2020-21 NBA guide and preview: Everything you need to know
With the 2020-21 NBA season approaching, here is everything you need to know about the upcoming campaign.
Check out the Betway Insider's NBA picks and predictions page for tips throughout the 2020-21 NBA season.
When is the season starting?
The 2020-21 NBA season is scheduled to begin on 22 December.
When will the season end?
The end of the regular season is pencilled in for 16 May, but that date may change depending on what happens throughout the year.
How long is the season going to be?
Due to current circumstances, the 2020-21 NBA season will be shortened, with each team currently scheduled to play 72 games.
This is 10 games fewer than a regular 82-game campaign.
Will the playoffs be affected?
The playoffs are slated to contain 16 teams – the same as a regular season – but there will be a slight addition to the format.
Between 18 and 21 May, the NBA will hold a Play-In Tournament for the teams ranked between 7 and 10 in each conference.
The 7th-ranked team in each conference will face the 8th-ranked team, with the winner earning the 7-seed.
The 9th and 10th-ranked teams will then play each other, with the loser being eliminated and the winner going on to play the loser of the first game.
The winner of the final game will be awarded the 8-seed and progress into the playoffs proper.
The playoffs themselves will remain the same – four rounds of best-of-seven series.
The 2021 NBA Finals are currently scheduled to start no later than 8 July, with Game 7 scheduled for 22 July at the latest.
Where will games take place?
The 2019-20 NBA season ended in a bio-secure bubble in Orlando, but the 2020-21 season is set to take place at home courts across the country.
The only franchise currently unable to play at their home arena is the Toronto Raptors, who will start their season in Tampa, Florida due to travel restrictions between Canada and the States.
Will fans be allowed to attend games?
Decisions on fan attendance are down to the individual franchises, with some already announcing that they will start their season behind closed doors.
Other teams will start their season in front of a limited crowd.
These decisions will remain under constant review as the season progresses, with the hope that fans will be back in all arenas later in the campaign.
Who are the reigning champions?
The Los Angeles Lakers are the defending NBA champions, having won their 17th title in the 2019-20 season.
They secured the championship with a 4-2 series win in the Finals over the Miami Heat.
Who made the playoffs last year?
In the Eastern Conference, ranked from one to eight, the Milwaukee Bucks, Toronto Raptors, Boston Celtics, Indiana Pacers, Miami Heat, Philadelphia 76ers, Brooklyn Nets and Orlando Magic made the postseason.
From the West, the LA Lakers, LA Clippers, Denver Nuggets, Houston Rockets, Oklahoma City Thunder, Utah Jazz, Dallas Mavericks and Portland Trail Blazers qualified.
Who is the reigning MVP?
Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks won the MVP award in 2019-20.
The power forward won the award for the second year running after another stunning season in which he averaged 26.7 points per game alongside 13.6 rebounds per contest.
Who are the candidates for MVP this year?
Antetokounmpo will inevitably be in contention again this year having recently signed the most lucrative contract in NBA history with Milwaukee.
Other players that will likely be fighting for the MVP award in 2020-21 are LeBron James, James Harden, Anthony Davis, Luka Doncic and Kawhi Leonard.
Where will the All-Star Game take place?
The 2021 NBA All-Star Game was scheduled to take place in Indiana on 12-14 February, but the league has announced that Indiana will instead host the 2024 All-Star break.
Revised plans for the 2021 All-Star Game will be announced soon.
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