NBA Season Return Preview: Predicting Playoff Seeding For Return To Play

The 2020 NBA Playoffs are going to be interesting, to say the least.

Teams have made their way down to the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Fla., where they’ll wrap up the league’s 2019-20 season. The league will be full steam ahead come July 30 in hopes of crowning an NBA champion.

While the eight regular-season games may prove enough for some changes in the current seedings, other gaps could prove too large.

We did our best to predict what the NBA’s playoff picture will look like entering the postseason. And here’s what we came up with:

We believe the race out West ultimately will lead to a play-in round, but can’t see the ninth-seeded Washington Wizards closing the gap within four games in the East, especially with guard Bradley Beal and forward Davis Bertans among the stars opting out.

We can, however, see the Portland Trail Blazers and New Orleans Pelicans finishing within four games of each other, as the eighth and ninth seed, respectively. That would mean they face each other in a play-in round, which requires the ninth seed to win two consecutive games while the eighth seed needs to win one. The winner of that play-in round will then face the top seed in the conference, which, in this case, should be the Los Angeles Lakers.

(Note: If we are predicting any change from the current playoff seeding, you’ll find that next to each team’s name.)

Eastern Conference
1. Milwaukee Bucks
2. Toronto Raptors
3. Boston Celtics
4. Miami Heat
5. Philadelphia 76ers (Up from sixth seed)
6. Indiana Pacers (Down from fifth seed)
7. Orlando Magic (Up from eighth seed)
8. Brooklyn Nets (Down from seventh seed)

Western Conference
1. Los Angeles Lakers
2. Los Angeles Clippers
3. Denver Nuggets
4. Houston Rockets (Up from sixth seed)
5. Utah Jazz (Down from fourth seed)
6. Oklahoma City Thunder (Down from fifth seed)
7. Dallas Mavericks
8. Portland Trail Blazers (Up from ninth seed) **Play-in Round**
9. New Orleans Pelicans (Up from 10th seed) **Play-in Round**

We can’t wait for basketball to return.

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Thumbnail photo via Kirby Lee/USA TODAY Sports Images