested positive to COVID-19 forcing the NBA to suspend the season. A full month has passed since that point and while early optimism called for a 30-day hiatus, the coronavirus hit North America taking little time to reach pandemic levels.
2020 NBA Handicapping
Cooler minds have prevailed and although the White House has encouraged an expedited return once the curve flattens on the virus NBA Commissioner, Adam Silver will error on the side of caution and follow the lead of medical expert recommendations.
With that said, there is renewed optimism a season could still be in play and scuttlebutt is that return would likely feature a two-week quarantine, two-week training camp, and condensed regular season to give players a chance to get up to full speed.
There is also the possibility of a play-in tournament for the seventh and eighth seeds.
With that, let’s look at the 5 Teams Who Benefit Most From The Covid-19 NBA Suspension and handicap who this long layoff has potentially helped the most.
2020 NBA Championship Futures Odds: 22/1
The suspension was a bit of a mixed blessing for the 76ers who were dealing with injuries to their two All-Stars. Joel Embiid is undoubtedly the primary. As long as he doesn’t allow himself to get out of shape during the hiatus he’ll benefit from the rest.
The true advantage lies in getting Ben Simmons right. Back injuries are precarious so allowing him extra time to slowly work back to health and regain his strength will be invaluable. For as much as the 76ers offense stalls with both stars on the court, it’s more a factor of spreading the floor with the other three players in the lineup.
The man on the hot seat is head coach, Brett Brown who got ample opportunity to test out Furkan Korkmaz and Shake Milton in their absence will undoubtedly be spending the hiatus figuring out how to fix the offense.
Yet, the biggest test for the 76ers will be figuring out how to win on the road. Assuming the NBA is able to return the games are expected to all be played in one venue. That means the 76ers will need to figure out how to flip their abysmal 10-24 road record.
If they can accomplish that task they’ll be a tough out in the postseason. Philly’s length is problematic for opponents as the limit opponents to the fewest rebounds (41.9), fourth-fewest assists (22.7), rank second in opponent blocks (3.9) and fifth in steals (7.0).
Portland Trail Blazers
2020 NBA Championship Futures Odds: 200/1
Of the current lottery seeded squads the Portland Trail Blazers stand to gain the most from this extended layoff. That is with one caveat — the NBA will need to either have enough games in the shortened return schedule to make up the 3.5 games they trail the Memphis Grizzlies by or utilize the play-in tournament.
If either of those scenarios occurs I’m hard-pressed to not pick the Blazers as the team that would rise up to claim the eighth seed. First, and most importantly is the players who’ll return to the court when (if) play resumes.
Damian Lillard missed six games just prior to the suspension with a groin injury and the team went 2-4 in his absence. Groin injuries are dubious and can flare up repeatedly if not given the proper time to heal (see Marc Gasol). Therefore, Lillard having this time to get fresh is huge.
However, the big news for the Blazers is this time off should equate to Jusuf Nurkic and Zach Collins both being available with the restart. Although they’ll need time to shake off the rust and Nurkic specifically may need much longer to return to his pre-injury form.
Still, having him in combination with Hassan Whiteside provides the Blazers with arguably the most versatile upfront depth. That’s a huge benefit if Portland plays themselves into the eighth seed to face the equally lengthy Lakers.
Constancy could well be the key factor for teams returning from such an extended layoff and the Blazers have that especially with Nurk back.
2020 NBA Championship Futures Odds: 18/1
Every team and player can use the extended time off to rest and get back to full health. Yet, arguably no team, especially in the home court tier benefits more than the Raptors.
Of Toronto’s top seven players only OG Anunoby has avoided extended absences due to injury. And these weren’t the typical few days here and there. Kyle Lowry, Fred VanVleet, Pascal Siakam, Marc Gasol, Serge Ibaka, and Norm Powell all missed a minimum of 10 games in a row.
Unlike squads who haven’t been afforded time together (Clippers) Toronto’s core won the championship and possess organic chemistry.
Toronto played 22 games without Kawhi Leonard last season and often was more fluid offensively without him. They’ll need Siakam to step into Leonard’s postseason role, but he’ll have potentially more help given the shift in offensive style.
Despite missing four of their most efficient perimeter scorers (all with averages over 38.8%) for a cumulative 68 games they rank sixth in 3-point efficiency. Plus they have the second-ranked defense in the Association and hold opponents to the lowest points per game (106.5) and boast the best perimeter defense.
