Title Contenders in an abbreviated NBA season

Posted by By at 26 September, at 15 : 30 PM Print

Title Contenders in an abbreviated NBA season

The players’ and the owners’ are moving closer and closer to the edge of canceling the NBA season this week with the announcement of canceling training camps and preseason games. But for fans, a question becomes if the season were to begin with an abbreviated number of games, as in the 1999 season, which team would have an advantage?  The younger teams’ in the league would no doubt have “fresh legs” and have less propensity for injury. The elder teams’ would have more energy for the playoffs and could be more effective in winning games. In 1999, the Spurs and Knicks were just such two teams. The Knicks had young players in Marcus Camby, Latrell Sprewell and Allan Houston led by Patrick Ewing. The Spurs countered with a veteran group of David Robinson, Sean Elliot, Dale Ellis and a young Tim Duncan. Both teams had stifling defensive game plans giving up less than 86 ppg (84.7 SA, 85.4 NYK) in the 50 game season.

They met the Indiana Pacers and the Portland Trail Blazers in the Conference Finals, individually. Both of those teams had high scoring offenses and good defenses during the 1998-99 season.  But in the playoffs, both the Knicks and Spurs teams’ “caught fire” with great individual play from Sprewell and Duncan (young players) and from veterans like Ewing and Robinson. So the favorites to advance to the playoffs would probably be the same sixteen teams from this past season, but as could be shown from the 1999 playoffs, more ‘defensive oriented’ teams would advance very deep into the finals with more balanced teams (veterans & young players) providing an ‘edge’ once post-season begins. So lookout for the Heat, Bulls, Magic, Grizzlies, Lakers and the defending Champ Mavericks.

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