The NBA Hub in Orlando Kicks off with Exhibition Games

In one of the longest waits in Basketball history, it looks like the EPSN Hub at Disneyworld is about to be kickstarted with a series of exhibition games.

Here’s the full story from Forbes Correspondent Alex Kay

2020 NBA Season: Exhibition Games Schedule, Restart Dates, Odds And Latest News From Orlando Bubble

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Luka Doncic defending LeBron James. Both players are currently in Orlando preparing for the 2019-20

The 2020 NBA season is scheduled to officially resume on July 30, when the 22 teams that traveled to the league’s bubble at the ESPN World of Sports in Walt Disney World, Florida will begin playing in their first of eight “seeding” games that will ultimately crystallize the 2020 NBA Playoffs picture. The NBA’s 2019-20 Restart plan has been criticized by some— including a number of players employed by organizations getting set to return to play—for not doing enough to protect participants from potential coronavirus-related issues, but the league believes it will be able to resume the campaign on time and get through a full postseason without any major issues.

Whether that happens or not remains to be seen, but fans are eager for the return of professional basketball and are looking forward to play resuming this week when teams begin participating in a series of exhibition scrimmages. Sportsbooks are also anticipating the season restart, as it will mark the first time in four months that they will be able to offer odds on NBA action. While nearly every book will be offering the standard betting lines for each contest and futures bets on the winner of the 2020 NBA Finals and other outcomes, some have gone a step further and released a handful of props related to the bubble, a successful start and finish to 2020 NBA season restart and more.

You can find more about these intriguing odds at the end of this article, but first check out the latest news from the Orlando bubble and the complete NBA exhibition schedule for the upcoming week below. You can also find key dates for the 2019-20 NBA Restart, including information on when the 2020 NBA Playoffs will begin, when the 2020 NBA Draft will be held and much more.

2020 NBA Season Restart – Exhibition Schedule

The new landscape will get a test run when exhibition play begins on Wednesday, with the first of 32 total scrimmages on the schedule taking place. These inter-squad matchups will run until Tuesday, July 28 and take place at three separate venues, giving organizers a chance to fine tune the process before meaningful contests resume at the end of the month. One notable change to some of these exhibition contests is that they will utilize shortened quarters, clocking in at 10 minutes each instead of the traditional 12. Each team is slated to participate in three scrimmages, with the first of these using the abbreviated format before moving back to standard 12-minute quarters for the final two games. The league believes that shortened quarters will help players ease back into full speed contests after going over four months without them due to the NBA shutdown.

Having a 40-minute game to start the exhibition schedule is something Denver head coach Mike Malone supports, noting that his top priority is having a healthy, fresh roster in time for the seeding games. The coach told ESPN the following:

“The No. 1 thing for me is can we get through these three scrimmages healthy and not getting guys put in a position where they’re overworked, playing too many minutes and getting hurt. I think the vast majority of the 22 teams will approach it the same way.”

Here’s the full exhibition schedule for all 22 teams ahead of the 2020 NBA season restart:

Wednesday, July 22

  • Orlando vs. L.A. Clippers, 3 p.m.
  • Washington vs. Denver, 3:30.m.
  • New Orleans vs. Brooklyn, 7 p.m.
  • Sacramento vs. Miami, 8 p.m.

Thursday, July 23

  • San Antonio vs. Milwaukee, 3 p.m.
  • Portland vs. Indiana, 3:30 p.m.
  • Dallas vs. L.A. Lakers, 7 p.m.
  • Phoenix vs. Utah, 8 p.m.

Friday, July 24

  • Memphis vs. Philadelphia, 3:30 p.m.
  • Oklahoma City vs. Boston, 5 p.m.
  • Houston vs. Toronto, 7:30 p.m.

Saturday, July 25

  • L.A. Lakers vs. Orlando, noon
  • Milwaukee vs. Sacramento, 12:30 p.m.
  • Miami vs. Utah, 4 p.m.
  • Brooklyn vs. San Antonio, 4:30 p.m.
  • L.A. Clippers vs. Washington, 8 p.m.
  • Denver vs. New Orleans, 8:30 p.m.

Sunday, July 26

  • Philadelphia vs. Oklahoma City, noon.
  • Phoenix vs. Boston, 1:30 p.m.
  • Indiana vs. Dallas, 4 p.m.
  • Portland vs. Toronto, 6 p.m.
  • Houston vs. Memphis, 8 p.m.

