LOOK: 4 NBA teams that benefit most from season resumption
MANILA, Philippines – It has been two long, agonizing months since the NBA last played an official game.
Barring labor-related lockouts, this suspension is shaping up to be the longest period of inactivity in league history and is certainly the first where games have been suspended mid-season.
Just like the rest of the sports world, many teams and players are itching to return to action, and some are waiting more anxiously than the others.
Here are 4 teams that will benefit most from the resumption of the season and at the same time, the ones who will be the biggest losers if ever it gets canceled for good.
Even with the season frozen in limbo, time is still ticking in Houston.
For the umpteenth time in their careers, former MVPs James Harden and Russell Westbrook are on the hunt for their first-ever NBA title.
Despite 3 straight seasons where Westbrook averaged a triple-double, he got Oklahoma City nowhere near the promised land, which made him jump ship to Houston to reunite with his Thunder buddy Harden.
It hasn’t been smooth sailing either for The Beard, who has routinely proven that he has glaring inconsistencies whenever the playoffs roll around despite MVP-level play in the regular season.
After failed partnerships with Dwight Howard and Chris Paul, Harden is now under an even bigger microscope as he tries to lead the Rockets to win it all with undoubtedly the best running mate he ever had.
If Harden and Westbrook still can’t win at their peak while having each other to lean on, then their championship window may very well shut quickly in their faces sooner rather than later.
Los Angeles Clippers
Is two months’ worth of "load management" enough?
For pretty much the entire season, the Los Angeles Clippers have dealt with the consistent unavailability of their new top dogs Paul George and reigning Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard.
Head coach Doc Rivers has since turned to Sixth Man of the Year candidates Montrezl Harrell and three-time award winner Lou Williams to steady the ship while its captains are routinely missing at the helm.
Assuming that both stars have both fully healed up during their much-needed downtime, the Clippers then have to make the most of a clear win-now situation, especially as key cogs Harrell, Marcus Morris and Reggie Jackson are all on expiring contracts.
If the season resumes, will Leonard, who forced his way to the limelight of LA, again have a chance to take the last laugh?
Just when everything was going right in Milwaukee, everything stopped.
Ever since their historic 24-3 start where they won 18 straight games, the Bucks have been on a warpath back to the top of the Eastern Conference.
The ever-evolving Giannis Antetokounmpo is on pace to win his second straight MVP award despite averaging just a shade under 31 minutes a night.
Khris Middleton has solidified his backup star role with another All-Star berth while Brook Lopez, Eric Bledsoe and the young Donte DiVincenzo have all impressed in their specific roles throughout the year.
Now more than ever, Milwaukee needs the season to resume given that the path to the title is the widest it has ever been in recent memory.
Sure, the Greek Freak is just 25 years old and has more than a decade of strength left in the tank, but the rest of his teammates are mostly past 30 years old and not getting any younger. The time to win is now.
Los Angeles Lakers
Speaking of wide-open paths to the top and aging teammates, that is exactly the same case the Los Angeles Lakers are facing this season and beyond.
LeBron James, despite completing his transition to full-time point guard in his 17th season in the league, is still turning 36 years old just 7 months from now.
It doesn’t matter if the living legend is averaging 25.7 points and a league-best 10.6 assists in the least minutes he has played in his career. It will all go down the drain if the season resets for another time.
And if contract rules carry over without exceptions, James’ new co-star Anthony Davis is already set to be a free agent following this season if he opts out of his player option year, meaning it’s entirely possible that he has a change of heart and looks elsewhere.
James himself was the precursor to this situation when he bolted from Miami for a new contract back home in Cleveland despite all signs pointing to him re-signing with the Heat after the 2014 finals.
And whispers have been growing louder that Davis may just have a homecoming of his own back in Chicago with the up-and-coming Bulls.
Lastly, the Lakers’ supporting cast is led by more grizzled veterans who are clearly on the downturn of their careers like 34-year-old Dwight Howard, 32-year-old Danny Green and 34-year-old Rajon Rondo.
The Lakers’ chances for title number 17 have never been better since they won ring number 16 a decade ago. For them, this suspension couldn’t have arrived at a worse time.
But of course, as much as the entire basketball world, players and fans alike, want their beloved game back up and running, safety must still be the first, second and third priority before talks of resumption can even begin.
Despite some new complications that may arise, all of these teams can just try their luck again next season and likely still go deep into their respective playoff runs.
Nothing, not even an NBA title – the Holy Grail of basketball – can ever take the place of human lives. – Rappler.com