Kings

2020 NBA season restart: Teams, format, schedule, location and odds

2020 NBA season restart: Teams, format, schedule, location and odds

Welcome to the unknown.

The Kings and 21 other NBA teams are about to venture down a path of complete uncertainty. Even the all-powerful commissioner Adam Silver has no idea how the league restart in Orlando will fare, but the league has done its best to put safety measures in place.

Despite the coronavirus pandemic sweeping the United States, basketball is coming back. While the uncertainty is real, we’ll try to keep you updated as best we can. 

Here's a look at what you can expect during the resumption of the 2019-20 Kings season, which will be televised on NBC Sports California and streamed on the MyTeams app (click here to download!).

When does the NBA season resume?

The NBA is now ready to restart the season. It all begins July 30 in Orlando on the Disney campus, but Kings fans will have to wait an extra day before seeing their squad take the court.

After nearly four months away, the Kings and Spurs are scheduled to tip off on July 31 at 5 p.m. PT. Over a two week period, the Kings will face a difficult schedule, including two games against the Pelicans, run-ins with both the Mavericks and Rockets and a game against the top-seeded Lakers to close out the season on Aug. 13. 

Once the seeding round concludes on Aug. 14 and the play-in games (if necessary) are finished on Aug. 15-16, the opening round of the playoffs start on Aug. 17. The conference semifinals are scheduled to begin Aug. 31, with the conference finals starting Sept. 15.

The NBA Finals fire up on Sept. 30.

What is the return to play format?

The overall format is the same as a standard regular season, although the NBA made some adjustments to the schedule. Instead of finishing an entire 82 game schedule, teams will play a total of eight games, which will be added to their current standings. 

All 22 teams were allowed to max out their roster at 15 players and bring up to two two-way players as well for a total of 17 players. Teams are also allowed to replace players who are opting out of the NBA bubble. 

The Kings are one of five Western Conference teams chasing the Memphis Grizzlies for the eighth and final playoff spot -- but there’s a twist.

All 22 teams in the Orlando bubble will play eight regular-season games to finish off the 2019-20 season. If the eighth seed has a four-game lead in the standings, they advance directly to the playoffs, where they’ll face the No. 1 overall seed. If the ninth-place team is within three and a half games, there is a play-in tournament of sorts between the eighth and ninth-place team.

Under the rules for this season, the eighth seed has a double-elimination, while the ninth seed has a single elimination. If No. 8 wins game one, they advance. If No. 9 wins Game 1, they’ll play a second game, with the winner moving on to face the No. 1 overall seed on Aug. 15-16.

All playoff series are scheduled for seven games, with single days of rest between each game.

Which teams will be in the playoffs?

In the Western Conference, the top seven seeds are basically locks to make the playoffs. They can move up and down in the seeding, but it would take a catastrophic finish to the season for the Dallas Mavericks to fall to the No. 8 seed and have to play in the play-in game.

Memphis holds the No. 8 seed when the restart begins. If they had to play out the entire 82 game schedule, their chance of making the playoffs was slim with five teams chasing them for No. 8. But in the abbreviated restart, 3 1/2 games is a lot of ground to make up over an eight-game stretch.

Barring a complete collapse, the Grizzlies will be the team with double elimination for the play-in game(s). Of the remaining teams, the Pelicans have the easiest road to the playoffs, but the Blazers have the additional advantage of being slightly ahead in the standings because they’ve played two additional games.

Sacramento is in the running, but the league’s decision to add the Lakers to the end of their schedule was brutal. San Antonio is a half-game behind the pack, but they are at a disadvantage due to playing one less game on the season and the fact that LaMarcus Aldridge is on the shelf.

Phoenix is two and a half games behind the three teams tied for ninth place and six games back of the Grizzlies. They would need to jump over four teams and make up 2 1/2 games on the Grizzlies to have a shot.

The Eastern Conference is much simpler. Washington trails the Magic by 5 1/2 games and the Nets by six games. Brooklyn is without all of their star power, and will be lucky to crawl to the finish line in 8th place. The Wizards would need a lot of luck to get within 3 1/2 games of No. 8, especially since Davis Bertans decided not to join the bubble.

Coming into the seeding tournament, the Kings face +1200 odds to come away with the No. 8 seed in the Western Conference (meaning a $100 bet would win you $1200). They have three players currently who have tested positive for the coronavirus, but all three are expected to make their way to Orlando

2020 NBA League Schedule

The schedule is pretty simple. All teams play a total of eight games beginning around July 30, which is called the "seeding round." Teams will play every other day, except for one set of back-to-backs.

Sacramento has a 10:30 a.m PT game against the Pelicans on Aug. 6 and a back-to-back against the Nets at 2 p.m. on Aug. 7. In a normal setting, that would be a difficult stretch, but Brooklyn is depleted coming into the tournament.

Following the seeding round, there is a short two-day window for potential play-in games on Aug. 15-16. After the 16 playoff teams are established, the first round of the playoffs begin on Aug. 17.

All rounds remain a best of seven series.

Odds to win the 2020 NBA Championship

The Lakers are favored to win it all, but the swap out of Avery Bradley for J.R. Smith, and the uncertainty surrounding Dwight Howard, makes the chase for a ring close. Oddsmakers have the Bucks slightly behind LA. Sacramento is a middle of the road bet to make it in as an eighth seed, but come in as +50000 to win it all ($100 bet wins you $50,000).  

