8 Predictions For The NBA's Return to Orlando
Updated: Aug 6, 2020
Author: Brice Lourd
With the NBA returning July 31st, there is a lot that could happen. Being trapped in Disney World for up to three months… what could possibly go wrong? A lot of things. BUT, a lot of good could happen too. With UFC, soccer, and NASCAR being the only sports anyone has been watching lately, people are exhilarated for some basketball. The players--well some--are excited to play and chase a championship. This is shaping up to be an extremely exciting restart. With that being said, here are my eight predictions for the NBA comeback:
1. Players are going to be smoking more weed than ever.
Look, it’s pretty simple. With no drug testing and no family members around, what else are these guys going to do in their free time?! Also, most of these guys gotta know that their team has no chance against the Lakers or Clippers. I can fully imagine Carmelo lighting up a joint and going to one of the movie screenings they plan to offer. Also, I can almost guarantee some of the guys will get high and then go watch some of their boys on other teams’ games. By the way, let’s not forget that NBA players have been consistently smoking weed forever now. Charles Oakley quoted way back that sixty percent of the players in the league were playing high. Now, these guys are basically caged into a 13 year old boy’s dream land. It is inevitable that they are going to be faded 24/7.
2. Zion is going to be better than we’ve ever seen him Zion absolutely balled out in his first 19 games as an NBA player. Before his return from injury, no one even thought there was a chance he could win Rookie of the Year. Now, there are some real debates about him versus Ja. Yes, it is another Embiid versus Brogdon situation, so he probably won’t win. But, it’s still pretty remarkable that he’s even in the running after only nineteen games. With that being said, Zion has been going to the Pelicans practice facility all of quarantine, continuing to rehab his knee, as well as getting stronger and faster. To think that Zion wasn’t even 100 percent healthy in his first games just tells me one thing: that he will absolutely light it up in Orlando. With the Pels uptempo offense and amazing passers in Lonzo and Jrue Holiday, there’s absolutely no way he won’t succeed.
3. The Clippers will be unstoppable Yes, I think the Clippers will be WAY better than they were in the regular season. A lot of people may think I’m crazy considering they went 44-20 and currently stand in 2nd place of the Western Conference. But, here’s the thing: they haven’t been healthy all year. Kawhi has been milking injuries all season as well as Paul George. With both of those guys fully healthy, and hopefully Lou Will, who's been milking a calf injury, the Clippers will be an extreme force to be reckoned with. We saw what Kawhi did last year for Toronto, who's supporting cast was solid. Now he has an elite supporting cast. Their mindset should be championship or bust because their team has the best pieces to do it.
4. The Miami Heat are a legit Finals contender For starters, no I’m not crazy. The Heat are a f****** squad. With Jimmy Butler as the lead guy, Adebayo as the unstoppable force down low, and incredible rookies in Tyler Herro and Kendrick Nunn, the Heat have a really good core that is perfectly fit for a 7 game series. Nevertheless, they also beat the Bucks, the team they’ll face in the Eastern Conference semifinals barring they don’t blow round 1 to the Pacers, both times they played. This is a team full of hard workers, and don’t forget they have Andre Igoudala, Goran Dragic, and Jae Crowder too. A team full of experience and energy. The Heat could do some damage in the playoffs.
5. It’s Dame Dolla time The Blazers are currently in the 9th spot of the West, behind Memphis and in front of New Orleans. Damian Lillard was in the midst of his best season ever, averaging the most points and assists he ever had. Now, with the restart, he’s going to have a chip on his shoulder to get his team into the playoffs after having such an incredible season. Look what he did to the Thunder last year in the first round. There’s not many guys better than Dame this time of year. I expect him to absolutely light it up and give Portland a great shot at the offs.
6. The Celtics could easily lose in the first round I know, I know. Jayson Tatum is unstoppable, and Kemba molds the team so well. Those claims are definitely true, BUT let’s not forget about the 76ers. They were 1 possession away from beating the World Champs last year. These guys are going to come in with the biggest chip on their shoulder. Losing the way they did on that Kawhi shot is something you have nightmares about. These guys are going to be running and gunning, and Joel is going to go off. I’m not predicting the winner of that series, but I do not think we can write the 76ers off just yet
7. There are going to be many problems with the “smart rings” The NBA recently announced that players and coaches will be required to wear “smart rings” made by Oura that will track COVID-19 symptoms through keeping track of temperature, heart rate, and sleep. My first thought immediately goes to, “how?” Well, obviously I’m not a scientist, but I am smart enough to know that these devices often have problems. My worry for these rings is that they are too sensitive, and in turn, put many players on the sidelines. Obviously better safe than sorry, but the NBA wants to put out a good product as well.
8. Random people will sneak into the facility, or try, somehow
Disney is super big. I’m not trying to say it’s easy to sneak into, but with the parks planning to open July 11th, someone is going to sneak into one of the hotels or games. I have a buddy who snuck into game 7 of the epic Warriors vs. Cavs series that the Cavs won in Oakland because he was wearing a perfectly replicated media pass. People are smart, and if you don’t think people are going to be scheming up ways to get into this NBA wonderland, you’re wrong.