What did you miss in the 2020-2021 NBA Season’s first month?

The shortest turnaround time between NBA seasons in the middle of a global pandemic has fully come to fruition. Teams are playing games in home markets, teams are also impacted by games being postponed, and a little drama in the NBA’s world still exists as Jams Harden and Kyrie Irving has headlined that.

In case you missed the roller coaster of a season there shouldn’t be any surprises that COVID-19 has impacted the NBA as much as “bubble-less” leagues have experienced.

In case you missed it: Contributor Cody Guinn had eight bold NBA predictions before the season. While I may not agree on the MVP take I think we’re on to something here.

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Showtime Lakers are back?

Let’s start with the defending champions the Los Angeles Lakers. At the time they are currently sitting atop of the Western Conference. The Lakers are also ranked number one in defensive rating this year. No surprise they’re number one overall in the league as well right?

Lebron James has played in all 16 games as of January 22, 2021. James scored 30 points or more in the 16th game against the Milwaukee Bucks marking the first time he accomplished this in the 2020-2021 NBA season.

The biggest meltdown for the Lakers beyond opening night against the Clippers was one Monday’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day marquee game. The Lakers surrendered a 19-point lead against Golden State at home. Bah humbug!

Brooklyn we go hard!

The inevitable happened last week as James Harden found his way with a one-way ticket to Brooklyn. The newly added Net is only three games in and the Nets are 2-1. Their biggest failure thus far is ironically when Kyrie Irving returned to the lineup against the Cleveland Cavaliers this past Wednesday. Brooklyn would eventually lose the game to the Cavaliers 147-135. The concerning part is Collin Sexton dropping 43 points on 16-for-29 shooting (55-percent).

Brooklyn doesn’t come without some drama this season. Hint: we’ve been on board that they are primed to position to be the league’s “dumpster fire team”. The Nets have gone 2-2 since trading for Harden including a 0-2 sweep from the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Kyrie Irving has undergone his own circle of complications again as he was allowed to take a temporary leave of absence then, attended a party for his father and sister’s birthday celebrations. In a nutshell, he’s apologized while coming back to the Nets eventually.

All that Jazz

If there is an unexpected surprise this season I would have to side with the Utah Jazz. Currently sitting top four in the Western Conference and winners of seven games in a row set them with the league’s highest current win streak. Isn’t it interesting that Utah is also third-best in the league for defensive rating?

Utah will be in prime position all season to capture a spot in the top four if this is sustainable. The Portland Trailblazers are currently suffering a few injuries as Jusuf Nurkic went down with a broken wrist and C.J. McCollum with a sprained foot that will sideline him for four weeks.

Donovan Mitchell is the driving factor of this team offensively meanwhile the Jazz as a team can defend with former Defensive Player of the Year, Rudy Gobert. Mitchell isn’t having any kind of greater year as opposed to last season. Maybe the Jazz just got better?

Shooting fear syndrome?

If the NBA had a few basketball related diagnosis, I’d quickly diagnose Ben Simmons has being fearful of shooting. Of course, I’d probably have to go through years of schooling to receive an NBA MD title huh? Look let’s look at the numbers here shall we?

Simmons has played in 13 games this season for the 76ers and only attempted four field goals from the three-point line. Only connecting on one of those attempts. Now, something in Philly is cooking right. The 76ers currently are first place in the Eastern Conference and one of the top five teams in defensive rating this season.

“If it ain’t broke don’t fix it” applies here? Seth Curry and Shake Milton are both averaging 17 points a game. Milton is doing this off the bench. Both are looking like primed shooters and compensating for the lack of Simmons’ shooting attempts. The biggest question here is does this work for Philly in the long-run and maybe Philly made a wise decision with their offseason moves to get shooting reinforcements?

Where my Rookies at?

LaMelo Ball wasn’t the first pick of the 2020 NBA Draft but he’s definitely doing some first things. Ball becomes the youngest player to ever record a triple-double. The Hornets went on a four-game win streak recently and LaMelo is pacing his rookie class to possibly lead in the following categories: total scoring, double-digit scoring performances, rebounds, assists, and steals. He may be the earliest easiest pick for Rookie of the Year at this point.

James Wiseman, who is my Rookie of the Year pick, is quietly in Golden State averaging 11.6 points per game, 6.1 rebounds per game, and 1.5 blocks per game. Wiseman is also shooting 50-percent from the field. It would take increased responsibility for Wiseman’s game to jump beyond just an “in training” role next to Draymond Green.

One of the biggest “steals” of the draft could be Tyrese Haliburton, who was selected at 12th by the Sacramento Kings. Haliburton is currently leading all rookies in effective field goal shooting at 63.7-percent.

The New York Knicks are good at what?

Defense! That’s right defense! Would it be considered a surprise from a Tom Thibodeau-led team? Maybe not now right? The Knicks are back this year and only allowing 102.8 points per game from their opponent. This is a league-best! That’s right over some of the better rated defensive teams we’ve discussed so far.

How is that working out for the grand scheme of things? Well, the Knicks currently reside in the 8th seed out in the Eastern Conference. Maybe we thought wrong about who would hover for the last chance for a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

A little bit of early success? The Knicks have respectfully beaten the Jazz, Pacers, Bucks, and Warriors. These are games that were not impacted by COVID-19 cases and played with full potential on both sides. They’ve shown on any given that that they’re willing to compete but again no surprise to a Thibbs-led team. I’d say count on the Knicks sticking around for the playoff push.

Stephen Curry and Luka Doncic are giving us deja-vu

I released early NBA Awards predictions a couple of months ago and was sold that Luka Doncic was the go-to pick for the 2020-2021 NBA Season. However, in all fairness, Steph Curry was my runner-up.

