Previewing The NBA Bubble, Part III: The Gran Destino Teams

July 28th, 2020

by Alan Lu

Today, I will be previewing the eight NBA teams that will be staying at the luxurious, Gran Destino in Orlando, Florida.
(Photo: Disneyworld)

Just to get you guys caught up, I wrote Part 1 on the Yacht Club teams four days ago, and Part 2 was on the Grand Floridian teams two days. Today, the focus will be on the top teams that are currently staying at the Gran Destino. Oh, and if you haven’t already, I suggest that you guys watch NBA Desktop’s YouTube musical titled, The NBA Bubble: A Disney Musical, as this was produced by the Ringer. It is quite excellent, and you’ll be happy for having tuned in.

With all of the excitement about the NBA coming back, what’s getting lost in the shuffle is that coronavirus cases have kept coming in through the United States, even with the NBA being slated to play regular season games in Orlando, Florida starting on July 30th.  On the other hand, the NBA has done a great job of managing the adverse situation, and through their bubble and rigorous testing, they have kept the number of cases down to a minimum, which comparatively, is excellent as opposed to how baseball has handled their situation and with the Miami Marlins having 17 players that tested positive for the coronavirus.

The Gran Destino is said to be a state-of-the-art hotel that will feature teams with the very best records, as teams such as the Los Angeles Lakers, Los Angeles Lakers, Milwaukee Bucks, Toronto Raptors, Boston Celtics, Miami Heat, Denver Nuggets, and the Utah Jazz were invited to stay there. All of the teams that are staying at the Yacht Club will be playing in eight regular season seeding games.  The play-in tournaments and the playoffs will then begin in mid-August, and that is where things will really kick off.

However, not all of the players that are eligible to play on July 30th will do so, and some will elect to turn down the invite.  The major concern is the coronavirus situation that has impacted the world, and the health risks involved of playing could be too much to bear.  A couple of players have already turned down the offer to keep playing this season, but for those who will be there, they have the opportunity to help their team get to the playoffs, and to fight for the chance to win the NBA championship this year.  Just to get you acquainted with how these lists are made, here is a breakdown of each team, and they are ranked in order, as the teams likely to finish with the best records at the end of the regular season will be ranked at the top of this list.

For the purposes of this article, this is to project which teams will likely finish with the most wins at the end of the regular season, which seed they may end up with after facing teams in Orlando, and who is the most likely to win the title.  When the season wraps up, perhaps we will explore which teams will advance in the playoffs and take a look at playoff match-ups. Without further ado, here is my write-up of what to expect for the rest of the season.

The Los Angeles Lakers are led by the superstar duo of LeBron James and Anthony Davis, and they are the title favorites in 2020.
(Photo:
Steve Dykes/Getty Images)

1. Los Angeles Lakers

The Los Angeles Lakers swung a blockbuster trade for Anthony Davis to pair him up with mega-star LeBron James and the Lakers immediately became prime contenders for the title this season.  The Lakers have played really well this season as they have the best record among teams in the Western Conference, and they have also received strong play from others such as Kyle Kuzma, Dwight Howard, Danny Green, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, JaVale McGee, and Alex Caruso. Even better, they also added veteran shooters J.R. Smith and Dion Waiters to give their roster some scoring punch off the bench. In addition, the Lakers’ new head coach, Frank Vogel has done a very good job in managing this team. He has already eclipsed last year’s win total, and the Lakers could go for 55 or possibly more to close out the regular season.

The Lakers are a very good offensive team.  They are tops in the league in field-goal percentage, and they excel at making two-point shots to score the basketball.   They also pass the ball well, but they rate as in the middle of the pack in three-point percentage, and are below average at taking care of the basketball.

They are also a very good defensive team.  They do a very good job of forcing misses and preventing opponents from scoring, and they also excel at hauling in rebounds.  Plus, they do a terrific job of blocking shots and getting steals in games.

In head-to-head matchups, the Lakers generally fare well against the top 4 teams in both the Western and Eastern conferences.  They have beaten Denver, Utah, and Milwaukee twice, and have split games against Milwaukee and Boston.  They lost in their only matchup to Toronto and have won just one of three games against the LA Clippers, but they won recently against them just before the suspended was suspended.  Also, they have fared well against Western Conference teams that are slated to go in the 5-8 range in the playoffs, and they have defeated Oklahoma City, Dallas, and Memphis three times each.

