The NBA appears set on starting the 2020-21 season in late December, a move that could pave the way for an offseason of uncertainty. When asked about which teams could benefit from an accelerated offseason timeline, ESPN’s Tim Bontemps and Kevin Pelton mentioned that teams with continuity are poised to gain.
Bontemps explained that teams enduring minimal changes are best positioned to take advantage of a short offseason.
Teams that are keeping the status quo. In a world where there already is so much uncertainty because of the pandemic, throwing in a truncated training camp and free agents coming in along the way will make trying to get the new season started a huge challenge for many teams. So groups that are likely to return with minimal changes — such as the Boston Celtics, Denver Nuggets and Miami Heat — will be at a big advantage.
Pelton echoed Bontemps’ thoughts and mentioned how the upcoming offseason could mirror the lockout-shortened process that unfolded in 2011.
Teams with continuity would likely benefit. When I studied the value of continuity last season, I found it didn’t generally seem to help teams start faster. That was different after the 2011 lockout, when teams with high continuity played noticeably better over the first 10 games compared to the rest of the season.
The Blazers face several key decisions in the upcoming offsesaon, but their core rotation will remain intact (barring a major trade). Damian Lillard, CJ McCollum and Jusuf Nurkic are all under contract through next season. Outside of that trio, Rodney Hood is set to return from injury and Gary Trent Jr. is poised to build off his strong showing in the bubble.
You can read all the responses from ESPN’s group of NBA analysts by clicking here.