Side-by-side Curry currently averages 28.2 points per game, 6.1 assists per game, and shooting 45.1-percent from the field (37-percent from the three-point line). Doncic is averaging 26.8 points per game, 10 rebounds per game, and 9.6 assists per game. Doncic’s shooting is almost identical from the field at 45.4-percent (28-percent from the three-point line). Luka looks better on paper as he’s scratching averaging that triple-double.

Both players are about equal shooting 20 shots a game and connecting on about nine of them. Both the Mavericks and Warriors sit close in the standings (8-7 records as of January 23, 2021). For what it’s worth Curry is having a very similar season to the 2015-2016 season when he was the NBA’s MVP. This MVP race reminds me of the 2016-2017 season. Russell Westbrook won the award averaging a triple-double while debates were heated for James Harden to also win the award that year.

Both players will have to keep their teams into some sort of contention for the playoffs. 55 wins from the Rockets couldn’t propel Harden to win the MVP in the 2016-2017 season. Westbrook ran away with the award as he led the Oklahoma City Thunder to a 47-25 record and the 6th seed in the Western Conference. So, winning more games than the other candidate didn’t necessarily persuade the voters.

Not so fast the season still is struggling with postponements!

According to the wonderful postponement tracker from Hoops Rumors, there are now officially 20 games postponed due to COVID-19. With simple math and assuming most teams played around 13-15 games by now, that’s about 5% of the 2020-2021 season games postponed.

Looking at the bigger picture your favorite team might have an extra night off because the Celtics, Wizards, or Grizzlies have caused a mandatory week or two off against coming in contact with any other team.

The part we’re all awaiting is how the NBA will proceed after February. There are games scheduled for all teams through the first week of March and then, the NBA is set to take a short “All-Star break” before resuming its season. By the way, where and when the teams will play its second leg of the season has not been determined.

I’ve personally felt like the NBA will return to a bubble for a shorter time given that no sports league has been able to accomplish holding off postponements due to COVID-19. If vaccines bring forth herd immunity by the summer perhaps a bubble to finish the season by the playoffs could allow teams to play playoff games in their own market by the summertime.


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Shoot or Pass Podcast – Episode 50: Return of the Kyrie?

In an NBA season full of twists and turns (and COVID), a couple of things are certain: the Miami HEAT are not playing up to expectations (16:20) and neither are the OKC Thunder (25:00). Chevy, Gabe, and Rhoby celebrate the 50th episode of the podcast by breaking down the trade that could have been in Philly (20:15), who needs to get traded in New York and in the ATL (28:15), the team in the East best equipped to defeat the Brooklyn Nets in a playoff series (33:35), and a “close” personal encounter that was had with LeBron James (39:25). Dribble, Dunk, or Flop is back and the crew breaks down who they are loving, lusting, and hating as TRADE TARGETS (44:57), SUPER TEAMS (49:30), and TOP YOUNG DUOS (52:57)!


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The Shoot or Pass Podcast from Baseline Times is your go-to NBA podcast for all updated coverage, news, entertainment, and podcast beyond the usual weird hot takes from major media. Make sure you subscribe to us on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, and more! Welcome to our overseas listeners from India streaming on the Gaana and Jiosaavn app as well!

Shoot or Pass Podcast – Episode 49: James Harden’s Dumpster-Fire Party

BREAKING NEWS: The Dumpster Fire Party in Brooklyn just got BIGGER (pun may or may not be intended)! Chevy, Gabe, and Rhoby break down the BLOCKBUSTER trade that left the league shook today (02:10), the COVID protocol conundrum (16:40), whether the Joker can actually average a triple-double this season (26:40), if the time is now to start LaMelo Ball (31:42), how good the Pacers have been (39:30), share the teams they feel have the best bench unit to start (45:15), and name the STUDS and DUDS of the season so far (51:48).


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Don’t miss out on the action as we track the standings for you all season long always up-to-date

The Shoot or Pass Podcast from Baseline Times is your go-to NBA podcast for all updated coverage, news, entertainment, and podcast beyond the usual weird hot takes from major media. Make sure you subscribe to us on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, and more! Welcome to our overseas listeners from India streaming on the Gaana and Jiosaavn app as well!

Shoot or Pass Podcast – Episode 48: 2020-2021 NBA Opening Reactions & Overreactions

New year, same old crew giving you the best NBA content! Chevy, Gabe, & Rhoby reunite to break down everything that’s gone down in the 2020-21 season so far..starting with Ben Simmons FINALLY attempting and making a three (03:25)! They tell you why Christian Wood is a worthy MIP candidate (14:15), the reason you still shouldn’t discount the Golden State Warriors (08:40), the most surprising team so far (19:30), the curious case Luka CHONKcic (30:30), and the winner of the John Wall-Russell Westbrook trade (32:30). Of course, no start of the season is complete without some early OVERREACTIONS (35:55)


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Sports Leagues Should Bubble Up or Shut Down

Talking to you NBA, NFL, and NCAA

Under normal circumstances, this would be my favorite time of the sports calendar. College football is in its bowl season and the CFP is coming shortly. College basketball has started up and made it to league play. The NFL is about to start its own playoffs. The NBA has started its season with key Christmas matchups and has several compelling storylines. (I’m also told the NHL season is starting up though I don’t know much about it as I’m admittedly not a big hockey fan – don’t hold that against me hockey stans).

For obvious reasons, this is not a normal year. To make matters worse, most models predict the number of COVID-19 cases and deaths to increase over the next few months. This from an already astronomical case count occurring right now in the USA!

The Real Toll

Many athletes, coaches and staff have already contracted the virus even with all of the precautions that have been put in place. Fortunately, reactions and long-term effects have not been severe for most athletes as they are largely young and in good physical shape.

Abstractly, it may be easy to put this out of America’s collective conscience with just statistics and a lot of fake news stating that this virus is no big deal. Less so when we’re talking about real people, young men in the prime of their lives who have suffered grave effects.

