The suspension of the NBA has impacted every team across the entire league. Only 22 teams will resume the season under some of the strangest circumstances in league history. Today, we take a look at the teams in the Southwest Division.
Analyzing the Southwest Division Post-NBA Suspension
San Antonio Spurs
The San Antonio Spurs might have more on the line than any other team currently not occupying a playoff spot. The Spurs have made the postseason in 22 consecutive seasons and can set a record if they sneak in this year. Unfortunately, they’ll have to do it without former All-star LaMarcus Aldridge, who’s out for the season after undergoing shoulder surgery. Gregg Popovich will need to pull off a miracle in order to keep their remarkable playoff streak alive.
New Orleans Pelicans
With Zion Williamson back in their lineup, the New Orleans Pelicans were making a push for the playoffs before the season’s suspension. The pause has helped the rookie get in better shape, which would be troubling for the rest of the league. With a rejuvenated Williamson, anything is possible for this exciting team.
The Memphis Grizzlies have benefitted from the pause as both Jaren Jackson Jr. and Brandon Clarke have recovered from their injuries. However, the league has tried to replicate each team’s remaining schedule for the resumption of play in Orlando. This is bad news for the Grizzlies since they have a tough schedule for the remainder of the season. Fortunately, every team will only play eight more regular-season games. This will make it extremely difficult for anyone to catch Memphis and force a play-in tournament.
The Dallas Mavericks are an interesting case since the pause has affected their stars in opposite ways. The time off has allowed Kristaps Porzingis to feel more comfortable with his body following an ACL tear two years ago. However, there have also been reports claiming that Luka Doncic is out of shape, which could impact the Mavericks’ chances of a playoff run. The good news is that Doncic still has a month left to train before going to Orlando.
The Houston Rockets have arguably benefitted the most due to the season’s suspension. After initially experiencing success with their small-ball lineup, Houston slowed down and went 1-4 before the pause. The time off will definitely help P.J. Tucker, who looked worn out from playing center every game. Furthermore, James Harden seems to be in phenomenal shape, which could mean that he won’t be heading into the postseason fatigued like in years past.
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