Monday, July 27

  • Washington vs. L.A. Lakers, 3 p.m.
  • Sacramento vs. L.A. Clippers, 4 p.m.
  • Utah vs. Brooklyn, 5:30 p.m.
  • Orlando vs. Denver, 7 p.m.
  • New Orleans vs. Milwaukee, 8 p.m.

Tuesday, July 28

  • Memphis vs. Miami, 2 p.m.
  • Toronto vs. Phoenix, 3 p.m.
  • San Antonio vs. Indiana, 4 p.m.
  • Oklahoma City vs. Portland, 6 p.m.
  • Boston vs. Houston, 8 p.m.
  • Dallas vs. Philadelphia, 8:30 p.m.

Key Dates For 2020 NBA Return To Play Plan

Once exhibition play is finished, teams will have just a couple days before the seeding games begin. Each squad will participate in a total of eight contests that will finalize the 2020 NBA Playoff bracket, with a chance of a small play-in tournament to determine the No. 8 seed in each conference. This will only be triggered if the team with the eighth-best record finishes within four games of the No. 9 team. If that scenario occurs, those two clubs will compete in a best-of-two battle in which the No. 8 team would need to win just once to earn the final spot on the bracket in its conference, while the No. 9 team would have a chance to usurp by winning both matchups.

Here is a look at when the seeding games will take place, when the play-in tournaments would occur if triggered, the 2020 NBA Playoff dates and more:

  • July 30-Aug. 14 — 2019-20 season resumes with seeding games
  • Aug. 15-16 — Play-in tournaments take place
  • Aug. 17 — Playoffs begin
  • Aug. 25 — NBA Draft Lottery
  • Aug. 31-Sept. 13 — Conference semifinals
  • Sept. 15-Sept. 28 —Conference Finals
  • Sept. 30 — NBA Finals begin
  • Oct. 13 — Last possible date for Game 7 of NBA Finals
  • Oct. 16 — 2020 NBA draft
  • Oct. 18 — Free agency begins at 6 p.m. ET
  • Dec. 1 — Opening night for 2020-21 season

2020 NBA Season Restart Odds And Prop Bets

While there is a chance that the regular season restart is further delayed, oddsmakers believe that things will go off without a hitch. Offshore bookmakers are now offering lines on several occurrences related to the 2020 NBA season restart, including if it will start on time. The “Yes” side of the prop is a heavy favorite at -400, meaning one would have to risk $4 to return $1 on the campaign officially tipping off on July 30 as scheduled, while “No” is going off at +250, returning $2.50 for each $1 risked on a delay. The odds on a successful, on-time start have improved over the last week, moving from -350 for “Yes” and +225 for “No”. Bookmakers are also indicating the season will reach a conclusion, although that is not as sure of an outcome in their eyes. Bettors would have to put up $2.50 to win $1 on the 2020 NBA season finishing using the new format, while the “No” side of the prop is +170 at this juncture, odds that have remained unchanged despite the improved probability of the season starting promptly.

Should the restarted NBA season be delayed or cancelled, it is almost certainly going to due to COVID-19-related issues. The league has long had plan in place to handle positive tests from players—who will be subjected to tests every other day while they are in Orlando, with an estimated 17,000 tests to take place on the players alone by October 13—and has reportedly already quarantined two that contracted the coronavirus in the bubble. Bookmakers believe it is almost inevitable that more players will test positive during the 2020 NBA season, setting the line on any player doing so at -500. It’s not outside the realm of possibility that an entire team may need to be removed from the bubble due to COVID-19 concerns, but the chances of that are much slimmer based on the +900 betting odds on such an occurrence.

With so many players converging—teams are allowed to bring up to 17 players into the bubble at the start, with rosters shrinking to 15 for the postseason—on such a small area to play out the remainder of the season and subsequent 2020 NBA Playoffs, apprehensions have been voiced over all of them adhering to the strict guidelines the league has put in place to keep personnel safe. Bookmakers feel these are valid concerns, setting a line on bubble guidelines being breached by at least one player at -500, which implies an 83.3% probability of a violation. Some believe the NBA may also crack down on social media usage within the bubble, but the odds of that aren’t likely, with a line set on a player being banned from it at an improbable +800.