Jamain Stephens Jr. (Cal U FB) and Michael Ojo (FSU MBB & Serbian Pro) sadly lost their lives due to complications from COVID. Xavier Thomas (Clemson FB) had a severe case and could not breathe fully for months. Keyontae Johnson (Florida MBB) and Tommy Sweeney (BC FB & Buffalo Bills) developed heart inflammation called myocarditis that could kill them if they don’t abstain from strenuous activity for several months. Johnson famously collapsed in game after a dunk against FSU and had to be put into a medically induced coma.

A host of high school coaches and athletes have also met with equally tragic results albeit to less fanfare. This is to say nothing of the perpetuation of the virus via spread to friends and family.

Watching sports has now turned into a moral quandary. Especially with light at the end of the tunnel so close.

The End in Sight

It seems likely that the average American should be able to get the COVID-19 vaccine by April or May 2021. Wild speculation but I’d wager the NFL, NBA, and NCAA could get doses of the vaccine for players, coaches, and key staff by March. (Side note: this would probably require NCAA athletes to be classified as essential workers, which should effectively end their amateur status and usher in at least NIL payments. For a lot of reasons, this is the way but that is another entire separate article). Thus, we are looking at a 3 month risk window. Maybe 4 or 5 months if these leagues are not able to secure vaccines early.

Many players don’t want to participate in this high risk window. Even if they make it through physically unscathed they undergo a tremendous psychological toll as well. Duke WBB; almost all of the FCS, D2, and D3 schools; and the Ivy League decided to cancel their seasons due to COVID. You may be aware that many NFL players and high profile 2021 draft prospects also decided to opt out. Similarly, 11 NCAA bowl games have been cancelled and 17 eligible teams have decided to opt out of bowls entirely due to COVID.

Bubble Up or Shut Down

Let’s make it simple. Leagues for which it still makes financial sense to operate in a bubble and continue their season should do so. Leagues for which it doesn’t make financial sense should not play until after widespread vaccination in 2021. If you can’t afford to protect your players you can’t afford to have a season.

High income leagues like the NFL, NBA, and P5/6 NCAA revenue sports can surely afford bubbles. Some others probably cannot.

The NFL didn’t institute a bubble for their regular season due to the number of people and length of time that would be involved. The playoffs kick off on Jan 9 and the Super Bowl is on Feb 7. So, the longest period of time a team would be in their bubble is roughly a month. With the top seeds from each conference on bye for round 1 it is likely the eventual Super Bowl participants will be in bubble for less time.

Several bowl games have instituted bubbles themselves. Kudos to them, the rest should follow suit. At this point, everyone would be in their respective bubbles for a matter of weeks or even days.

The NBA and TBT proved that a bubble can be a viable thing over a longer time period in 2020. 2021 can be just as successful for them and college basketball as well.

The NCAA already announced that March Madness will take place in a bubble in Indianapolis. However, a lot of damage can be done between now and then. Short term mini-bubbles don’t seem to be the answer either as the biggest risk is not playing against other athletes who have all been frequently tested. Rather the risk that comes along with living and interacting with others in close proximity. There has been talk about each conference doing their own bubble for league play but it doesn’t seem like much traction has been made there.

Legends Coach K and Rick Pitino have publically expressed their reservations at playing a season in the height of a pandemic. The latter called for delaying the season and potentially holding May Madness. You know when Slick Rick Pitino is the voice of reason you are in uncharted territory.

It would behoove the NBA to return to the bubble model that they pioneered on such a grand scale. For 2021, the NBA and the NBAPA have agreed on COVID restrictions such as not participating in social gatherings with more than 15 people and only going to approved restaurants. But that doesn’t do a lot of good when a large portion of the COVID surge is coming from small indoor gatherings. Even if the rules are followed, they are not sufficient. And we all know how good star athletes are at following rules. Especially when women are involved.

COVID-19 has already cost us so much and the end is within our grasp. Lets not put these young men and women at further risk at the peak of this thing for mere entertainment.


The views expressed in this article are solely those of John Glowatz.

Eight Bold Predictions for the 2020-21 NBA Season

FINALLY.

The NBA is back just in time for the Holidays which means everyone has their opinion on what’s going to happen in what could be a wilder and wackier season than 2019-2020 (if that’s possible).

We all have our predictions from who’s top tier, who’s winning awards, and, of course, who’s must-have in fantasy.

But, how about we get BOLD? Time for some bold predictions for the 2020-2021 NBA season!

Looking at each team, I’ve come up with eight bold predictions for the 2020-21 NBA season. Let’s start with four that aren’t too crazy..

  1. LeBron Will NOT Decline This Season
    It’ll happen eventually, yes…but it won’t be this season. LeBron James just won a title a few months ago and will have “nagging injuries” throughout the season meaning he’ll only play in meaningful games.

    He may play fewer games than usual this season, but he’ll look like the best player in the league each game he’s in. I actually think LeBron is a front-runner for MVP rather than heading for a decline, but that’s just me!

  2. Brooklyn May Not Mesh Until February
    Many have already penciled in the Nets as a title contender in 2021, and while I don’t disagree with that, I believe it may not be pretty early.

    We’ve seen in the past, pairing a solid group of young, core players with two superstars looks great on paper, but it usually takes time to truly work, if it actually works at all. I believe by May, the Nets will be a problem, but don’t look for Brooklyn to look unbeatable at least until February.

  3. Even with No Klay, Golden State Will Finish In The Top Four In The West
    Losing Klay Thompson hurt as I thought the Warriors would be in the NBA Finals this season if at full strength.

    While that ship has sailed, I still believe led by Stephen Curry, the Warriors will be a top-four team in the West this season. Andrew Wiggins truly impressed me this offseason with his progress and Kelly Oubre Jr. looks ready to step up and fill the void left by Thompson’s injury.

