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Last Updated: April 28, 2021

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Preview and Analysis of the Upcoming 2020 – 2021 NBA Playoff Picture

Introduction

As of Sunday, April 25th, 2021 the 2020 – 2021 NBA regular season is approximately 80 % of the way done, and now is a great time to look at as well as analyze the 2020 – 2021 NBA playoff race. Especially because this year the National Basketball Association is implementing an NBA play – in tournament in order to determine the top 8 teams in the Eastern Conference and the top 8 teams in the Western Conference that will make up the landscape of the 2020 – 2021 NBA postseason. The 2020 – 2021 NBA playoffs are currently scheduled to begin on Saturday, May 22nd, 2021 this year.

Last year the National Basketball Association initially tested this NBA play – in round during the NBA restart in the bubble located in Orlando, Florida. Last November the NBA’s board of governors unanimously voted for as well as ratified a way in order to introduce a new form of the NBA postseason play – in games, but it is only on a one – year basis at the time being. Hopefully if it continues to be a successful adaptation of the NBA playoffs it may become the new standard for the National Basketball Association moving forward. It definitely makes the start of the NBA postseason much more dramatic and exciting, and I would love to see this NBA postseason play – in tournament adopted as a permanent mainstay in the near future.

Details of the NBA Postseason Play – In Tournament

The final day of the COVID – 19 related shortened 72 game 2020 – 2021 NBA regular season in on Sunday, May 16th, 2021. The NBA postseason Play – in tournament will commence on Tuesday, May18th, 2021 and finish up on Friday, May 21st, 2021. Between both the Eastern and Western Conferences in the National Basketball Association there will a total of six play – in games that will involve eight teams, four from each conference.

The teams that finish in the number one to number six spot in the standings for each conference will be guaranteed playoff positions, and the four total teams from the number seven to number ten in the standings in both conferences will enter the play – in round to determine the last two playoff spots (7th and 8th) in both the Eastern as well as the Western Conference. Any NBA team that finishes worse than the number ten slot will be entered in to the lottery of the National Basketball Association and their 2020 – 2021 NBA season will be over at that point. Due to the fact that there is a possibility for teams to finish with an uneven number of games played due COVID – 19 complications throughout the regular season, the National Basketball Association will use the team’s winning percentage to determine the ranking of the NBA standings this year.

How the NBA Postseason Play – In Games will Work

Game 1: The number seven team in the standings according to their winning percentage will host the number eight team, and the winner would then earn the 7th seed in the playoffs. The losing team would be afforded another chance to advance in Game 3.

Game 2: The number nine team will host the number ten team, and the winner would be moving on to Game 3. The loser of Game 2 is eliminated at that point, and they will enter the NBA draft lottery.

Game 3: The loser of the number seven versus number eight contest will host the winner of the number nine versus number 10 contest, and the winner would secure the 8th seed in the 2020 – 2021 NBA playoffs. The loser of Game 3 is also eliminated, and they would enter the NBA draft lottery as well at that point.

This format will be executed for both the Eastern and Western Conferences of the National Basketball Association. This play – in tournament ensures that the teams with the 7th highest and 8th highest winning percentages will have two chances to win one game in order to earn a playoff appearance, while the teams with the 9th highest and 10th highest winning percentages need to win two consecutive games to advance to the 2020 – 2021 NBA playoffs.

Eastern Conference NBA Standings (as of Sunday, April 25th, 2021)

1.) Brooklyn Nets 41 – 20 0 Games Behind

2.) Philadelphia 76ers 39 – 21 1.5 Games Behind

3.) Milwaukee Bucks 37 – 22 3 Games Behind

4.) New York Knicks 34 – 27 7 Games Behind

5.) Atlanta Hawks 33 – 27 7.5 Games Behind

6.) Boston Celtics 32 – 29 9 Games Behind

7.) Miami Heat 32 – 29 9 Games Behind

8.) Charlotte Hornets 30 – 30 10.5 Games Behind

Indiana Pacers 28 – 31 12 Games Behind

Washington Wizards 27 – 33 13.5 Games Behind

Chicago Bulls 25 – 35 15.5 Games Behind

Toronto Raptors 25 – 35 15.5 Games Behind

Cleveland Cavaliers 21 – 39 19.5 Games Behind

Orlando Magic 18 – 41 22 Games Behind

Detroit Pistons 18 – 43 23 Games Behind

Western Conference NBA Standings (as of Sunday, April 25th, 2021)

1.) Utah Jazz 44 – 16 0 Games Behind

2.) Phoenix Suns 42 – 18 2 Games Behind

3.) Los Angeles Clippers 43 – 19 2 Games Behind

4.) Denver Nuggets 39 – 21 5 Games Behind

5.) Los Angeles Lakers 35 – 25 9 Games Behind

6.) Dallas Mavericks 33 – 26 10.5 Games Behind

7.) Portland Trail Blazers 32 – 28 12 Games Behind

8.) Memphis Grizzlies 31 – 28 12.5 Games Behind

San Antonio Spurs 30 – 29 13.5 Games Behind

Golden State Warriors 30 – 30 14 Games Behind

New Orleans Pelicans 26 – 34 18 Games Behind

Sacramento Kings 24 – 35 19.5 Games Behind

Oklahoma City Thunder 20 – 40 24 Games Behind

Minnesota Timberwolves 17 – 44 27.5 Games Behind

Houston Rockets 15 – 46 29.5 Games Behind

Odds to Win the 2020 – 2021 NBA Championship

According to Intertops sportsbook these are the odds as of Sunday, April 25th, 2021 to win the 2020 – 2021 NBA championship outright.

Team                                                   Odds
Brooklyn Nets                                    +225
Los Angeles Lakers                            +333
Los Angeles Clippers                         +450
Milwaukee Bucks                               +800
Utah Jazz                                            +800
Philadelphia 76ers                              +1100
Phoenix Suns                                      +1200
Denver Nuggets                                  +2000
Boston Celtics                                    +3300
Miami Heat                                         +3300
Dallas Mavericks                                +3500
Portland Trail Blazers                        +6600
Atlanta Hawks                                    +8000
New York Knicks                                 +8000
Golden State Warriors                       +10000
Toronto Raptors                                 +10000
Indiana Pacers                                    +10000
Memphis Grizzlies                             +15000
New Orleans Pelicans                        +20000
San Antonio Spurs                              +20000
Washington Wizards                          +20000
Charlotte Hornets                               +20000
Chicago Bulls                                     +20000
Sacramento Kings                              +100000
Orlando Magic                                   +150000
Cleveland Cavaliers                           +150000
Oklahoma City Thunder                     +200000
Detroit Pistons                                    +200000

 

Sources:

“How does the NBA play-in tournament work? Dates, projections and rules explained”, espn.com, April 25, 2021.

“NBA Standings 2020 – 21”, espn.com, April 25, 2021.

“United States, NBA Futures – NBA 2020 / 21 Championship: To Win Outright”, intertops.eu, April 25, 2021.


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