Who Would Have Won The 2020 NBA Championship?
Updated: Oct 8, 2020
The NBA has suspended the 2020 season due to the coronavirus outbreak. The league made the decision Wednesday, March 11 quickly after Utah Jazz big man Rudy Gobert tested positive for COVID-19, the official medical term for the disease.
The league is about 2/3 of the way through the 82-game season and several teams had already locked in playoff spots with the Milwaukee Bucks leading the Eastern Conference followed by the defending champions Toronto Raptors and Boston Celtics also having clinched their post-season positions. For the Western Conference, only the Los Angeles Lakers have punched their playoff ticket.
Since we don't know how long the NBA will be suspended, or if this season will be scrapped altogether, we thought it would be fun to make our own playoff picture with what we have so far.
We took the top three teams from each conference to make it easy. So Eastern Conference has the three teams already listed and the Lakers are joined by current second and third place teams, their hometown rival Los Angeles Clippers and the Denver Nuggets. The Utah Jazz just miss the cut, a game and a half behind the Nuggets, maybe that's due justice...
We will give the top teams a "bye" and then we have the Toronto Raptors facing the Boston Celtics and the Los Angeles Clippers facing the Denver Nuggets. As DaBaby instructs us, "Let's gooooo."
Eastern Conference Semifinals
Boston Celtics defeat Toronto Raptors in 5
Boston's had a solid season as they've found rhythm with Kemba Walker as their new point guard and Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown coming into their own. The defending champion Toronto Raptors will have Drake courtside at every game with plenty of memes for all. Last year's MVP Kawhi Leonard took his talents West, so Pascal Siakam and Kyle Lowry have held the team down with Serge Ibaka's strong defensive presence. But it's not been the same without Kawhi. Boston will have to fight hard, but they'll move along.
Western Conference Semifinals
Los Angeles Clippers defeat Denver Nuggets in 7
Last year, the Nuggets made the playoffs for the first time since 2013 and the end of the Carmelo Anthony era. They have new life thanks to Nikola Jokic, who leads the team in points, rebounds and assists. But it won't be enough for the hype train that is the Los Angeles Clippers, now led by the aforementioned Kawhi Leonard AND former Indiana Pacers star Paul George. The Clippers have had their ups and downs this season, but when the playoffs arrive, they will kick into gear and make it farther than any Clippers team has before... even with another player named Paul...
Eastern Conference Finals
Boston Celtics defeat Milwaukee Bucks in 7
Ah sweet revenge. Last season, the Celtics and the Bucks met in the conference semi-finals. Boston handled the Bucks fair enough in Game 1, but Giannis Antetokounmpo took over from there. This season, the Celtics and Bucks have split their games. But last year's playoff matchup was missing one key player: Marcus Smart. The scrappy guard will be the X factor.
Western Conference Finals
Los Angeles Lakers defeat Los Angeles Clippers in 6
The fans will get what they want. It's been a chippy season in the City of Angels as LeBron James and Kawhi Leonard fight for the title of champion. The Clippers stormed out the gate this season shocking the world and defeating the bigger, badder brother by double digits. Without Paul George. They beat the Lakers again before Anthony Davis squashed their run with 30 points in their victory. AD has proven himself worthy of the monster trade the Lake Show conducted to get him. Sorry, loyal, patient Clippers fans. You'll have to wait another season.
Los Angeles Lakers defeat Boston Celtics in 6
Isn't it time for this rivalry to be renewed? It's been 10 years since the last Finals matchup where the Lakers beat the Celtics and Kobe Bryant was named MVP. That was the last time either team made it to the championship and since then both have had difficulties finding leaders and breaking past mediocre. This season, the storied bitterness between the squads is back as they've split their games, one with the Celtics manhandling and the other a down-to-the-wire Lakers escape. But for the Finals, the Los Angeles Lakers should win. And this is coming from a Celtics fan. AND a Kemba Walker fangirl. It's only right to honor Kobe Bryant's legacy. I'm not one hundred percent a conspiracy theorist. But I was sitting in freezing cold weather when the No.4 seed Baltimore Ravens defeated the Denver Broncos in double overtime to advance to the AFC Championship and then win the Super Bowl in Ray Lewis' final season. Historic moments happen when they need to happen. And it will happen in as many games as Celtics legend Bill Russell pointed out to us 2+4=6.