    The low post duo of Draymond Green and rookie James Wiseman also intrigues me as it could be an odd pairing that produces great play on both sides of the ball. Look for the Warriors to finish in the top four above the likes of Portland and Dallas.

  4. Obi Toppin Will Look Like A Superstar In New York
    I’m not very high on the ceiling of the 2020 rookie class, but I feel in terms of placement, New York struck gold by drafting Dayton’s Obi Toppin.

    While LaMelo Ball, Isaac Okoro, and/or even James Wiseman show more promise as rookies this season, numbers alone will lead to Toppin winning Rookie of the Year as he’ll be the Knicks leading scorer over RJ Barrett, Julius Randle, and Dennis Smith Jr. He’ll even break out and drop 30 against someone like Boston or Brooklyn and have ESPN claiming he’s the “franchise-savior” for the Knicks. Easy, now.

  5. James Harden, DeMar DeRozan, and Karl-Anthony Towns Will Be Traded This Season
    All three at different times throughout the season will be on the move. Houston and James Harden are currently in an ugly, long-drawn out break up that’ll likely lead to a trade by the end of January.

    I don’t think the Spurs will find much success this season and will move the veteran DeMar DeRozan close to the trade deadline in 2021 now on March 25.

    The wildcard here is Karl-Anthony Towns and his massive contract. It’ll be tough to find a suitor, but KAT is an All-NBA player and somebody will make the move. It’s probably more likely KAT is traded after the season around the draft, but I think Minnesota will be under pressure this season and will give in to Towns’ request and ship him to either New York, Boston, or Atlanta.

  6. Luka Doncic Won’t Be MVP This Season
    If you’re a betting man or woman, Doncic is the favorite to win MVP this season, even if you ask the Shoot or Pass crew! I’m not buying it.

    As a rookie, Doncic surprised everyone with his skill, especially with his physicality. As a sophomore, he shocked and awed me as a true point guard with his ability to do everything and take over games.

    Luka won’t surprise people in 2020-21 as he’s now the number one player to watch on the scouting report of all opposing teams. If Luka is double-teamed and closely guarded all game, he doesn’t have too many second options on the Mavericks especially if Porzingis isn’t 100% all season. Doncic will put up great numbers, but won’t be as must-see TV as he’s been in the past therefore will miss out on the MVP award.

  7. Atlanta, Phoenix, and Memphis Will All Be In The NBA Playoffs
    I love all three of these teams and think they’ll all be playing into the 2021 NBA Playoffs comes the spring.

    Atlanta has a great, deep roster featuring a superstar scorer in Trae Young. They also have great size down low with the trio of John Collins, Clint Capela, and the first-round pick Onyeka Okongwu. The Hawks feature possibly the best rotation of wings in the entire NBA with Bogdan Bogdanovic, Kevin Huerter, De’Andre Hunter, Cam Reddish, and Rajon Rondo.

    I think Atlanta could sneak into the Eastern Conference Finals and possibly the Finals similar to Miami last season.

    Phoenix was the NBA Bubble regular season top team, but it wasn’t enough to sneak into the Playoffs. Imagine if they had gotten that eight seed? Could they have upset the Lakers? Possibly.

    They’re fun this year as well with the dynamic duo of Devin Booker and DeAndre Ayton. They also acquired Chris Paul, who is getting older but played well in Oklahoma City last season. Factor in Jae Crowder, Mikal Bridges, and their first-round pick Jalen Smith, the Suns will be primed for a run for the eighth-seed again in 2021.

    And finally, the Memphis Grizzlies. I believe Ja Morant will receive some MVP votes this season and Taylor Jenkins will win NBA Coach of the Year. While the Grizzlies may not be a star-studded group, they feature a strong rotation that reminds me of the Grit-and-Grind Grizzlies from a few years back.

    Morant will be joined by talented forwards Jaren Jackson Jr. and Brandon Clarke plus a solid rotation of slashers with Justice Winslow, Dillon Brooks, and Kyle Anderson. Not to mention what a draft class as the Grizzlies picked up Desmond Bane, Xavier Tillman, and Killian Tillie. Plus, the Grizzlies have a solid big to play key minutes in Jonas Valanciunas and sharp-shooter Sean McDermott to add some three-point shooting off the bench.

    I’m not saying the Grizzlies are winning a title in 2021, but they’re going to give everyone problems and I can see them advancing to the second round of the playoffs even if they have to upset a higher-seed such as the Clippers, Mavericks, or yes, even the Lakers in the first round.

  8. The 2021 NBA Champions Will Be From The Eastern Conference
    Since 2005, only two Eastern Conference teams without LeBron James have won the NBA title: Boston in 2008 and Toronto in 2019. Both teams had to take down dynasties to do so. The title chase will be a bit more wide open this season.

    The Lakers are the favorite to repeat led by LeBron and Anthony Davis, but after that, five of the six teams in the betting odds according to Odds Shark, are from the Eastern Conference.

    Brooklyn will make a late-run to win a title with Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving if both can stay healthy. Milwaukee has the best player in the NBA with two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo and a great group of shooters and will look to take the next step this season.

    Boston and Philadelphia both have great, deep teams and both will be looking to possibly make a move to get even better with the 76ers eyeing James Hardin and Boston a likely contender as a trade partner for Minnesota and Karl-Anthony Towns.

    Miami was the runner-up in 2020 and returns that entire team for this season and now, Jimmy Butler is even more motivated to make a run for a championship.

    I don’t know who, but one of those teams will win it all in 2021 by defeating the Lakers in the NBA Finals.

