The NBA is set to restart on Thursday July 30th in Orlando, Florida. Professional basketball is certainly going to look and feel different in the Bubble. However, the quality of talent will remain.
The NBA Superstars are hungry. LeBron has a serious chance to win his 4th ring. Giannis will be looking for his first finals appearance. And Harden is probably going to try to average 40.
For the first time in several years, the league is looking fairly unpredictable though. In a new environment like the Bubble, there is a level of uncertainty; will we see upsets? Breakout performances?
One thing we know for sure: the NBA Superstars are ready to shine once again.
Here is a list of NBA Players who are ready to pop off in Orlando:
30. Ja Morant / Zion Williamson – The battle for Rookie of the Year will continue in Orlando. Ja shined in Memphis all year and has earned the Grizzlies a ticket to the Bubble. Zion obviously was not available until midyear but, as expected, had several “wow” performances. Tune in when these two dudes are on!
*Zion has recently left the Bubble for a family matter. It is uncertain if and when he is going to return.
29. Nicola Vucevic – With the Bubble being in Orlando, we had to include a member of the Magic. Impressively, the Magic would have been in the playoffs in a traditional season. Vucevic has enough to keep them competitive. Home court advantage? LOL, there’s no fans!!
28. Chris Paul – OKC has had an excellent season. They aren’t loaded with superstars necessarily; but, they have a team full of very good basketball players. Chris Paul has always been a winner and he has what it takes to keep OKC as a formidable mid-pack Western Conference squad.
27. De’Aaron Fox – Swipa the Fox is a player that most haven’t seen regularly. He is a fearless competitor who has made big shots this season. The trio of Fox, Buddy Hield, and Bogdan Bogdanovic will keep the Kings in games. They are another scary low seed in Orlando.
26. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander – OKC has an up-and-coming star in SGA. The UK product has flown under the radar but he is legit. The Thunder currently sit at 5th in the West and they play with a chip on their collective shoulder. Him and CP3 are a tough back-court, and Dennis Shroder can heat up too.
25. Kris Middleton – Middleton is a perfect number 2 alongside Giannis. If you help off too far, he will make you pay. If you don’t help, you are leaving a whole side for Giannis to attack the rim and dunk on you. When Middleton is shooting well, MIL is nearly impossible to stop offensively.
24. Kristaps Porzingis – The Mavericks are really good. KP is fun to watch and we are glad he is healthy going into the Bubble. Him and Luka are a lethal 1,2 punch. Kristaps can dunk on you, block your shot, cross you up and shoot the three. He’s a problem.
23. Kyle Lowry – Defending NBA Champ Alert. Some will think Lowry is too high in this spot but he is the PG of the reigning champs. He had an excellent game 6 in the final game at Oracle to clinch the title. Since then, he led the NBA in minutes played as a guard this year. Seasoned vet that knows how to win.
22. Devin Booker – Booker dropped 70 a few years ago. And now Phoenix is in the Bubble. Albeit one of the worst teams there. At least we will get to see more of him. Averaging 26 a game, he is a top ten NBA scorer right now.
21. Kemba Walker – Serious question: has Kemba ever even been to the playoffs? Answer: yes, he has, two times. But now is his opportunity to shine. The Celtics have high expectations, a deep roster, and a tremendous coach. BOS fans will be counting on Kemba.
20. CJ McCollum – McCollum is a bucket. By now, defenses are more prepared for him and Dame Time. But can you stop them? If you can, Portland is beatable. But if they are hot, they will cause a lot of problems that the big name teams don’t want.
19. Victor Oladipo – Oladipo missed the traditional season with an injury. But last post-season, he was looking incredible. He almost knocked LeBron out of the playoffs in 2018. He is almost certain to play, and if he does, the Pacers get a lot better.
18. Rudy Gobert – Rudy Gobert will go down in history as the first star athlete to get the RONA. No one can forget that night. Back to basketball reality though, Utah is pretty good. They can defend and they have multiple options offensively. Gobert is the best traditional center in the NBA.
