The NBA Orlando bubble is officially happening as 22 teams pile into three hotels to quarantine for the next three months in Florida, a state that continues to have new daily Coronavirus positive test records. Genius decision by the NBA.
There will be 8 regular season games before the playoff begin. All games will be played in empty gyms without fans in attendance.
Let’s breakdown what each team looks like heading into this inevitable disaster of a ‘bubble’:
Jayson Tatum’s final 10 games before Rudy Gobert ended the season he averaged 30.8 points, 8 rebounds, 2.9 assists, 1.5 blocks and 1 steal a game. He had quickly surpassed Kemba Walker and was clearly the best player on the team.
Tatum shot 48.7% on 158 made 3’s from the left side of the arc this season. I’m not an expert NBA coach or anything but if I were game-planning against Boston, I’d probably try to prevent Tatum from going left but what do I know?
Now he has a new haircut in a futile attempt to appear more Dominican than former teammate, Al Horford. The Celtics will need everything he has as well as a potentially healthy Gordon Hayward who is so far removed from his vicious ankle injury that there can’t be any more excuses if/when he stinks. He needs to return to All-Star form which is impossible knowing that he’ll be wearing ‘education reform‘ on the back of his jersey. V Cool.
As I write this, I’m fairly confident that the Nets are currently coughing into each other’s open mouths and giving each other Coronavirus left and right as the front office calls up guys who haven’t dribbled a basketball since the Obama administration.
The Nets have no head coach. No Kyrie or Durant. The only player worth watching is Caris LeVert and can you really expect him to stay rona free with Michael Beasley entering the bubble doing god knows what when he gets there? Also I’m pretty sure Jamal Crawford is old enough to be in the age bracket that’s more susceptible to the virus.
Brooklyn should really just sit this one out.
Since the end of January, Kristaps Porzingis was averaging 25.2 points, 10.9 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 2.3 blocks and shooting 46.5 percent from the field. It will be very interesting to see how teams gameplan against him in a four-game series knowing that as a Knicks fan, uh, we never got to witness those potential mismatches. Are the Rockets going to throw PJ Tucker on him? Because Luka to Kristaps alley-oops will be plentiful.
That being said, the Mavs simply don’t have enough. And keep an eye on Luka’s conditioning. It’s already been established that he has a hard time keeping his weight down and you know that kid spent quarantine devouring cakes and cookies and maybe even some pies.
Uh, is Nikola Jokic okay? The Joker has been hanging out with anti-vaxxer conspiracy theory selfish contrarian asshole Novak Djokic and both men have come down with Coronavirus. Jokic has also lost a bajillion pounds. We have ourselves a chicken or the egg situation as there’s no telling what happened first.
Perhaps there is an upside to your overweight star player suddenly shrinking 10 dress sizes. Maybe he’ll be a factor defensively and will actually be able to rotate and help Denver’s interior defense. Or he’ll get bodied by opposing big men and shoved in a locker.
Speaking of getting bodied, hopefully NBA players haven’t forgotten Michael Porter Jr’s weird ass ‘All Lives Matter’ goosestepping after the murder of George Floyd. Definitely throwing hands if I see him in the Yacht Club hallways.
The Rockets are entering the bubble separately as James Harden and Russell Westbrook were reportedly traveling on their own. You really have to respect the way this team is built to just completely be okay with Harden and Westbrook getting special treatment. They’re not even okay with them getting special treatment but they believe they deserve it all. We all need a PJ Tucker in our lives hyping us up.
UPDATE: They have that rona. Damn, daniel.
Westbrook is entering the bubble with a brand new chip on his soldier as he’s been ranked as the 23rd best player in the league behind players that he is without a doubt better than. This either means we’re going to get the best version of Westbrook or the worst version that chucks bricks at the rim with 22 seconds left on the clock and dribbles off his own feet.
I have no idea if we’ll ever see Victor Oladipo play basketball again. Oladipo became a star in the 2018 playoffs as he carried the Pacers to a Game 7 against LeBron and the Cavs. Had Victor not been playing through injury, Indiana might’ve sent LeBron home in the first round. Oladipo averaged 22.7 points, 8.3 rebounds, 6 assists and 2.4 steals on 41.7% shooting from the field.
That was two years ago. He’s played 49 games since and has announced that he’s still figuring out if he wants to go to the Orlando Bubble. Indiana is still the 5th seed without Oladipo but unfortunately, like Brooklyn, they might as well all stay home because they’re not winning shit this season.
Los Angeles Clippers
Kawhi Leonard and Paul George appear to be healthy and this time off completely removes the narrative that the Clippers weakness is team chemistry. None of these teams have played for months. No one has team chemistry right now.
I wish Kawhi would just have a blood-thristy season where he burns the league down and wins the MVP trophy we all know he’s capable of but I recognize it’s selfish of me to wish he cared more about regular season awards when he so clearly only concerns himself with championship rings. Regardless, he’s about to remind the world that when the games matter, he’s the goat. People love saying that Giannis is the best player in the NBA as if Kawhi didn’t run the Bucks out of the playoffs last year. Stay woke.
Los Angeles Lakers
The Lakers are entering the Orlando bubble without two guards that were crucial to their rotation. Avery Bradley is electing to not go into Florida as they have record Coronavirus cases every day and Rajon Rondo’s thumb just exploded which means one thing and one thing only: Dion Waiters time.
Dion Waiters became the joke of the league after overdosing on edibles on the Miami Heat team plane but people forget that he’s only 28 years old and I trust him more to get a bucket than JR Smith at this point in their careers.
Dion Waiters did more than just knock down the game-winner last night… pic.twitter.com/lWFJIRSVZI
— x – Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) January 24, 2017
Just give him a green light.