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Shoot or Pass Podcast – Episode 47: NBA 2020-21 Awards Predictions & Season Opening Week

‘TIS THE SEASON for some NBA BASKETBALL! Chevy, Gabe, and Rhoby preview the exciting slate of Christmas Day games- naming the team most likely to pull off the upset (09:05), who will shine under the bright lights (14:50), what matchup will produce the highest scoring game (17:17), and game picks (53:55)! The crew puts a little twist on early NBA Awards Predictions for ROY (32:50), COY (26:05), MIP (36:37), 6MOY (40:47), DPOY (45:00), and MVP (48:48) with a little game called Dribble, Dunk, or Flop. Happy holidays to all of our listeners, see you next year!


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Don’t miss out on the action as we track the standings for you all season long always up-to-date

NBA Contributor Chevall Kanhai gives you an insight into his own version of the Power Rankings weekly.

The Shoot or Pass Podcast from Baseline Times is your go-to NBA podcast for all updated coverage, news, entertainment, and podcast beyond the usual weird hot takes from major media. Make sure you subscribe to us on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, and more! Welcome to our overseas listeners from India streaming on the Gaana and Jiosaavn app as well!

NBA 2020-2021 opening week National TV schedule

With just a little over two months since the NBA last played a game, it welcomes in a new season. The NBA 2020-2021 season is set to begin on Tuesday, December 22, 2020. Your NBA 2020-2021 opening week National TV schedule is below! As always the NBA doesn’t disappoint on opening week.

Ironically the NBA gets the season to start on a week where it traditionally schedules their biggest stars together on Christmas Day. Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving make their NBA debut in Brooklyn Tuesday night for the first time. Both are welcomed back as Durant has not played since June of 2019 due to an Achilles heel rupture.

Lebron James and the Lakers look slightly remodeled and will celebrate winning the championship one last time before starting the season of defending the Larry O’Brien trophy.

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Don’t miss out on the action as we track the standings for you all season long always up-to-date

NBA Contributor Chevall Kanhai gives you an insight into his own version of the Power Rankings weekly.

The Shoot or Pass Podcast from Baseline Times is your go-to NBA podcast for all updated coverage, news, entertainment, and podcast beyond the usual weird hot takes from major media. Make sure you subscribe to us on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, and more! Welcome to our overseas listeners from India streaming on the Gaana and Jiosaavn app as well!

We’ve got you covered with the opening week festivities this Christmas week!

December 22, 2020

Golden State Warriors

7:00 PM EST - TNT

Broolyn Nets

Los Angeles Clippers

10:00 PM EST - TNT

Los Angeles Lakers

December 23, 2020

Milwuakee Bucks

7:30 PM EST

TNT

Boston Celtics

Dallas Mavericks

10:30 PM EST
ESPN

Phoenix Suns

December 25, 2020

New Orleans Pelicans

12:00 PM EST

ESPN

Miami Heat

Golden State Warriors

2:30 PM EST

ABC

Milwaukee Bucks

Brooklyn Nets

5:00 PM EST

ABC

Boston Celtics

Dallas Mavericks

8:00 PM EST

ABC

Los Angeles Lakers

Los Angeles Clippers

10:30 PM EST

ESPN

Denver Nuggets

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2020-2021 NBA Awards Predictions

The Baseline Times NBA Staff has spoken. 2020-2021 NBA Awards Predictions from our staff are in! The team predicts who you can bet on to win each award this season. All-NBA First Team and All-NBA Defensive First Team predictions are set. Check out the picks and give us the feedback as always on Twitter and/or Instagram!

2020-2021 NBA Awards Predictions

Chevall Kanhai

Cody Guinn

Gabe Lloyd

Rhoby Sala

Most Valuable Player

Luka Doncic

LeBron James

Luka Doncic

Luka Doncic

Rookie of the Year

James Wiseman

Obi Toppin

LaMelo Ball

James Wiseman

Defensive Player of the Year

Anthony Davis

G. Antetokounmpo

G. Antetokounmpo

Anthony Davis

Most Improved Player of the Year

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander

Michael Porter Jr.

Michael Porter Jr.

Michael Porter Jr.

Sixth Man of the Year

Montrezl Harrell

Tyler Herro

Spencer Dinwiddie

Montrezl Harrell

Coach of the Year

Rick Carlisle

Taylor Jenkins

Erik Spoelstra

Erik Spoelstra

2020-2021 All-NBA First Team and All-NBA Defensive First Team Predictions

Chevall Kanhai

Cody Guinn

Gabe Lloyd

Rhoby Sala

All-NBA First Team

  • Luka Doncic

  • Stephen Curry

  • LeBron James

  • Kevin Durant

  • Anthony Davis

  • Ja Morant

  • Stephen Curry

  • LeBron James

  • Jayson Tatum

  • Nikola Jokic

  • Luka Doncic

  • Stephen Curry

  • LeBron James

  • Kevin Durant

  • Nikola Jokic

  • Luka Doncic

  • Damian Lillard

  • LeBron James

  • G. Antetokounmpo

  • Anthony Davis

All-NBA Defensive First Team

  • Chris Paul

  • Jaylen Brown

  • G. Antetokounmpo

  • Bam Adebayo

  • Anthony Davis

  • Ben Simmons

  • Jrue Holiday

  • G. Antetokounmpo

  • Bam Adebayo

  • Anthony Davis

  • Chris Paul

  • Ben Simmons

  • Kawhi Leonard

  • G. Antetokounmpo

  • Anthony Davis

  • Ben Simmons

  • Marcus Smart

  • G. Antetokounmpo

  • Bam Adebayo

  • Anthony Davis


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NBA 2020-2021 Power Rankings: Preseason Edition

Welcome the guaranteed NBA 2020-2021 Preseason Power Rankings for the raw, objective, subjective, and all the commentary you want to read about in the NBA for the 2020-2021 Season. Bookmark us, follow us on Twitter and Instagram, and give me a follow on Twitter?

