Marquette Alumni in the 2020 NBA Restart

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(Photo by Ryan Messier/Paint Touches)

Editor’s Note: This is a sponsored post. 

Thank goodness … through all this mess at least the NBA is about to give us some mid-summer entertainment by restarting with an 8-game regular-season finale and the playoffs.

Today let’s focus on the top Marquette alumni involved in the NBA restart and their teams’ chances of winning it all.

Doc Rivers | Head Coach | Los Angeles Clippers

The Clippers are near the top of the list for best odds on winning the NBA title in 2020:

Odds by Bovada (Full review here)

  1. Los Angeles Lakers +200
  2. Milwaukee Bucks +280
  3. Los Angeles Clippers +300
  4. Houston Rockets +1300
  5. Boston Celtics +1300
  6. Toronto Raptors +1600

As you can see, the oddsmakers believe it’s a three-horse race between Doc River’s Clips, the Lakers, and the Bucks.

The Clippers will have their toughest challenge of the 8-game regular season right off the bat. They open their restart against their in-town rivals, the LA Lakers. It’s a case of No. 3 vs. No. 2. And one where, although many are going to be leaning on Lebron and the Lakers to win, I think Doc Rivers will lead the Clippers to victory in The Arena.

The one unknown is how hard each team will play. It doesn’t matter all that much who wins, as both of these teams are locked in for the playoffs. It only matters for seeding. So, really vying for that No. 1 seed, is that worth going into the playoffs potentially more tired or beat-up? As it stands, the Lakers are slightly better on defense, but the Clips are a bit more prolific on offense. So, this one should be quite close – if they go all out.

Another factor is the fact that it will be the very first game after a long break from basketball. So we are likely going to see some rust that needs to be shaken off.

Wesley Mathews | Milwaukee Bucks | Small Forward/Wing

Wesley Mathews was an integral part of the Portland Trail Blazers for a few seasons. And his lockdown defense is sorely missed over in the City of Roses. But now that this Marquette alumni is playing in Milwaukee, he has a legitimate chance of snagging a championship ring.

In his last game back in March, Mathews put up 9 points in 32 minutes played, but his real value comes on the defensive side of things. He passed for a pair of assists but grabbed 6 rebounds and 2 steals.

The Bucks will open their restarted season as 5-point favorites against the Boston Celtics, who they split wins with in their two meetings earlier this season. But last time around these teams each beat each other while playing as the home team. This time it will be at a neutral site in Kissimmee, Florida.

I do think the Bucks will walk away with this one … that said, the Celtics have more to play for as the Bucks have a massive lead on the rest of the pack. They may just take it easy and accept a loss. They have a 6.5 game lead on the Raps and 9.5 game lead on the Celtics, so it’s mathematically impossible for the Celtics to usurp the Bucks No. 1 seed.

Jimmy Butler & Jae Crowder | Miami Heat | Swing Shooting Guard & Forward

Jimmy Butler came out of Marquette in 2011. Since then he has been a dominant force in the NBA. Now playing for the Miami Heat, he has the chance to make an NBA Finals. The Heat are currently riding the No. 4 spot in the Eastern Conference and 12 games back from the Bucks but just 2.5 away from the No. 3 seed, Boston Celtics. For Miami, it behooves them to go out and give it their all. Even though they are locked into the playoffs, they are sandwiched between the Celtics and Pacers & 76ers – the last two are both just two games behind them. So, they could fall to the No. 6 seed if they don’t play well in their final 8 games.

Both Jae Crowder and Jimmy Butler will be indispensable in moving Miami through the first round. But first, they have to get through their season re-opener against the Denver Nuggets, who are 2-point favorites over the Heat.


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