There is a conspiracy theory that the NBA wants Zion Williamson and the New Orleans Pelicans to steal the 8th seed so they can market the hell out of that playoff series but what people don’t realize is that Ja Morant is an astronomically more exciting basketball player to watch and we should all actively be rooting for Memphis to maintain their playoff position.
They start this dumb 8-game regular season playing against Portland, San Antonio and New Orleans. Memphis could essentially plant their roots into the 8th seed in the first week and just prepare to get slaughtered by Dion Waiters in the first round.
Miami could fuck around and represent the Eastern Conference and it should shock no one. They were 7-1 this season against Philly, Toronto and Indiana. They were 2-0 against the Milwaukee Bucks. That matters. Knowing how to beat the best teams and having the confidence playing on a neutral court could see Miami walk into the Finals.
Jimmy Butler and Andre Igoudala provide premium perimeter defense as well as important leadership to pair with rising stars like Bam Adebayo, Kendrick Nunn and Tyler Herro. This team is low-key STACKED.
Plus, apparently Pat Riley is going to just acquire Victor Oladipo and Giannis like it’s no big deal and I’m not even sure if I’m being sarcastic about that.
The Bucks have a deep bench with almost every player on the roster averaging at least 10 minutes a night. But we know that doesn’t work in the playoffs when the rotations shrink so who on this roster can step up and fill out of the rest of the 5 around Giannis and Khris Middleton?
And should it even matter? LeBron James Giannis is not but if we’re considering Giannis to be the best in the league then he should be great enough to win with Wes Matthews and Brook Lopez. Especially in an Eastern Conference with the Brooklyn COVIDs and the Oladipo-Less Pacers.
New Orleans Pelicans
[insert 200 words about Zion Williamson]
Oklahoma City Thunder
As I write this, Officer Chris Paul is roaming the halls of the hotel to make sure no one is breaking the quarantine rules so we’ll see if he can maintain his focus when the games begin. If the Thunder wins the championship then this Orlando Bubble was bullshit and we will pretend like it never happened.
The Magic are the only team to get any sort of home-court advantage. Although they are not sleeping in their own beds or playing in their own arena in front of their own fans, these Magic players are far more accustomed to the toxic virus-ridden Disney World air than the rest of the league. It’s like when NFL teams fly up to Denver and can’t handle the elevation. The NBA only adopted poison COVID oxygen, Nikola Vucevic was born in it.
This is the happiest day of my life. It’s been reported that my baby boy Ben Simmons will be moving to the power forward position and Shake Milton will become the starting point guard. *tears streaming down my face* we finally did it. Brett Brown finally realized that Simmons is a point-forward. He’s Australian Giannis and he needs a point guard to run the offense in the half court like Eric Bledsoe does in Milwaukee.
This means Al Horford will be moving to the bench where he belongs. The positive of having Horford on the bench is that he’s not on the Celtics putting Joel Embiid in a bear trap. The downside of having Horford on the bench is that he’s the second highest paid player on the team and without the doubt the least effective. He is WASHED and hopefully Philly does not need to depend on him an any meaningful way.
Uh, the Phoenix Suns are in the Orlando bubble too I guess. Can’t help but think they could’ve sat this one out and the NBA season would’ve been totally unaffected instead of bringing more warm Coronavirus vectors into the bubble but the NBA doesn’t really seem to care about that. What does the NBA care about? [racist Republican voice] AND WHAT ABOUT CHINA??
Suddenly, the Blazers have a full roster including the returned of injured big men, Jusuf Nurkic and Zach Collins, which means they don’t need to rely on Hassan Whiteside as much anymore. Nurkic was averaging 15.6 points, 10.4 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 1.4 blocks per game last season before his leg exploded. Portland just became a radically different team.
Can’t not mention skinny Melo coming out of the quarantine looking like he was one of the 6 million that’s waiting for an unemployment check. You’re right, Carmelo, we really do have to cancel rent payments until the pandemic is over.
The Kings late-season run of 13-7 was due in large part to Luke Walton benching Buddy Hield leading to Buddy averaging 19.4 points and 4.3 rebounds on 47.6 shooting from the field as the sixth man. Lou Williams type beat.
With the season on the line, however, De’Aaron Fox, Bodgan Bogdanovic and Buddy Hield should all be in the starting 5 together as they have the best chance to put up the most points against teams like New Orleans and Memphis who don’t have trouble getting the ball in the basket.
Also fire Luke Walton.
San Antonio Spurs
I’ve already written this but we must prevent the Spurs from making the playoffs.
Remember when the Raptors traded DeMar DeRozan for the best player in the NBA and he cried about loyalty and being betrayed? And then Kawhi left and the Raptors are still good thus proving how unnecessary DeRozan truly is/was? Gooood times.
The Orlando Bubble is the Raptors potential farewell tour as Serge Ibaka, Marc Gasol and Fred Vanvleet are entering free agency. They’re either going to be wildly overpaid for their contributions to a championship a season ago or the team will be rebuilt around Pascal Siakam but let’s enjoy the ride until it’s over.
JK, I hate watching Kyle Lowry play basketball and I’m not going to enjoy a second of their games.
The Jazz are fucked. Bojan Bogdanovic is out for the remainder of the season with an injury which is brutal. He was the perimeter defender that could’ve lined up against Kawhi while Joe Ingles puts Paul George in handcuffs and now he’s gone which means this is essentially the same middling team as last season. Reminder: they did not win the title last season.
Not to mention that Rudy Gobert singlehandedly shut the NBA down and gave Donovan Mitchell Coronavirus. These two are now trapped together for three months. We’re about to see a video of them strangling each other in practice like Homer and Bart.