For our first journey, I’ll make all introductions properly (and honestly). I, Chevall Kanhai, am here to test my accuracy this season. I’ll pledge to give you the insightful NBA 2020-2021 Power Rankings that you need beyond rows of data and analytics. (Although we can’t ignore those)

Biggest Takeaways
Preseason this season had teams playing a range of 2-4 games max. Not the greatest preview for a preseason ranking this week. Preseason tea sometimes gets sipped. This leads to extremely poor judgment early on.

Should you ever disagree or extremely passionate about sharing your feedback I’m on Twitter and you can email chevallkanhai@baselinetimes.com


  • Rank: 1
  • Last Season: 52-19
  • Preseason Record: 4-0
  • Last Week:

Los Angeles Lakers
The defending champs played two preseason games without their All-Stars LeBron James and Anthony Davis. That sparked the Talen Horton-Tucker movement. Dubbed “THT”, Lebron James swears he’s special. I’ll give THT this, he’s definitely appearing better than Kyle Kuzma. If Kuzma intends on remaining a Laker, he’ll now have the motivation to earn his spot in the rotation. The Lakers finished the non-telling preseason 4-0. However, the team looks sharp and expectingly so with about 70 days last playing.


  • Rank: 2
  • Last Season: 35-37
  • Preseason Record: 2-0
  • Last Week:

Brooklyn Nets
How many of you were convinced that Kevin Durant was dearly missed in the game of basketball last season? Love him or hate him, his talent arguably places him in the top-two conversation. I am praying for Brooklyn quite frankly. Why? Because This team has the talent that can compete with the Lakers or at least make an NBA Finals for the next 2-3 years be entertaining with the way these two rosters currently are. I know, I’m being selfish here but the Nets and Durant make it hard to ignore this team can be hot quick. A big test comes early for the Nets who open the season against Golden State and the Boston Celtics (who they beat up in their last preseason game). A 2-0 start in opening weeks favors Brooklyn. The Nets play the Hornets, Grizzlies, and Hawks twice after that.


  • Rank: 3
  • Last Season: 46-27
  • Preseason Record: 2-1
  • Last Week:

Denver Nuggets
The preseason is completely annoying because two games against the Portland Trailblazers can’t convince anyone what the playoffs will bring forth. However, this matchup is one we need to see. Keeping an eye on Michael Porter Jr. is one thing to watch for the Nuggets this season. So far in the preseason, it appears he’s playing 20-22 minutes per game. Nuggets President Tim Connelly also wants MPJ to take the next step and the Nuggets want to be taken as a serious contender


  • Rank: 4
  • Last Season: 49-23
  • Preseason Record: 0-3
  • Last Week:

Los Angeles Clippers
Kawhi Leonard and Paul George playing less than 20 minutes per game in the preseason is a good excuse not to make assumptions. The Clippers played two games against the other team. The one that won the NBA Championship last year. The one that also “stole” the reigning Sixth Man of the Year winner, Montrezl Harrell, from the Clippers. Well, hopefully, this season isn’t a mental meltdown again for this Los Angeles team. My rule of thumb is the Clippers arguably have two top-ten ranked players on their roster. George and Leonard keep them up here for now.


  • Rank: 5
  • Last Season: 44-29
  • Preseason Record: 1-1
  • Last Week:

Miami Heat
An interesting extension for Bam Adebayo as he would be expected to win MVP to tap into the full max deal he recently signed. This particular contract allows for flexibility in the 2021 off-season. Pat Riley planning ahead for next summer might have been foiled as Giannis signed a supermax deal to stay in Milwaukee. So, the only reasonable offer is to trade for Giannis which seems like we’re about a few years removed from that point at this time. With all due respect to the defending Eastern Conference Champions, we’ll keep them in the top five.


  • Rank: 6
  • Last Season: 56-17
  • Preseason Record: 0-3
  • Last Week:

Milwaukee Bucks
The league’s best defensive team according to the NBA’s advanced defensive statistic ratings. Coming into the 2020-2021 season they will have a new look at point guard with Jrue Holiday and D.J. Augustin as the back-up. Did their stock drop slightly after a disappointing second round against the Miami Heat? Absolutely. There shouldn’t be any worry about the Bucks dropping off this season. They’ll still be a defensive force out of most of the NBA again.


  • Rank: 7
  • Last Season: 15-50
  • Preseason Record: 2-1
  • Last Week:

Golden State Warriors
For my first power rankings this season I’ll make this easy. The Golden State Warriors are about to be a hot take bed for me here. First, I am on record advising that they will have a top-five defensive rating this year in the NBA. Second, they will be a team who will be carried by Stephen Curry. Not that I think Curry needs to prove himself (but this would be helpful to his resume), he has the potential to do it in the regular season. James Wiseman and Draymond Green sound like a nice paring defensively. Wait let’s add Andrew Wiggins and find out if they can mask Curry’s size and lack of defensive strength. The last hot take is I feel like the Warriors are the new age Spurs. System players can come into and thrive with a steady contending team.


  • Rank: 8
  • Last Season: 43-32
  • Preseason Record: 2-1
  • Last Week:

Dallas Mavericks
Dallas holds the highly favorable MVP for the 2020-2021 season in Luka Doncic. I’m favoring this team and Doncic’s talent over the Trailblazers at this time. However, without Kristaps Porzingas time will tell how important Luka will need his second option if the Mavs want to finish a top-four seed in the Western Conference. The Mavericks kick off the 2020-2021 season facing the Suns, Lakers, Clippers all on the road. A true test early on for Luka but my favorite to win MVP this season.


