The deals are done. The NBA is coming back. The season will resume on July 30 at Disney’s ESPN Wide World of Sports complex in Florida.
Here are 10 things you should know about the restarted season:
1) THE RACE FOR 8
There are six teams in the race for the number 8 spot in the Western Conference: Memphis, Portland, New Orleans, Sacramento, San Antonio and Phoenix. (Technically, Dallas is in that race, too, though the Mavericks only need one win and one loss from Memphis to secure their No. 7 spot.)
There are seven games that those six teams will meet, including four with the Pelicans, who play Sacramento twice, Memphis once, and San Antonio once. The other games: Sacramento vs. San Antonio, Memphis vs. San Antonio, and Portland vs. Memphis.
Phoenix does not play with any of the other five teams in the race for the eighth.
The Grizzlies start with a 3 1/2 game lead over Portland, New Orleans, and Sacramento, along with a four-game lead in San Antonio. Unless the Grizzlies make room at those four clubs, there seems likely to be a series of best plays for last place in the West playoffs and a likely first-round matchup with LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers.
Play-in games will take place if the ninth-place team in either conference is within four games of eighth when the qualification round ends.
In the east, it is a little bit simpler. No. 7 Brooklyn is six games ahead of Washington and No. 8 Orlando is 5-1 / 2 games behind the Wizards in the race to secure a spot and avoid a play-in series. None of those teams can pass the number 7 spot in the east group.
2) MAGIC NUMBERS
Milwaukee needs a combination of two wins or losses for Toronto to take first place in the East. The Lakers need a combination of three Los Angeles Clippers wins or losses to secure the No. 1 spot in the West.
Denver also has a mathematical chance at first place in the West, but it would need to go 8-0 and make the Lakers go 0-8 for that to happen.
Most Disney careers will be for planting. Milwaukee can’t finish lower than No. 2 in the East, and Toronto only needs one win to secure a top four seed. The West can still see some shaking, with four games separating second place from sixth place and just 2 1/2 games separating fourth place from seventh.
3) HEAT CONTROL
Miami had eight remaining league games against the eight teams that did not qualify for the Disney restart.
Now the Heat will have a fight on their hands only to stay at No. 4 in the East.
Miami plays twice with Boston, Denver, Indiana, Milwaukee, Oklahoma City, Toronto and Phoenix in seed games. That schedule is more difficult than that of Indiana or Philadelphia: The Pacers and 76ers will head to Disney two games behind the Heat’s positions in the East.
Orlando and the Lakers saw seven games canceled against Disney’s eight unranked, tied for second in the league behind Miami. Memphis had the fewest games lost, with just one: a showdown against New York.
4) HOUSE ON THE ROAD
The 22 teams will stay on the Disney campus for the rest of their seasons. Yes, that includes the Orlando Magic, whose local stadium is about 20 miles from Disney World.
The Magic simply sees it as doing its part to make the reboot happen.
“We appreciate the leadership of NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, our longtime partner Disney and our local leaders in this unprecedented time,” said Orlando Magic CEO Alex Martins. “We look forward to providing assistance as needed to restart the NBA season in Orlando, as we use our collective platform to generate significant social impact.”
5) TALKING ABOUT ROAD
Philidelphia was the best home team in the NBA this season, 29-2, at the rate of being the second-best home record in a season in franchise history. The Syracuse Nationals from 1949-50 were better, going 36-2 at the State Fair Coliseum in the franchise’s inaugural season.
The problem is that the 76ers won’t play in Philadelphia again until next season.
Philly was only 10-24 on the road in the regular season, the second-worst mark of the 22 teams that will play at Disney. Only Washington (8-24) was worse.
If the 76ers are going to dig deep into these playoffs, they must figure out how to win without the scandalous advantage of the Wells Fargo Center.
6) WILL BE LOST
Milwaukee has the best record in the NBA, and one of the reasons the Bucks are keeping that mark right now is because of how good they were against all eight teams (Charlotte, Chicago, Detroit, Cleveland, Atlanta, New York, Minnesota. and Golden State) that did not qualify for the Disney reboot.
The Bucks were 22-0 against those eight teams, one of three NBA teams that went undefeated against that group. Oklahoma City was 15-0 and the Lakers were 12-0. Toronto and Boston were 19-1 and Utah 15-1.
Only one remaining team had a losing record against those eight clubs: San Antonio was 7-8.
7) REST OF THE LAKE
The schedule means that the Lakers will not be playing consecutively after all.
The Lakers reportedly played home games on April 7, 8, and 9 against Golden State, Chicago, and the Clippers, the last of which came because a game that was scheduled to be played shortly after Kobe Bryant’s death moved to later in the season.
8) HELLO, AGAIN
For 26 players on the lists of the 22 teams, Disney will look familiar. They played there at the university.
The Disney campus is hosting the Orlando Invitational on Thanksgiving Day, and some alumni of that event head there for NBA contests. Among them: Heat teammates Jimmy Butler (Marquette, 2009) and Kelly Olynyk (Gonzaga, 2012), Zach Collins from Portland (Gonzaga, 2016), Rui Hachimura from Washington (Gonzaga, 2016), Khris Middleton from Milwaukee ( Texas A&M, 2010), Indiana Edmond Sumner (Xavier, 2015), Kelly Oubre Jr. of Phoenix (Kansas, 2014) and Marcus Smart of Boston (State of Oklahoma, 2013).
And lest we forget, the López brothers, teammates from Milwaukee, Brook López and Robin López, are big fans of Disney and have made their affinity for the place well known in recent weeks.
9) RECORD OF NO 3
For the first time in eight seasons, the league record for all-time triples will not be broken.
He was on his way to being crushed.
NBA teams have combined for 23,560 triples made so far this season, which is already the fourth-biggest of any season in league history. The league was on the way for 29,844 triples, which is 1,889 more than the record of 27,955 set last season.
10) BASKETBALL STATUS
Florida, the Sunshine State, will be the epicenter of basketball this summer.
As the NBA heads to Disney, the WNBA season will also begin next month and will be based in Bradenton, Florida. That’s about 100 miles from where the NBA will play.
The WNBA’s plan is for its players to be housed at the IMG Academy, with games to be played at the nearby Feld Entertainment Center.