Lakers +240

Bucks +250

Clippers +333

Rockets +1300

Celtics +2000

Raptors +2200

Nuggets +2500

76ers +2800

Heat +3000

Jazz +3300

Mavericks +4000

Pacers +10000

Thunder +10000

Pelicans +12500

Trail Blazers +15000

Grizzlies +25000

Nets +30000

Magic +30000

Wizards +30000

Suns +50000

Kings +50000

Spurs +50000

Kings' future is uncertain after 14th straight NBA playoff absence

Kings' future is uncertain after 14th straight NBA playoff absence

The writing was on the wall when the Kings dropped an overtime thriller to the Dallas Mavericks on Tuesday. When Sacramento fell flat on their face against the Brooklyn Nets on Friday, elimination was just a matter of time.

Before the Kings could get to halftime in Sunday’s matchup against the Houston Rockets, the news hit that the Portland Trail Blazers had officially knocked both Sacramento and the New Orleans Pelicans out of NBA playoff contention.

This is what happens when you don’t come out and play with intensity and force in each and every game. The Kings stumbled out of the gate against a beatable Spurs team to open the NBA restart. They didn’t show up at all in Game 2 against the Orlando Magic.

By the time the Kings found their rhythm in their lone victory against the Pelicans, they were already teetering on the edge of elimination.

Fans are angry over their team’s performance. They have been turning to social media calling for the replacement of both general manager Vlade Divac and head coach Luke Walton.

[PURPLE TALK PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

Is an overhaul in the works? Not the last time we checked in, but that was before a complete collapse in Orlando. 

Divac signed an extension last summer, which coincides with the four-year contract the team signed with Walton. In a normal summer, there would be time to potentially replace both, but this isn’t normal.

The NBA Draft lottery, where the Kings currently sit in 12th place, is set for August 20. Teams will have less than two months to prepare for the Oct. 16 NBA draft, but also free agency, which begins on Oct. 18.  

Teams will have to assemble their rosters on the fly because training camps start in early November for a December 1 2020-21 season start.

In addition to a tight time frame, there is also the issue that the Kings, like every other franchise in the NBA, is hemorrhaging money. It’s not just that fans aren’t allowed in for games. There hasn’t been a concert at Golden 1 Center since March 11. The losses are in the tens, if not, hundreds of millions at this point.

Should the Kings pay out three plus years on both Divac and Walton’s contracts? That’s a heavy question. 

The team was playing very well when the season went on hiatus. While the performance in the bubble has been nothing short of embarrassing, Sacramento isn’t the only team to struggle. 

Can you trust Divac to handle extensions for Bogdan Bogdanovic and De’Aaron Fox? Can he retain Kent Bazemore, Alex Len or Harry Giles in free agency? Can he pull off a trade that makes the team better and clears up some of the contract log jam the Kings now created?

Will Walton’s system look better with a regular training camp and his team already understanding not only his terminology, but his playbook after a second year on the job?

[RELATED: Fox developing into star in NBA bubble]

There are no easy answer to these questions, just like there are no quick fixes that magically make this team considerably better between now and December 1. 

Sacramento has chosen a path. Deviating from that path with so little time is a huge gamble. Staying the course might be as well. 

The future is uncertain. The only thing we know for sure is that the Sacramento Kings will miss the playoffs for the 14th consecutive season. 

Kings takeaways: What you might have missed in 129-112 loss to Rockets

Kings takeaways: What you might have missed in 129-112 loss to Rockets

BOX SCORE

With elimination staring them in the face, the Sacramento Kings wilted once again Sunday night in the Orlando bubble.

The Kings were the aggressor early, but once the Rockets started hitting their perimeter shots, it was lights out. 

Led by a career night from Austin Rivers and a typical big game from James Harden, Houston pulled away in the second half to come away with the 129-112 victory.

Here are three takeaways as the Kings couldn’t keep up once again and fall to 1-5 in the Orlando bubble.

Fox finishing strong

Regardless of the final score or the disappointing 14th straight season without an NBA playoff appearance, De’Aaron Fox has been impressive in the bubble.

The third-year guard came into the night averaging 26.2 points and seven assists in the five games in Orlando. Against the Rockets, he managed to lead the Kings with 26 points and nine assists, although it came in another loss.

If the Kings are going to turn the franchise around, their hopes depend on this type of play from Fox for a full 82 games. He has the talent, now he just needs to find consistency.

DaQuan earns a spot

Outside of Fox and maybe the play of Bogdan Bogdanovic, the Kings have looked off. With starters and rotational players underperforming all over the court, rookie two-way player DaQuan Jeffries has taken advantage of the opportunity and likely earned a roster spot for next season.

Built like the Rockets’ P.J. Tucker, the 6-foot-5 Jeffries plays hard every time he steps on the floor and he plays with a force that the Kings desperately need.

With the Kings short-handed, Jeffries played 30 minutes off the bench and finished with a career-high 13 points on 5-for-8 shooting. The rookie out of Tulsa is a restricted free agent heading into the summer and he’s earned a chance to make the opening day roster next season.

[RELATED: Ex-Kings coach Paul Westphal batting cancer]

Benny Mac

Ben McLemore spent two tours of duty with the Kings and was almost out of the league before finding a home as a perimeter shooter for Houston.

Taken by Sacramento with the No. 7 overall pick in the 2013 NBA Draft, McLemore showed his former squad what they were missing. The 27-year-old wing hit 6-for-14 from 3-point range on his way to 20 points as a starter for Houston.

Sometimes a player finds the right fit at the right time in their career. It’s good to see McLemore find success after a rocky couple of years both on and off the court.