The 2020 NBA season continues July 30th with an eight game stretch to settle the playoff picture. With the top of both conferences almost settled let’s take a closer look at which teams will round out the 2020 NBA playoff’s at the eighth seed.
NBA Playoffs 8th Seed Odds
(odds FOR/AGAINST being the 8th seed)
The Nets won’t have Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant, Spencer Dinwiddie, DeAndre Jordan, Wilson Chandler and Nic Claxton for the restart. While Brooklyn did sign sweet-shooting veteran Jamal Crawford, I wouldn’t necessarily go around expecting them to get the eighth and final spot in the Eastern Conference playoffs, particularly seeing as how they went 12-20 on the road during the pre-pandemic regular season.
While the Magic were a half-game behind Brooklyn and sitting in eighth place in the East, but more importantly, they’ll hit the restart at full strength aside from young center Jonathan Isaac. Orlando had the best offensive rating in the league (116.6) in the final month before COVID-19 brought the regular season to a halt – and they’ll have shooting guard Evan Fournier back – and that makes them a great bet to get the eight seed in the East.
Wizards superstar shooting guard Bradley Beal will not participate in the NBA’s restart in Orlando because of an injury to his right rotator cuff and that’s a huge blow to a Wizards team that was sitting in ninth place at the time the season was halted. I love rookie forward Rui Hachimura (3.4 ppg), but the loss of Beal effectively cancels out any chance Washington would realistically have of getting the eighth seed.
Memphis was sitting in eighth place out West at the time of the break, three games ahead of Portland, New Orleans and Sacramento. The Grizzlies have a young stud in rookie point guard Ja Morant and a handful of other talented youngsters like forward Jaren Jackson and mid-season addition Justice Winslow. I’m expecting the Grizz to have a great shot to nail down the eighth and final spot in the Western Conference, seeing as how they’ve gone a decent, 14-18 on the road this season.
“We’ve been motivated by the doubters all season long,” Morant said. “We’ll just go out and continue to play our game; don’t live and die by the game. Just play together and try to come out with the win. We’ve been doing that. We’re in the 8 position right now, so going into Orlando, it’s just more motivation, fuel to our fire.”
The Pelicans will have rookie superstar Zion Williamson on the floor for the duration of the restart and their 15-17 road record bodes well heading into Orlando. . New Orleans also has a bunch of other gifted young players like swingman and leading scorer Brandon Ingram, point guard Lonzo Ball and swingman Josh Hart. The bad news is that New Orleans went an uninspiring 9-10 with Williamson on the floor and that just won’t be good enough to get the eighth seed unless they improve with their prized rookie on the floor.
Portland was floundering in mediocrity pretty much all season long before picking up the pace just before the season was suspended. Yes, the Blazers are just 11-23 on the road this season, but lest anyone forget, Portland has one of the game’s best floor leaders in Damian Lillard and another all-star caliber performer in backcourt make C.J. McCollum. The Blazers will also be healthier heading into Orlando than they’ve been all season long with Zach Collins and Jusuf Nurkic likely back in the starting lineup. Point blank…I believe Portland’s desperation makes them dangerous at the very least.
De’Aaron Fox and Buddy Heild are averaging a combined 40 points per game, but Sacramento is young and doesn’t have any postseason experience they can truly rely on. The Kings have gone 14-19 on the road and that tells me Sacramento will at least put up a fight in Orlando, even if the deck is stacked against them.
The Spurs were in 12t place in the Western Conference standings at the time of the break, but their 11-222 road record doesn’t look very good at all no matter how much anyone tries to sugarcoat it. To make matters worse, San Antonio is giving up a generous 114.9 points per game, not to mention they just don’t have the offensive firepower necessary to get past some of the other teams in the chase for the eight and final spot in the Western Conference. Make no mistake about it, these are not the once perennially-powerful Spurs of Timmy, Manu and Tony Parker lore.
The Suns have one of the game’s best shooters in Devin Booker and they have a talented big man in center DeAndre Ayton. Phoenix has recorded an identical 13 wins at home and on the road, but really, this team shouldn’t even be in the mix for the eight and final seed. The Suns are a serious long shot and not worth the wager if you ask me.
Dallas was firmly entrenched in seventh place out West, a solid seven games in front of eighth place Memphis. Not only do the Mavs have a flat-out superstar in forward Luka Doncic, but big man Kristaps Porzingis was starting to find his stride in a big way before the hiatus. If Seth Curry and Tim Hardaway Jr. play at a high level, the Mavs have a fantastic shot to win the eight and final seed out West!