Besides, who better than the defending champs to know how to deal with adversity?
2020 NBA Championship Futures Odds: 5/2
This is a bit of a no-brainer to add to the mix. While many might think teams like the LA power duo would benefit more you’ll find them in the other bracket. Factors such as needing time to gel and develop organic chemistry don’t exist with Milwaukee.
Similarly, while the Lakers could use the rest period for a 35-year old LeBron James and the Clippers for a myriad of their stars, in the Bucks case it’s one player who they need at 100 percent.
Of course, that’s reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo who despite LeBron’s best efforts still can’t check off as many boxes as the Freak. He leads his team in points (29.6), rebounds (13.7), assists (5.8), free throw attempts (10.0) and is second in steals (1.0), and blocks (1.0) per game. And, oh yeah — he’s doing this in 30.9 minutes per game. Plus he owns a gaudy plus/minus of 11.5 and VORP of 6.0.
Don’t think the extended layoff will hurt the Bucks either because they replicated last season’s top-ranked effort this year. Of all the top teams only the Celtics were reeling as much as the Bucks as of March 11th.
In fact, after 60 games they had a meager eight losses and 52 wins. But in the five games prior to the suspension they lost four, including three in a row leading up to the layoff. Coincidentally, the first time all season they lost successive games.
The Bucks are a well-oiled “regular season” machine ranking first defensively and net differential. Additionally, they rank first in opponent field goal percentage, fifth in opponent points per game, sixth offensively, third in fast break scoring and fourth in points in the paint scoring.
Antetokounmpo’s knee tweak in LA was a factor which means the layoff, as much as he’ll hate it, will give him time to refuel. Don’t sleep on the Raptors who have the depth to counter Milwaukee (arguably with better overall talent).
Plus let’s not forget who the originator of the defensive system to stop GA was (Nick Nurse). Still, the Bucks remain the prohibitive favorites to win the East and this time off may have helped them more than any elite squad.
2020 NBA Championship Futures Odds: 66/1
The bubble team that could potentially capitalize on this extended layoff is the Nets. Sure, there are a number of reasons why they could just as easily be on the opposite side of the equation. Firing your head coach (or if we believe the rhetoric) “agreeing to mutually part ways” 62 games into a season isn’t the best way to finish a campaign.
Equally frustrating is Kyrie Irving’s inability to recognize what things are meant to be said publicly versus behind closed doors. Telling the world “you need another big player” to add to inarguably a top-three NBA status of Kevin Durant and still capable DeAndre Jordan was dubious at best. Especially when Caris LeVert was burgeoning on superstardom and Spencer Dinwiddie carried a load for you all season.
The Nets rank eighth defensively, and second in rebounding but an abysmal 22nd offensively.
The prospect of the league returning in June or July could play a huge factor in the postseason. Regardless of what the Nets head office says regarding their superstars’ injury status their return would bolster the inadequate Nets offense.
And, although it’s not a given, it sure would make for a tough opponent in the first round if they can find a way to quickly develop chemistry.
With all that said here are the current odds to win the NBA in 2020…(If we have a remainder of the season)
Covid-19 NBA Suspension | 2020 NBA Championship Futures Odds To Win (TBD)
- Los Angeles Lakers 5/2
- Milwaukee Bucks 5/2
- Los Angeles Clippers 33/10
- Houston Rockets 13/1
- Toronto Raptors 18/1
- Boston Celtics 20/1
- Miami Heat 20/1
- Philadelphia 76ers 22/1
- Denver Nuggets 30/1
- Utah Jazz 30/1
- Dallas Mavericks 40/1
- Brooklyn Nets 66/1
- Oklahoma City Thunder 80/1
- Indiana Pacers 100/1
- Memphis Grizzlies 200/1
- New Orleans Pelicans 200/1
- Portland Trail Blazers 200/1
- San Antonio Spurs 200/1
- Orlando Magic 300/1
- Chicago Bulls 500/1
- Phoenix Suns 500/1
- Sacramento Kings 500/1
- Washington Wizards 500/1
- Atlanta Hawks 800/1
- Charlotte Hornets 800/1
- Cleveland Cavaliers 800/1
- Detroit Pistons 800/1
- Minnesota Timberwolves 800/1
- New York Knicks 800/1
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