Prediction:
The Los Angeles Lakers were clearly hitting their stride just before the season was suspended due to the coronavirus, and they arguably have the best tandem in the NBA in having LeBron James and Anthony Davis.  They had a convincing win recently over the Los Angeles Clippers, and the Lakers look to be the frontrunners to win the title this season.

End of Season Projection:
1st in the West, at home against the winner of the play-in game between Memphis and Portland in the 1st Round

Milwaukee Bucks’ superstar forward, Giannis Antetokounmpo could be in line to receive his 2nd NBA MVP award when the 2019-20 regular season concludes.
(Photo:
Noah K. Murray/USA Today Sports)

2. Milwaukee Bucks

The Milwaukee Bucks were considered a prime contender a year ago as they had the reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo, but they were stunned by losing in 6 games to the Kawhi Leonard-led Toronto Raptors in the Eastern Conference Finals.  Now with Leonard no longer playing for an Eastern Conference team, the Bucks have been free to run the table out in the East, and they are by far the favorites to come out of the East once again.  Plus, head coach Mike Budenholzer is known for being one of the best coaches in the game, and he has a track record of running solid offenses for his team. Despite their strong record, and in having one of the best players in the game, questions still loom on whether or not if they are a real or a merely a fringe contender for this year’s title.

Giannis Antetokounmpo is a vastly athletic point forward that can dominate the game on both ends of the floor.  He averages nearly 30 points and 14 rebounds per game, and he also is a gifted facilitator and defender.  Plus, Khris Middleton and Eric Bledsoe do a solid job of shooting and scoring the basketball, and Middleton has been a solid number two option for the Bucks.  Brook Lopez’s shooting is down however, but the Bucks have received solid play from George Hill, Wes Matthews, Kyle Korver, and Donte DiVincenzo.  However, there are concerns on whether or not if Giannis’ lack of a consistent outside shot will get in the way of his team’s title chances come playoff time, in addition to questions if they can trust Khris Middleton, Eric Bledsoe, or Brook Lopez to reliably contribute and score if Giannis is being held in check.  In the meantime, the Bucks are the only team so far to have won at least 50 games this season.

Milwaukee is a very good offensive team.  They are tops in points scored per game, and they can put on points in a hurry.  They also really excel at making two-point shots, and they pass the ball very well.  However, they rate as in the middle of the pack in shooting threes, and they need to do a better job of taking care of the basketball.

They are also a strong defensive team.  They really excel at forcing opponents to miss shots and excel at preventing them from scoring often, and Milwaukee also is a terrific rebounding team.  They also do a great job of blocking shots, but they don’t collect nearly as many steals as the other teams do.

Surprisingly, Milwaukee has done just an average job of winning games against the other top 4 teams in the East or West, otherwise known as the other teams in their hotel.  The Bucks are unbeaten against the Clippers and Toronto, and have split games against the Lakers, Boston, and Utah, but have yet to beat Denver or Miami this year.   They do a much better job of defeating Eastern Conference teams that are slated to go in the 5-8 range in the playoffs, as they have won a majority of their games each against those teams.

Prediction:
Milwaukee has run the table out in the East, but they have struggled more when facing the top teams in the NBA.  Expect for this trend to continue, as they haven’t really solved their biggest internal issues, which seems to be their lack of credible scoring threats outside of Giannis in the playoffs, and Giannis’ outside shooting woes.  If that continues, they could be headed for potentially a surprise exit in the playoffs, just like last year.  If that happens again, Milwaukee will actually have to go out and get another superstar in the offseason to pair up with Giannis, much like how the Clippers acquired Paul George to team up with Kawhi last summer.

