Culture of Hoops

2020-21 NBA Season: What and When Will It Happen?

There is still a lot up in the air regarding the 2020-21 NBA season.

The pandemic definitely took its toll in 2020. And it wasn’t just on professional sports leagues and other sources of entertainment, but on the world, in general. It’s disgusting when you think about it; young kids are forced to take all their classes online, and then they can’t even go play in a park because they are all closed.

I guess this is the new normal.

But with all that said, the old normal seems to be coming back a little bit. We have football currently running, and the Dodgers just won the World Series. Not to mention the fact that the NBA Playoffs resumed in a bubble and the Larry O’Brien Trophy made it back to Los Angeles with the Lakers.

But what will happen next season? When will it start? What will the format be? And of course, what’s the outlook for top teams and players?

When Will the NBA Season Begin?

“It’s a fluid situation.” Up to the beginning of November, reports have been that the 2020-21 season would begin no sooner than the end of December. However, new reports show two potential dates. One as early as December 22nd and the other, after the New Year, in mid-January (the 18th).

The Christmas start makes sense. Sticking to tradition means Christmas basketball with classic match-ups. That said, it’s been a weird freakin’ year. And even though teams got to take months off during the pandemic – eight of them took the whole spring and summer off– the Players Association, and player reps such as Iguodala are bringing up concerns about the short offseason. I mean, it’s not my place to say, but because of this, I wouldn’t be surprised to see a January start.

Will they Play in a Bubble?

It’s doubtful that the NBA will return to bubble play, especially after the MLB and NFL have been successful at keeping their seasons going with minimal bumps and bruises outside of bubble play. LeBron James recently stated that it was mentally and emotionally challenging. Typically, the longest road stretch an NBA player deals with is about ten days. However, they were in the bubble, away from family, friends, and their own beds for something like 96 days. I gotta’ admit, that sounds pretty rough. So, It’s highly doubtful the players will agree to do an extended version of that.

The viable option on the table is limiting travel with a schedule that focuses on back-to-back home games. So, each visiting team would stay for two-nights to help limit travel and the risk of contracting and spreading COVID19. This would be especially helpful for teams on the extreme east and west of the country – the Blazers, Lakers, Clippers, Kings, Knicks, Nets, Heat, et al. Who knows, if it works, it might be something that sticks around even after COVID19 is controlled with vaccines.

When Will the NBA Season Finish?

The idea is to have the season end in April like normal, so the 2021-22 season can get back on track and start in October, like normal. That said, exact playoff dates are not yet set. They also haven’t made it clear when exactly the All-Star break will be, if there is one.

Who Are the Favorites in 2020-2021?


Luka Doncic, Giannis Antetokounmpo, and LeBron James are the top three odds-on favorites to win the NBA regular season MVP award. As far as the 2021 NBA title is concerned, the Los Angeles Lakers are early favorites to win again at +380. They are followed by their in-arena rivals, the LA Clippers, at +450. The Milwaukee Bucks are right behind the Clips at +600, and the Brooklyn Nets take the No. 4 most-likely-to-win spot at +1000 with a healthy Kevin Durant coming into the mix. The Golden State Warriors round out the Top 5 as they are looking to return strong with a bit of rebuilding centered around a strong, healthy corps of veterans, such as Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green.

We’ll have to wait and see what ends up happening. Of course, much of this depends on how hard the second wave of COVID19 hits the United States. As we get further through November and push into December, we’ll likely have a much clearer idea of what the 2020-21 NBA season will look like.

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