Shams Charania reported that the NBA recently sent a memo out notifying clubs that they must use a portion of their next team meeting to discuss bubble protocols:

Check out the complete list of prop bets for the 2020 NBA Restart below, courtesy of BetOnline.ag. You can also find the updated 2020 NBA Finals championship odds for all 22 teams that have a chance to compete in the 2020 NBA Playoffs:

Will the 2020 NBA Regular Season Restart on time?

  • Yes -400 (1/4)
  • No +250 (5/2)

Will the 2020 NBA Season finish with the new format?

  • Yes -250 (2/5)
  • No +170 (17/10)

Will an NBA Player test positive for COVID after July 15?

  • Yes -500 (1/5)
  • No +300 (3/1)

Will an NBA Team be removed from bubble due to COVID concerns?

  • Yes +900 (9/1)
  • No -3000 (1/3)

Will the NBA ban players from social media inside bubble?

  • Yes +800 (8/1)
  • No -2500 (1/25)

Will an NBA player be removed from bubble due to violation?

  • Yes +300 (3/1)
  • No -500 (1/5)

Will any NBA player violate bubble guidelines?

  • Yes -500 (1/5)
  • No +300 (3/1)

2020 NBA Finals Championship Odds

  • Los Angeles Lakers +240
  • Milwaukee Bucks +260
  • Los Angeles Clippers +320
  • Houston Rockets +1600
  • Boston Celtics +1600
  • Toronto Raptors +2000
  • Philadelphia 76ers +2000
  • Denver Nuggets +2500
  • Dallas Mavericks +3500
  • Miami Heat +4000
  • Brooklyn Nets +4000
  • Utah Jazz +4000
  • Oklahoma City Thunder +8000
  • Indiana Pacers +8000
  • New Orleans Pelicans +10000
  • Portland Trail Blazers +10000
  • Memphis Grizzlies +25000
  • San Antonio Spurs +75000
  • Phoenix Suns +100000
  • Orlando Magic +100000
  • Sacramento Kings +100000
  • Washington Wizards +100000

Source: forbes.com

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NBA Update – The LA Lakers and Orlando.

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Basketball fans are keenly awaiting the resumption of the 2019-20 season at the ESPN complex at Disneyworld located in Orlando Florida.

Here’s a complete rundown from Head Coach Frank Vogel dated July 1st 2020…

Frank Vogel Addresses Lakers Roster Updates for Orlando

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When Frank Vogel became the head coach of the Lakers over a year ago, he knew there would be plenty of challenges, and plenty of pressure.

But there’s no way he could have predicted a truly unprecedented 2019-20 season including the events surrounding the team’s preseason trip to China, the tragic death of Kobe Bryant, the COVID-19 pandemic, and the racial and social justice movement that continues to evolve.

Amidst all of that, Vogel is trying to lead his players and staff through never-traveled terrain as the team’s first game in the Walt Disney World bubble is exactly one month away.

As players continue individual workouts at the UCLA Health Training Center, ramping up towards the planned departure of the team charter on July 9, Vogel acknowledged that JR Smith would replace Avery Bradley on the roster, though it would take a team effort to replace Bradley’s role.

The other question mark on the roster is about Dwight Howard, who’s dealing with a unique family situation that he described to us in May, in addition to his focus on social justice.

Vogel offered an update on Howard’s status.

“We’ve been in communication with Dwight the whole way,” he said. “We don’t know what the level of participation is yet. He wants to play. We’re hopeful he’s able to join us. We’re hopeful and optimistic that he’ll be able to join us in Orlando.”

Howard is one of 10 Lakers to average at least 16.8 minutes per game this season: LeBron James (34.9); Anthony Davis (34.3); Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (25.4); Danny Green (25.1); Kyle Kuzma (24.6); Bradley (24.2); Rajon Rondo (20.5); Howard (19.2), Alex Caruso (17.8); and JaVale McGee (16.8). Markieff Morris had also entered the rotation, earning 14.8 minutes in his eight appearances.

Meanwhile, Quinn Cook and Jared Dudley got spot minutes and filled in admirably when needed, and Vogel said repeatedly that he’d trust them in any game situation. One could surmise that both Smith and playoff-roster-deadline acquisition Dion Waiters would fit in with Cook and Dudley as veterans who could be called upon for specific reasons and matchups, i.e., the need for a guy who can get his own bucket off the bench (Waiters) or floor spacing (Smith, who’s a 37.3 percent 3-point shooter who ranks 9th all-time in postseason 3’s made, and 4th in the NBA Finals).