End of Season Projection:
1st in the East, at home against Brooklyn in Game 1 of the 1st Round

Los Angeles Clippers’ superstar forwards, Kawhi Leonard (on the right) and Paul George (on the left) could lead their team very far in the playoffs, and their team is right in the mix among contenders to vie for the title this year.
(Photo:
Daniel Dunn/USA Today Sports)

3. Los Angeles Clippers

The Clippers unexpectedly became one of the prime contenders to win the title this year when they signed Kawhi Leonard and acquired Paul George via trade in the offseason, as they have teamed up to make a formidable duo out in the West.  Leonard is one of the best players in the game, and Paul George is a multi-All-Star that can really impact the game.  Leonard’s superb ability to score, combined with having strong playmaking, rebounding, and tremendous defensive skills makes him an elite player, and teamed up with George, together they are an elite tandem. Lou Williams and Montrezl Harrell have played exceptionally well off the bench, Pat Beverley is a feisty, tough as nails point guard that plays terrific defense, and Landry Shamet is a solid marksman from beyond the arc.  Plus, they also acquired Marcus Morris from the New York Knicks midseason, but they had to part with former wingman Maurice Harkless in that trade. In addition, they also have one of the best coaches in the game in head coach Doc Rivers, who led the 2008 Boston Celtics to win the championship that year.

Leonard and George have also sat out plenty of games due to rest or injury, so the Clippers could have won even more games in the regular season otherwise.  The Clippers are an above average offensive team that can score a lot of points, and they are above average in making shots from the field.  However, they rank as below average in passing or taking care of the basketball, and they will need to do a better job in those categories.

They are also a pretty good defensive team.  They do a very good job of forcing misses, and they also rebound the ball very well.  They rank as above average in preventing their opponents from scoring, but they do not get many steals or blocks in games.

One potential concern is how well will the Clippers play with Marcus Morris on their team.  They have had their ups and downs with him.  They have lost 3 games in a row with him, then won 6 games in a row with him, and are 8-4 with him on the team.  They have beaten Houston, Philly, Oklahoma City, and Denver with him on the floor, but they have also lost to Boston, Philly, and the LA Lakers, as he was held to just one point in his team’s lost to the Lakers.

In head-to-head matchups, they rate decently against the other teams in their hotel.  The Clippers have beaten the Lakers twice, but looked startlingly out of sync in their latest loss to them.  They have fared well against Toronto and Miami, but they have yet to beat Milwaukee this season.  The Clippers have also fared well against the Western Conference teams that are slated to go in the 5-8 range, as they have beaten each of those teams twice this season.

Prediction:

At times, the Los Angeles Clippers have looked like the team to beat, and other times, they have gotten beat by teams that they should have pounced upon on paper.  Their decision to rest players have infuriated some, and their seemingly callous regard of the regular season have left people to debate if they are worthy contenders.  They recently traded for Marcus Morris while having to part with defensive specialist Maurice Harkless, and so far the reviews seem to be mixed. 

They are 8-4 with Marcus Morris on the Clippers, but he looked terrible in his team’s loss to the Lakers.  There is a real concern that he could shoot his teams out of games, while his proponents argue that he adds another scoring option to their mix.  When Kawhi and Paul George are on their game, they can look unbeatable, but their team’s uncertain chemistry right now could potentially lead to underwhelming results in the playoffs.

End of Season Projection:
2nd in the West, at home against Dallas in the 1st Round

Toronto Raptors’ star forward Pascal Siakam and star point guard, Kyle Lowry have led their team to a very good record this season.
(Photo:
Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)

4. Toronto Raptors

The defending champions lost Kawhi Leonard to the Los Angeles Clippers via free agency, and it was thought that there would be a significant dropoff in the Raptors’ play this season.  Not so fast.  Due to the superb coaching of head coach Nick Nurse, and strong performances from star big man, Pascal Siakam, steady play from Kyle Lowry, Fred VanVleet, and Serge Ibaka, and much improved play from players such as Norman Powell and OG Anunoby, the Raptors are once again, a deep team that has solid talent up and down their roster.  Pascal Siakam has continued his ascent as he made his first All-Star team, and he has been Toronto’s most valuable player this season.

As a team, Toronto boasts having a strong defensive unit.  They are tops in the league in three-point percentage defense and in least points allowed per game, as they really excel at forcing misses and at preventing opponents from scoring often.  Plus, they will grab rebounds in volume, though they tend to get out-rebounded by their opposition.  Toronto gets many steals per game, but they are about in the middle of the pack in blocks per game.

