August 9, 2020 | 10:16 pm
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The Baseline: NBA Eastern Conference restart with Nekias Duncan

We had to take our time to ensure the coast was clear and all signs point to the NBA’s resumption on July 30. With 22 teams in the bubble we broke down the restart into two shows. Nekias Duncan joins us in part one to breakdown the restart of the Eastern Conference including the following.

General thoughts on the restart

  • Is it safe for the players, executives, coaches and referees?
  • Nekias questions if playing should even be the focus with what’s going on in the world.
  • Has the NBA done enough to address the issue of social injustice?

Best individual player storylines 

The Race for 8

  • Can we lock that the Orlando Magic will finish seventh and do they have a punchers chance against whoever finishes second?
  • Do the Brooklyn Nets have enough bodies to hold off the similarly short-handed Washington Wizards?

Contenders/Pretenders

  • With Milwaukee leading the way is anyone else capable of making a push to the finals?
  • Can Boston’s depth on the wings with Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown and Gordon Hayward make up for their lack of size on the interior?
  • Nick Nurse might be the best coach in the league with a roster that is talented on both ends of the floor. Would it be surprising to see Kyle Lowry, Pascal Siakam and a slimmed-down Marc Gasol push the rest of the East out of the picture?
  • Miami’s three-point shooting is elite but they lack perimeter defense. We weigh the chances of Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo muscling their way past the competition.
  • Are the Sixers capable of getting out of their own way to make a spectacular run as Simmons assumes the power forward role to make way for Shake Milton at the point?
  • With Domantas Sabonis sidelined will Victor Oladipo take the risk of playing with the Pacers’ chances of  a deep run growing slimmer by the day?

Predictions

  • Ultimately who represents the East in the NBA Finals? The fellas think Milwaukee is the prohibitive favorite but wouldn’t be surprised by some of the other Eastern Conference elite.

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