  • Rank: 9
  • Last Season: 35-39
  • Preseason Record: 1-3
  • Last Week:

Portland Trailblazers
I am apologetic to any Trailblazer fan, supporter, and advocate. I’m still in the zone of “prove me wrong”. My pretender of the Western Conference returns again. They’ll have a good regular season no doubt. I’ll predict them overachieving and finishing no lower than fourth in the Western Conference. With the early exit last season after stealing away the 8th seed from the Memphis Grizzlies, the Blazers have to prove they are for real again. The season schedule gives a better test to get some quality wins early on. They will open the season playing the Jazz, Rockets, Lakers, Clippers, and Warriors twice before playing a more inferior opponent, the Chicago Bulls in January. Pending their W-L out of those games probably forecasting this team taking a big jump to the top if it’s a positive one.


  • Rank: 10
  • Last Season: 48-24
  • Preseason Record: 0-2
  • Last Week:

Boston Celtics
Could Boston crack the top ten and drop out in two weeks? I think so. The shakiest thing about Boston is that I personally describe them pulling an equal roster into an Eastern Conference where other teams made slightly better upgrades. You sense that the Celtics may be relying on Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, and Marcus Smart to bring their young core up a notch. While filling in the gaps with Kemba Walker, Tristian Thompson, and Jeff Teague as veterans still don’t make me put them over or better yet close to Miami or Milwaukee. I can’t be the only one feeling this way. I’m a Duke guy and I want Tatum to succeed. Can the 22-year old be among the youngest players to take a leap this season like Donic last season? That’s what Boston will need to be taken as a serious contender.


  • Rank: 11
  • Last Season: 34-39
  • Preseason Record: 0-4
  • Last Week:

Phoenix Suns
A completely different Suns roster coming into the season and one better than the one that went 8-0 in the Orlando bubble? Of course, Chris Paul easily makes this team a nice wild card in the Western Conference. Again, showcasing the new-look line-up in the preseason drew not a single win so let’s not give that food for thought. Hard to say that this team will win 50-plus games this season but on the cusp of being a top ten in the rankings this season for a while. Finding the groove defensively will be key for Phoenix if they want to hang around the top six in the Western Conference this season.


  • Rank: 12
  • Last Season: 44-28
  • Preseason Record: 3-0
  • Last Week:

Utah Jazz
I’ll be the first to admit that the Jazz isn’t a team I favor moving on up to the higher rankings of the Western Conference. For now, they do earn some respect as they finished 8th in overall defensive ratings in the NBA last season. The next goal was securing the reason they do so well defensively. That was signing Rudy Gobert to a 5-year, $205M dollar deal. After Gobert is the scapegoat of the NBA and sports shutting down in March, he returns with new money and the opportunity to put the Jazz back in a conversation for contending for a playoff spot. Utah has made the playoffs the past four seasons and the highest ceiling is only making it as far as the Conference Semifinals.


  • Rank: 13
  • Last Season: 43-30
  • Preseason Record: 2-0
  • Last Week:

Philadelphia 76ers
Lucky 13 for the guys donning the 76er red, white, and blue to start the season? I’m convinced that Doc Rivers is good enough to give Philly a change of pace for the better. It also helps by adding a few more shooters like Danny Green and Seth Curry. What’s also promising? Shake Milton found a way to shoot in the short offseason. In the two preseason games, he averaged 17 points on 55-percent shooting from the field. This all done with only 22 minutes per game. That’s a nice boost offensively should Milton continue that pace.



  • Rank: 14
  • Last Season: 30-42
  • Preseason Record: 2-0
  • Last Week:

New Orleans Pelicans
The Pelicans have one of the best turnarounds in my opinion. Well in this case the emotional toll of losing Anthony Davis and watching him win a championship is still something to consider. Davis spent his first season as a Laker and already being crowned a champion with a max deal of offseason. Insert Zion Williamson with Stan Van Gundy and the Pelicans organization have to hope they don’t repeat the same process with Williamson. A nice 31-point scoring night and 9 rebounds later in the last game against the Bucks for Zion. However, that most promising thing? Van Gundy played Williamson for 30-plus minutes in each game.


  • Rank: 15
  • Last Season: 53-19
  • Preseason Record: 2-1
  • Last Week:

Toronto Raptors
Oh Canada, you’re not forgotten of winning an NBA Championship less than two years ago. However, the entire NBA has changed its landscape and the Raptors find themselves peaking back in the contender status. Re-signing Fred VanVleet to a solid deal worth no more than $85M, four-years, and forgoing signing Serge Ibaka and Marc Gasol to multi-year deals. This gives some flexibility to Toronto’s cap space. It seems that a high reliance on Pascal Siakam to power the Raptors through this season could be assumed.


  • Rank: 16
  • Last Season: 44-28
  • Preseason Record: 3-1
  • Last Week:

Houston Rockets
As of the moment, I am writing this James Harden is still in a Rockets uniform. James Harden has also rejoined his team and played in the preseason. As for now, the Rockets remain here in the middle of the rankings. John Wall appears to be in a game-ready form as he was able to play 23 minutes a game in the three preseason games he appeared in. His Kentucky counterpart, DeMarcus Cousins, appeared in three games, shot 46-percent from the three-point line, and played 17 minutes per game. Still a little too raw to tell how this team will bode early on.


  • Rank: 17
  • Last Season: 45-28
  • Preseason Record: 0-3
  • Last Week:

Indiana Pacers
This is one of the biggest dark horse teams of the NBA and especially in the Eastern Conference. Indiana has found ways to overachieve and still finish top five in the conference. In the past three seasons since 2017, they have accomplished that. Nate Bjorkgren comes in as the first-year Head Coach to turn this ballclub past a Conference Semifinals. The “Bubble MVP”, T.J. Warren, is a bright spot but too early to tell if even top 12.


  • Rank: 18
  • Last Season: 34-39
  • Preseason Record: 3-1
  • Last Week:

Memphis Grizzlies
Playing without Jaren Jackson Jr. is the downfall for an eager Ja Morant. I want someone to prove that “Sophomore slumps” don’t really exist anymore. With that being said, the Grizzlies picking up Desmond Bane from the drat is a nice sleeper. An off the bench shooter at most. Bane’s senior season at TCU, he led the BIG 12 in three-point percentage (44- percent). Memphis will be a nice team to see start low and end high in time for a play-in tournament.