They are also an above average offensive team.  They do a good job of making threes, and they also pass the ball well.  They rank as above average in scoring and at taking care of the basketball, but they rank as below average in field-goal percentage this season.

Toronto generally has struggled against the top 4 teams in both the Eastern and Western Conference.  They are undefeated against the Lakers and the Jazz, but have yet to beat Milwaukee, Miami, the Clippers, or Denver, and have a losing record in head-to-head matchups against Boston.  They have fared noticeably better against the Eastern Conference teams that are slated in the 5-8 range, as they have posted winning records in head-to-head matchups against Indiana, Philly, Brooklyn, and Orlando.

Prediction:

Toronto has had a terrific season under head coach Nick Nurse, and they have fared better than anybody could have predicted from them this season.  Pascal Siakam is a superstar big man that could potentially win the Most Improved award yet again, and he has been one of the best players in the Eastern Conference.  Toronto has a very good group of guards, as well as an underrated group of wing players and big men that make them a deep team. 

However, they have a less than stellar record against the other top teams in the East, as they have had losing records in head-to-head matchups against Milwaukee, Boston, and Miami alike.  Toronto will be a very competitive team in the playoffs, but they might be a year away from being legitimate contenders once again as they may need another superstar to pair up with Siakam, but if they do get eliminated, they will be a tough out in the playoffs.

End of Season Projection:
2nd in the East, at home against Orlando in Game 1 of the 1st Round

Boston Celtics’ star players, Kemba Walker and Jayson Tatum have helped the Celtics play well this season.
(Photo:
Marty Schwalm/The Associated Press)

5. Boston Celtics

The Boston Celtics have decided to part with Kyrie Irving and Marcus Morris in the offseason as they replaced him with Kemba Walker, and in the offseason Kemba, Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, and Marcus Smart all played for Team USA in the 2019 World Championships.  A strange thing happened along the way, the Celtics suddenly no longer were the dysfunctional, mid-tier playoff team that disappointed last season.  Combined with very good coaching from head coach Brad Stevens and the budding chemistry of their players, they started to gel as Jayson Tatum developed into becoming a rising star, and he made his first All-Star team, Jaylen Brown also played very well, and the Celtics suddenly look like a contender that they were supposed to be last year, as they are now one of the best teams in the East.

Boston is one of the best defensive teams in the league.  They do a great job of forcing misses and preventing opponents from scoring the basketball, and they will also collect numerous steals and blocks in games.  In addition, they are also a very good rebounding team that will tend to out-rebound their opponents.

On offense, they rank to be about average.  They do a fairly good job of scoring the basketball, and they are above average in making three-point shots.  The Celtics also do a good job of taking care of the basketball.  However, they are below average in team field-goal percentage, and they do not collect nearly as many assists as their opponents get in games.

In head-to-head matchups, Boston has done fairly well against the other top 4 teams in the East, and they have been average when matched up against the top 4 teams in the West.  In particular, they tend to split games against those teams, but have won 2 of 3 games against Toronto, and are undefeated against Miami so far.  However, their results against the Eastern Conference teams that are slated in the 5-8 range right now for the playoffs is mixed.  They are unbeaten against Orlando, but have really struggled against Philly and Brooklyn.

Prediction:

Boston has been a sleeping giant amidst teams in the East, and their cohesiveness and strong chemistry has allowed them to be one of the top teams in that conference.  Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown have both played really well this season, and Kemba Walker seems to be willing to take on more of a supporting role than Kyrie ever did in Boston.  Boston is a young, talented team that has a deep roster, and they are well-coached, as they are led by head coach Brad Stevens, and Boston could actually be a sleeper candidate to emerge as the team from the East to the NBA Finals this season.

