The Los Angeles Lakers barely just won the 2019-20 NBA championship, but it’s already time to make predictions for the 2020-21 NBA season.
The season starts Tuesday after a condensed offseason, a whirlwind week of the 2020 NBA draft and free agency and a shortened season amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead of 82 games, this season will have 72 and only half of the schedule has been announced. The second half will be released sometime before the All-Star break, which will not include an All-Star game this season.
The postseason also gets a revamp with an added play-in tournament that will feature the seventh- through 10th-place teams in each conference. For these predictions, we’re selecting only the eight teams that will participate in the first round of the playoffs.
Some teams will try to host fans, but many games will be played in empty arenas. Without a bubble environment, it remains to be seen whether games will be postponed or canceled because of the coronavirus.
With so many unknowns, the Yahoo Sports NBA experts try to parse how a season unlike any other will play out. They’re in agreement that the Lakers will defend their title, but there is no other consensus.
Here are their predictions for the 2020-21 season.
2020-21 NBA playoff predictions
NBA season-opening schedule
The Golden State Warriors will open the 2020-21 season against the Brooklyn Nets (7 p.m. ET, TNT) on Tuesday. Steph Curry returns after suffering a broken hand just four games into last season to face Kevin Durant in his Nets debut.
The season-opening doubleheader concludes with the Los Angeles Clippers getting the first crack at the Lakers (10 p.m. ET, TNT).
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