17. Jimmy Butler – The Miami Heat are another under the radar squad. Currently 4th in the East, Jimmy Butler leads a Bubble dark house. Averaging 20 per game, Jimmy has always been a 4th quarter performer.
16. Brandon Ingram – Brandon Ingram looks like he just took a nap. However, he is turning into a really good player. He is long and skilled. The Pelicans are going to be fun to watch and tough to beat.
15. Donovan Mitchell – Donovan Mitchell or Russell Westbrook? Who you got? They have a lot of similarities. He has sky-rocketed to the platform of the premier NBA guards.
Alongside some talented vets, the Jazz are kind of boring, but they certainly aren’t scared.
14. Russell Westbrook – A few years ago, Westbrook would’ve probably been top 5. He has fallen off a little bit. The chemistry just hasn’t worked itself out yet. Maybe the Rockets can make a run. Until then, defenders are going to let Westbrook keep shooting.
13. Ben Simmons – People love to hate on Ben Simmons because he doesn’t shoot. Well guess what. He will dunk on you. The 76ers are huge. Always performing better at home, though, we will take a wait and see approach on Philly.
12. Jayson Tatum – Is there a more smooth wing in the NBA than Tatum? Obviously, Boston has a luxury of options. It just seems that Tatum is the guy that has the ability to really make a difference. We are predicting several clutch shots from this guy down the stretch.
11. Nikola Jokic – Jokic leads a Denver squad that is ready to make a run. Even though he has a dad-bod and is yet another guy who looks like he just woke up from a nap, Jokic is a baller.
10. Pascal Siakam – Defending NBA Champion Alert. None of us knew who Spicy P was two years ago. Now he is a certifiable max player. The Raptors have an abundance of great basketball players. We will see how they perform outside of Jurassic Park.
9. Paul George – PG13 has been hampered by injuries seemingly for the last few seasons but you cannot deny his overall quality. Teams are going to need to play really well defensively to stop Kawhi, PG, and Lou Williams. LAC is tough on defense themselves. They are our pick to win the title.
8. Luka Doncic – What a player. He comes over from Europe with all the hype in the world and he lives up to it. Doncic has the ability to keep the Mavs in almost every game. He makes basketball seem really easy. So fun to watch.
7. Damian Lillard – Lillard is simply the most underrated player in the NBA. Recently on a
podcast, Patrick Beverly told JJ Redick that Lillard was the hardest player for him to
guard in the league. I cannot wait to see him back on the court this August.
6. Joel Embiid – Embiid is a monster. All of his antics aside, the dude is the best center in the NBA and it’s really not close. When healthy, he is almost unstoppable. The East will be up for grabs and the Sixers might be right there.
5. Anthony Davis – AD to me is the most impressive Laker and their key piece. If he is playing well and knocking down jumpers, LAL has a tremendous chance. The question will be what they get out of their other players. AD and LBJ are simply the best duo in the NBA. But is the west too tough?
4. James Harden – Harden literally averages close to 35 points per game. He is an offensive genius. He will basically keep shooting until he gets hot; and when that happens, he is unguardable. Houston is a dark horse. Until they go cold or the refs swallow the whistles.
3. LeBron James – LeBron lovers are freaking out that he’s ranked third on this list. And I hope LBJ performs at full capacity as he is surely hungry to improve the 3-6 Finals record. It is not going to be easy to even make the finals now that he is no longer in the East. Let’s see it LeBron!
2. Giannis Antetekuompo – The Greek Freak is the MVP of the league. The Bucks have a legitimate shot to win the Championship this year as well. He is going to be an absolute nightmare for his opponents in Orlando. Surrounded by shooters, MIL is a well-crafted roster.
1. Kawhi Leonard – Defending NBA Champion Alert. The reigning Finals MVP is built for a Bubble situation. Dude doesn’t care if there are fans or if he’s playing on another planet. He is a robot. According to Vegas sportsbooks, the Clippers are the favorite to win the NBA championship. Kawhi, PG13 and the best bench in the NBA.