End of Season Projection: 3rd in the East, at home against Indiana in the 1st Round

Miami Heat’s superstar forward, Jimmy Butler is a primary reason why Miami has played so well this season.
(Photo:
Rick Bowmer/Associated Press)

6. Miami Heat

The Miami Heat signed superstar wing player, Jimmy Butler in the offseason, and they also added rookie guard Kendrick Nunn, as both have played really well this season.  Tyler Herro also has turned in a strong rookie season, and Bam Adebayo made his first All-Star team.  The Heat got off to a really good start, and they are currently 41-24 right now this year. With the guidance of veteran head coach Erik Spoelstra, who has won multiple titles, the Heat will be in good hands as they will be a tough team for opponents to face in the playoffs.

All-Star forward Jimmy Butler is a very good all-around player, and center Bam Adebayo is a very solid big man that has strong playmaking and defensive skills, and both players are what make the team go.  Goran Dragic adds solid offensive skills, as he has thrived in a 6th man role, and Kendrick Nunn, Duncan Robinson, and Tyler Herro both are very good shooters and scorers in their roles.  Plus, the Heat also has a group of 3 and D players and energetic defensive specialists to round out their rotation.

As a team, the Miami Heat shot the ball really well, especially from downtown.  They are first in three-point percentage, and they also do a good job of moving the basketball to get assists. However, they rank in the middle of the pack in points scored per game, as they will slow the tempo compared to other teams.  They also do a below average job of taking care of the basketball.

They also are a good defensive team.  They do a good job of forcing misses on the defensive end, and they also excel at preventing opponents from scoring often.  The Heat also rebound the ball very well, but rarely collect steals or blocks in relation to other teams.

In head-to-head matchups, the Heat have fared well against Milwaukee and Toronto, but have struggled against Boston this year.  They also have not fared quite as well against the top 4 teams out in the West, but they have really excelled against the other teams that are slated to make the playoffs out in the East.

Prediction:

Miami got off to a very fast start, and Jimmy Butler has made Miami a solid playoff team once again.  They have also received strong play from unexpected sources, as Kendrick Nunn, Duncan Robinson, and Tyler Herro are young players that have really excelled in complementary roles.  Bam Adebayo has played terrifically as the man in the middle for Miami, and Goran Dragic has excelled in a sixth man role off the bench.  The downside is that they have started to taper off a bit, and they have also struggled against Boston.  The Celtics might potentially be a bad matchup for Miami based on their head-to-head record, and the Heat have struggled against the top teams in the West, but Miami might have a legitimate shot at beating most of the other teams in the East.

End of Season Projection:
4th seed in the East, at home against Philadelphia in Game 1 of the 1st Round

Denver’s super skilled center, Nikola Jokic is the best player on his team, and he could help his team get a top 4 playoff seed in the West this season once again.
(Photo:
David Zalubowski/Associated Press)

7. Denver Nuggets

Nikola Jokic is one of the best players in the NBA, as he is a smart, skilled big man that can make shots from all over the floor, is a very good rebounder, and he is also an excellent facilitator that can rack up assists.  Jamal Murray and Will Barton are scoring guards that can put the ball in the hoop, and both Paul Millsap and Jerami Grant can knock down shots and defend when they are on the floor.  Plus, they also have a talented group of young players such as Monte Morris and Michael Porter Jr. to help round out their rotation.  Head coach Mike Malone has done a good job for his team this year. Even more interesting, is that second round rookie center, Bol Bol could be poised to make his debut after returning from a foot injury, and he could give the Nuggets another exciting young player to add to the mix, as he possesses solid athleticism, shooting ability, and defensive skills.

Denver ranks as an above average offensive team.  They excel at knocking down two-point shots, and they pass and take care of the basketball really well.  However, they rank as around middle of the pack in making threes, and they rank as below average in points scored per game due to playing at a slower pace than most teams.

Defensively, they rank as above average.  They do an above average job of forcing misses, and they also excel at getting their opponents to miss three-point shots.  They do a good job of preventing opponents from scoring as they will slow down the tempo, and the Nuggets will get plenty of steals in games.   Denver will also tend to out-rebound their opposition, but they are below average in blocking shots.

Denver generally fared well in head-to-head matchups.  They have fared well against the LA Lakers and the Utah Jazz in head-to-head matchups, and they have also split games against the LA Clippers.  They also generally have matched up well against the top 4 teams in the East.  Against the Western Conference teams that are slated in the 5-8 range in their conference, Denver has been just average against them, as they have split games against Oklahoma City and Houston, have fared well against Memphis, but has struggled against Dallas this year.