  • Rank: 19
  • Last Season: 20-47
  • Preseason Record: 2-2
  • Last Week:

Atlanta Hawks
Another on the bubble team that got better in the offseason. The biggest concern is defensively how much better can they be? Ranked third-to-last in defensive rating in the league last year is a little YIKES. The positive for Atlanta is that sky is the limit. Rajon Rondo in the back pocket of Atlanta’s bench fresh off a championship. Hopefully, this comes with the upgrade of Trae Young’s value for an MVP consideration.


  • Rank: 20
  • Last Season: 25-47
  • Preseason Record: 1-2
  • Last Week:

Washington Wizards
The Post-John Wall era is welcomed with Russell Westbrook. Who would have seen that coming? The positive here is that Westbrook can arguably be the more available player than Wall and an era where the bottom of the Eastern Conference is open for competition. Health is wealth for the Wizards and a nice reunion for Scott Brooks and Westbrook could help them keep the Eastern Conference busy.


  • Rank: 21
  • Last Season: 32-39
  • Preseason Record: 0-3
  • Last Week:

San Antonio Spurs
Are the Spurs finally washed? We can’t count out Coach Popovich right? I’m leaning towards turning with the decade. The Spurs of the past are gone. Long gone that nobody is begging to go to San Antonio. Going 0-3 in the preseason gave me no hope of what to expect of this team. So rather than give them the benefit of the doubt, sorry Spurs down here you go.


  • Rank: 22
  • Last Season: 22-43
  • Preseason Record: 3-1
  • Last Week:

Chicago Bulls
A complete toss-up between the Bulls pacing their way to stay relevant at the bottom of the East or is it tank mode again? Coby White looks like a promise and Billy Donovan’s college expertise on developing talent could slightly overachieve? Someone talk me out of it on Twitter @BaselineChevy


  • Rank: 23
  • Last Season: 19-45
  • Preseason Record: 1-2
  • Last Week:

Minnesota Timberwolves
Another confusing team that has some potential to overachieve. Karl Anthony-Towns returns with a new sidekick in D’Angelo Russell for a more refreshed start. Ricky Rubio is back in town and the number one pick Anthony Edwards joins the mix. The Timberwolves will have to hope for some better shooting from Josh Okogie and Jarrett Culver this season.


  • Rank: 24
  • Last Season: 21-45
  • Preseason Record: 3-1
  • Last Week:

New York Knicks
Am I really sipping the preseason tea here? A little strong? Possibly, but they came out and beat teams ranked lower them. What do we expect in New York? One night of Julius Randle, Nerlens Noel, Elfrid Payton, and then Kevin Knox, Obi Toppin, and RJ Barrett the next. Confusing but oddly pleasing to see work out to compete better than a tanking season.


  • Rank: 25
  • Last Season: 23-43
  • Preseason Record: 1-3
  • Last Week:

Charlotte Hornets
LaMelo Ball highlights ended up on my Twitter and not surprising it was his passing. The only thing to ponder about this team is moving in a direction upward week-to-week here. Gordon Hayward is out with a fractured finger which was the Hornets’ biggest signing this offseason.


  • Rank: 26
  • Last Season: 44-28
  • Preseason Record: 1-2
  • Last Week:

Oklahoma City Thunder
Promising for the Thunder is Shai Gilgeious-Alexander. One of my favorites for Most Improved Player of the Year. This team has completely transformed losing Steven Adams, Chris Paul, Danillo Gallinari, and Dennis Schroder. All seem to have moved on to better situations respectfully. After 11-straight seasons in the playoffs that run is most likely over this season OKC fans.


  • Rank: 27
  • Last Season: 19-46
  • Preseason Record: 2-2
  • Last Week:

Cleveland Cavaliers
A reason to watch Cleveland sports besides Baker Mayfield is now Isaac Okoro. The rookie shot 62-percent from the field in his first three games while averaging 14.3 points per game. Safe to say the rookie can shoot and score. Collin Sexton taking another leap this year could keep the Cavs afloat as a surprise team in the top 10. For now, they hang loose with the teams they could beat a couple of nights in a row.


  • Rank: 28
  • Last Season: 33-40
  • Preseason Record: 2-2
  • Last Week:

Orlando Magic
Orlando also has a bit of an identity transformation. Some young and familiar names with a little bit of redemption in mind. Markelle Fultz and Chuma Okeke both took similar paths after they were drafted. Neither would play the ensuing season due to injuries. With their delay to the NBA next to a young defensive-minded roster the Magic also are battling with the tank or not-to-tank idea. Playing a younger core could mean a few more mistakes and games lost.


  • Rank: 29
  • Last Season: 20-46
  • Preseason Record: 2-2
  • Last Week:

Detroit Pistons
I supposed there is room for Jerami Grant to take on a bit of the offensive responsibilities. However, is this truly what Detroit needs? Another team lost without an identity.  Dwane Casey at the helm also gives me enough information that I may not be so sure what Detroit will become this season. If Derrick Rose and Blake Griffin turn back time I’ll be more confident in putting any stock into Detroit early.


  • Rank: 30
  • Last Season: 31-41
  • Preseason Record: 2-2
  • Last Week:

Sacramento Kings
I never thought I’d start the Kings out at the bottom by the time preseason rolled around but here we are. Hassan Whiteside is on a highlight reel out on NBA Twitter giving Steph Curry years to shoot. The Kings can easily appear as the practice dummy of the Western Conference. Their schedule is primarily up against the top eight teams in the Western Conference. This Kings team could catch one of them asleep one night but that’s not a recipe for success.


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