The 2019-2020 NBA season is set to resume after having being suspended since March 11 due to the coronavirus pandemic. According to the approved format, 22 teams will play eight round-robin games to "finish" the regular season and finalise playoff standings. The New Orleans Pelicans have a great schedule ahead of them, while the defending champions, Toronto Raptors, have it rough.
Based on the new NBA official schedule, the games will kick off on July 30 with the Utah Jazz playing the New Orleans Pelicans at 6:30 PM ET. The games will most likely end on August 14 with eight teams playing against each other if it's still necessary.
Given that some teams are no longer in contention and the limited number of games that can be played, the league decided on the match-ups to simulate the end of the 2019-2020 regular season. The team with the best schedule is the New Orleans Pelicans.
New Orleans Pelicans match schedule
July 30 vs. Utah Jazz
Aug. 1 vs. Los Angeles Clippers
Aug. 3 vs. Memphis Grizzlies
Aug. 6 vs. Sacramento Kings
Aug. 7 vs. Washington Wizards
Aug. 9 vs. San Antonio Spurs
Aug. 11 vs. Sacramento Kings (again)
Aug. 13 vs. Orlando Magic
2019 top draft pick Zion Williamson will have a chance to shine again, given the relatively easy schedule for him in the Orlando games. After starting his season late due to an injury, he led the expansion team to over .500 PCT wins, placing them in the 10th spot of the Western Conference when the NBA was suspended. The Pelicans will play against low ranked teams except for the Los Angeles Clippers in all their games, including one game against the weakest team in the league, the Washington Wizards. The Wizards is the only team invited to Orlando with a win percentage below .400.
The Utah Jazz already announced that their star player, Bojan Bogdanovic will not be joining the resumption due to wrist surgery. Starter guard Donovan Mitchell may opt-out of the season while requesting a trade.
The Pelicans got a great schedule to simulate their remaining games. If the NBA games weren't suspended, the Pelicans would have had the easiest schedule of the 22 teams. Meanwhile, the Toronto Raptors have a heavy load ahead:
Toronto Raptors match schedule
Aug. 1 vs. Los Angeles Lakers
Aug. 3 vs. Miami Heat
Aug. 5 vs. Orlando Magic
Aug. 7 vs. Boston Celtics
Aug. 9 vs. Memphis Grizzlies
Aug. 10 vs. Milwaukee Bucks
Aug. 12 vs. Philadelphia 76ers
Aug. 14 vs. Denver Nuggets
The defending champions are currently placed second in the Eastern Conference with a .719 winning percentage. It's in their best interest to keep that position to avoid the Milwaukee Bucks until the Conference Finals. The Bucks are hungry for Raptors blood after being eliminated by them last season. Without Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard, the Raptors will need a miracle to pull off a win for the second straight year.
Their schedule opens up against the top team in the west, the Los Angeles Lakers. Except for the Los Angeles Clippers, the Raptors will play all the top squads of both conferences. They are also not matched up against teams currently ranked below 8th place or outside the playoff standings.
Even if the Raptors lose all 8 round robin games, it's impossible to lose their playoff standing. It would only mean they might have to face the rampaging Bucks earlier than they would have liked.