Prediction:

Denver has been a very good team in the regular season for a couple of years now, and they will likely be a solid playoff team this season.  They will need their superstar center Nikola Jokic to get healthy, as he recently was detected as having the coronavirus.  Once Jokic can be cleared to play, Denver will be back to competing for the title.  They have actually fared quite well against the other top teams in the league, and they will have to bounce back from last year’s disappointing 2nd Round playoff loss to Portland to show that they are legitimate contenders this year.

End of Season Projection:

3rd seed in the West, at home against Houston in Game 1 of the 1st Round

Utah Jazz’s superstars Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell have helped their team play well this season, and they could lock up a top 4 seed in the West if they continue to play well in Orlando.
(Photo:
Trent Nelson/The Salt Lake Tribune)

8. Utah Jazz

The Utah Jazz have consistently placed 5th in the West for the past several seasons, and they are ranked 4th in the West right now, as they have 41 of 64 games under head coach Quin Snyder.  Superstar guard Donovan Mitchell has been a very good shooter and scorer for his team, as he can make solid plays on both ends of the floor.

2-time defensive player of the year, Rudy Gobert is a defensive ace that possesses terrific rebounding and defensive skills, and he is also a very efficient scorer inside the paint.  The Jazz also acquired Mike Conley and Jordan Clarkson to boost their offense, and Joe Ingles is another sharpshooter that can really space the floor for their team. Also, Bojan Bogdanovic is a terrific shooter that has excelled as a scorer this year.  However, Bogdanovic is out due to getting surgery right now, and will be unavailable to play in Orlando.

As a team, the Utah Jazz shoot the ball really well, and in fact, they are first in three-point percentage this year.  However, they also play at a slow tempo, so they rank below average in points scored per game.  They also do not collect nearly as many assists in comparison to other teams, and they also have somewhat struggled to take care of the basketball this year.

They are also a good defensive team.  They excel at forcing misses, and they do a good job of preventing their opponents from scoring in games.  They also rebound the ball very well, but Utah actually really struggles to get steals and blocks on the defensive end.

In head-to-head matchups, Utah has fared quite well against the LA Clippers, but has struggled against the Lakers and the Nuggets.  They generally have struggled against teams in their hotel, and they are winless against Toronto.  On the plus side, they have fared decently against Western Conference teams that are not in the top 4 of their conference that are slated to make the playoffs, as they have played well against Dallas and Memphis.

Prediction:

The Utah Jazz will face a fairly tough schedule in Orlando, as they will play the Lakers twice, and they will also play Oklahoma City, Dallas, and New Orleans this season.  Their top two players, Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert have gotten the coronavirus this year, and there were reports of the two having a feud before they squashed it. 

On the other hand, Bojan Bogdanovic will be out for the rest of the season, as he elected to get surgery.  Utah will be a bit shorthanded, as they won’t have their full roster.  As a result, they could potentially slip in the standings, as only a few games separates the current third best team in the West to the current seventh best team in the West right now.

End of Season Projection:
4th seed in the West, on the road against Oklahoma City in Game 1 of the 1st Round

Thank you for reading Part 3 of the NBA bubble write-up. To recap, here are the NBA power rankings amongst the 22 teams (that are separated into 3 tiers, grouped by hotels), and the 8 teams at the bottom will not be in Orlando. The Gran Destino teams are ranked 1-8, the Grand Floridian teams are ranked 9-16, and the Yacht Club teams are ranked 17-22.

