Yesterday, Adrian Wojnarowski announced that the NBAPA player rep vote was completed, approving a December 22nd start, With a 72 game season. What does this mean, you ask? Trade restrictions are going to be lifted by November 16th, just a couple of days before the draft, which is the 18th, and just a few days after the draft, on November 22nd, free agency begins in what will definitely be a crazy offseason.
The NBA finals ended not even a month ago, as we’re just 46 days away from the start of the NBA season on the 22nd and the start of NBA training camps starting on December 1st. I’ve been constantly thinking about: “Where will CP3 get traded to?” “What’s going to happen during the draft?” “What about what’s going to happen to Jrue Holiday and Victor Oladipo?” And finally, the reason for this article, “What will the Christmas Day games look like?”
Obviously, with the league starting on the 22nd, the season will have already started and games will have been played, but the Christmas day games always have been one of the more coveted and most exciting games of the season (bring back the Christmas day jerseys!!!). With Christmas Day so close to the presumptive beginning of the season, NBA fans will be stoked to celebrate Christmas watching their favorite teams and players’ first game of the season, or just great basketball altogether; some fans call it the “real start of the NBA season”. Without any further ado, let me break down my Christmas day games for the next basketball season!
Looking back at the 2019 & 2018 Christmas Day matchups, we had five games each year, with two Eastern Conference matchups and three Western Conference games, so I will be following the same format in my dream Christmas Day games:
Game 1: Brooklyn Nets @ Boston Celtics
You get the return of Kyrie Irving and KD, in what will be their first game together, plus the added wrinkle of Kyrie going up against his former team, as he left the Celtics to join KD in Brooklyn, as his favorite team growing up was the Nets. How good will KD be after the injury? How will he and Kyrie mesh? This game would be epic to watch right after you open presents.
Game 2: Minnesota Timberwolves @ New Orleans Pelicans
Kind of a controversial one here, but the NBA went out on a limb and put New Orleans on the Christmas day schedule last season, hoping to get Zion on TV on the big stage, and will probably do so again next season. This season they will pair last year’s first overall pick with this years’ as the Timberwolves has the first overall pick in this year’s draft (how crazy would it be if they took Lamelo Ball and he faced off against Lonzo in his first NBA game?!?!). You’ll see the last two first overall picks go up against each other, and other young and exciting pieces such as Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Karl-Anthony Towns, D’Angelo Russell, and Jarrett Culver. These new faces facing off on Christmas Day will almost be as sweet as the new presents we’ll get Christmas morning.
Game 3: LA Clippers @ Houston Rockets
With my third matchup of the day, I have the Clippers heading to Houston in what will be a star-studded affair, with big-time names such as Kawhi Leonard, James Harden, Russell Westbrook, and Paul George. How will both teams respond from last season? How will they look with new coaches?
This matchup is like getting a pair of socks from your grandma each year. You just know what you’re going to get with these proven superstars on the roster.
Game 4: Milwaukee Bucks @ Miami Heat
What’s a Christmas day special without the leagues reigning MVP & DPOY, and your Eastern Conference Champions? Not only that, but you get the added drama of Giannis going up against the Heat, as both have been rumored to have interest in each other in the summer of 2021. This Heat team upset and exposed the Bucks in the bubble last season, so how will the Bucks respond? What’s going to be better: watching Giannis go up against the Heat or the family meal you’ll enjoy while watching it?
Game 5: Denver Nuggets @ LA Lakers
The only other thing that’s better than seeing presents in your stocking rather than coal is watching the King play on Christmas day against the Nuggets, as we have a Western Conference finals rematch. How will the Nuggets respond to getting eliminated? Will Jamal Murray keep up his in the bubble pace?
So there you have it, my Christmas Day game predictions. For coverage during this crazy NBA offseason, there’s none better than Border Fuel!