Vogel has yet to work with Smith on the court, but he did have a welcome-to-the-team chat with the 34-year-old veteran.

“The experience factor,” said Vogel about what Smith brings. “This guy’s a big-time player, he’s proven it over the course of his career. We know he can help us. We almost added him earlier in the year when we added Dion Waiters, and now we have the luxury of having both. We’re not going to ask him to come in and be Avery Bradley, he’s going to come in and be JR Smith.”

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And while Smith provides depth on the wing, the bulk of Bradley’s 24.2 minutes could be split amongst KCP, Caruso and Rondo, depending upon the game situation.

“Avery’s loss is obviously a huge loss for us, but we’re a next-man-up team,” Vogel continued. “Alex is an elite defender in his own right in a different way than Avery, as is KCP. Offensively, clearly we wouldn’t run plays that Avery uses for Alex, we’d run plays that put Alex in the best position to succeed.”

On his own Zoom call with reporters earlier on Wednesday, Caruso offered a similar sentiment.

“It might not be with one person (filling Bradley’s role), but this team has done a great job this year when guys have been out, of stepping up and filling a role or a need,” he said. “I don’t know if I’ll be the sole provider of everything that Avery did, that’s a lot to ask for because of how good he is at what he does, but I’m definitely going to be ready to fill part of that gap and that need.”

Caruso mentioned Bradley’s skills as a supplementary ballhandler and defender who took open threes as things he thinks he replicate. On the other hand, Caruso acknowledged Bradley’s strength with mid-range pullups and floaters out of the sets Vogel was asked about as things with which he is less comfortable. Fortunately, those are sets that KCP can replicate.

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In fact, KCP started all 18 games for Bradley from Nov. 15 – Dec. 22 after Bradley suffered a hairline fracture in November. The Lakers went 15-1 before back-to-back losses at Indiana and Milwaukee at the end of a difficult road stretch. LAL also won games at Chicago (Nov. 5) and at OKC (Jan. 11) with KCP starting for Bradley, bringing the total mark to 17-3.

One benefit to those KCP lineups is the increased floor spacing he provides. Caldwell-Pope has hit 87 3’s this season on an impressive 39.4 percent from the field, compared to Bradley’s 63 makes on 36.4 percent. With LeBron as the primary ballhandler with the starters, Rondo could remain in his playmaking role off the bench.

Fortunately for Vogel, his squad has a 5.5 game lead in the West, meaning he can use the eight seeding games to iron out such rotation questions ahead of the start of the playoffs. Vogel was asked how having that lead might impact his approach in Orlando.

“We do have a different type of perspective from some teams that are playing for their playoff lives, but it doesn’t mean we’re not going to go out and – like we always would if these were the last eight games of the regular season – we would compete to win,” said Vogel. “That’s how your habits are built the best … Does that mean we’re going to play certain guys 47 minutes? Obviously no.

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“We’ll be intelligent with the whole process of trying to find the right pace to bring our group along from a conditioning standpoint and evaluating on a daily basis what we feel they can handle and what they’re ready for without compromising their bodies and putting them at risk to injury. We will be cautious with those eight games, but we will compete to win.”

Then it’s time for the playoffs, a unique challenge given the circumstances, and one for which Caruso is ready.

“This is something personally that I relish,” he said. “I’m looking forward to the challenge of lasting, of being the team that can be the mentally toughest, the mentally strongest and saying ‘Yeah, we may be on this isolated campus for three months, but we have a goal, we have a mission and it’s not going to affect us trying to get to that end goal and finish the job.’”

It’s that mental side of the game where Caruso thinks the Lakers will have an edge, with everybody dealing with a similar physical challenge.

“The hardest part for us is getting back to doing physically what we were able to do, as far as being early on assignments, being physically ready to box out, to play as physically as it takes to beat teams like the Clippers, Bucks, Rockets and Nuggets, all the good teams that are competing for championships and are going to be in the playoffs,” he explained. “Just getting back to that physical form of being able to do it night in, take a day off, night out, keep going and going and going for a month and a half. The mental part I feel like for our team is going to be easier just because we have such a heady and basketball-smart team, basketball-IQ led team and coaching staff.”

Source: nba.com

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