The 2019-20 NBA Power Rankings

  1. Los Angeles Lakers
  2. Milwaukee Bucks
  3. Los Angeles Clippers
  4. Toronto Raptors
  5. Boston Celtics
  6. Miami Heat
  7. Denver Nuggets
  8. Utah Jazz
  9. Oklahoma City Thunder
  10. Philadelphia 76ers
  11. Houston Rockets
  12. Dallas Mavericks
  13. Indiana Pacers
  14. Orlando Magic
  15. Memphis Grizzlies
  16. Brooklyn Nets
  17. Portland Trail Blazers
  18. New Orleans Pelicans
  19. Sacramento Kings
  20. Phoenix Suns
  21. San Antonio Spurs
  22. Washington Wizards
  23. Charlotte Hornets*
  24. Chicago Bulls*
  25. New York Knicks*
  26. Detroit Pistons*
  27. Atlanta Hawks*
  28. Minnesota Timberwolves*
  29. Cleveland Cavaliers*
  30. Golden State Warriors*

(* denotes that this team was not invited to Orlando and are automatically eliminated from the playoffs. Their rank here is dictated purely based on their regular season win percentage during the 2019-20 NBA season.)

(Side note part II: Unfortunately, Golden State is ranked 30th here. Technically, they had the worst record this year, as they won just 15 of 65 games. Klay Thompson missed the entire season, and Stephen Curry was only healthy for a few games this year. I do expect them to come back strong in 2021.)

End of Season Predictions:

To save you some time, our award picks was basically included in this link via Facebook. But in case if you’d like to know anyways, here are our award picks as well as my playoff predictions.

Projected NBA Regular Season MVP:
Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks

Projected 2019-20 Head Coach of the Year:
Nick Nurse, Toronto Raptors

Projected 2019-20 Defensive Player of the Year:
Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks

Projected 2019-20 NBA Rookie of the Year:
Ja Morant, Memphis Grizzlies

Here is my pick for the executive of the year award category.

Projected 2019-20 NBA Executive of the Year:

Lawrence Frank, Los Angeles Clippers

This is a tough one. Los Angeles Lakers’ executive, Rob Pelinka swung a huge trade to get Anthony Davis, which put their team right at the top of the list of title contenders, but it was also known that the Lakers had heavily coveted for Davis for quite awhile, and the rational thing for the Pelicans to do would be to trade him to get numerous assets to help their rebuilding process, but the Los Angeles Clippers came out of nowhere to get both Kawhi Leonard and Paul George. When they acquired both on the same day in mid-July, that was the jaw-dropping moment of the 2019 off-season.

2020 NBA Playoff Preview:

Milwaukee Bucks’ superstar point forward, Giannis Antetokounmpo, and Los Angeles Lakers’ legendary point forward LeBron James could potentially square off against each other in the 2020 NBA Finals. Meanwhile, Los Angeles Clippers’ superstar forward, Kawhi Leonard will hope to prevent that matchup from happening in the postseason.
(Photo:
Morry Gash, The Associated Press)

Here are my 2019-20 NBA playoff predictions:

(9) Portland over (8) Memphis in a close, one game playoff.

1st Round – West

(1) Los Angeles Lakers over (9) Portland Trailblazers in 5 games
(5) Oklahoma City Thunder over (4) Utah Jazz in 6 games

(6) Houston Rockets over (3) Denver Nuggets in 7 games
(2) Los Angeles Clippers over (7) Dallas Mavericks in 6 games

2nd Round – West

(1) Los Angeles Lakers over (5) Oklahoma City in 6 games
(2) Los Angeles Clippers over (6) Houston in 6 games

Western Conference Finals:

(1) Los Angeles Lakers over (2) Los Angeles Clippers in 7 games

1st Round – East

(1) Milwaukee Bucks over (8) Brooklyn Nets in 4 games
(5) Philadelphia 76ers over (4) Miami Heat in 7 games

(3) Boston Celtics over (6) Indiana Pacers in 6 games
(2) Toronto Raptors over (7) Orlando Magic in 5 games

(1) Milwaukee Bucks over (5) Philadelphia 76ers in 6 games
(2) Toronto Raptors over (3) Boston Celtics in 7 games

(1) Milwaukee Bucks over (2) Toronto Raptors in 7 games

Projected 2020 NBA Finals:

(1) Los Angeles Lakers over (1) Milwaukee Bucks in 6 games.

Projected 2020 NBA Finals MVP:
LeBron James, Los Angeles Lakers

There you have it, as that is the write-up for Part 3 of previewing the bubble amongst NBA teams in Orlando. It’ll be fun to watch NBA basketball over the next several months. Thank you for reading.

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