Daryl Morey: Rockets, Lakers to Benefit From NBA's Coronavirus Suspension
The potential resumption of the 2019-20 season will be an unprecedented moment in league history, with teams returning to the floor to complete the playoffs after at least three months without basketball. And the break in action isn't the only unique aspect of the season.
Teams will likely be forced to stay in a single location for the postseason, with a quarantined site in Las Vegas or Orlando emerging as the most likely option. Pair an extended break and quarantined playoffs with no fans in the stands, and we're in store for the strangest postseason in league history. How teams handle the altered circumstance could swing a playoff series.
So who could actually benefit from the alterations to the potential postseason? Daryl Morey believes the Rockets may have an upper hand.
"This time will help us more than others. It might help the Lakers, too," Morey told ESPN's Mason and Ireland. "I think the more veteran teams, they’re going to have more professional guys during this period to keep themselves ready. We’re the oldest team, and time off can, in a relative sense, help more veteran, older teams."
The Rockets are the league's second-oldest team behind only the Bucks, and they're certainly not short on playoff experience. James Harden has logged 116 playoff games–Russell Westbrook will cross the century mark this season–while Austin Rivers, Eric Gordon and P.J. Tucker have been core members of the Rockets' playoff runs in the last two seasons. With Mike D'Antoni's guidance, Houston is well-equipped to manage a change in conditions.
Houston sat No. 6 in the Western Conference at 40–24 before the NBA suspended play indefinitely on March 11. The Rockets are slated to face the Nuggets in the first round of the Western Conference playoffs.