Winners and losers of the NBA’s plan to restart the 2019-20 season

Zion Williamson, #1, New Orleans Pelicans, (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
Zion Williamson, #1, New Orleans Pelicans, (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images) /
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Orlando Magic, Aaron Gordon, NBA
Aaron Gordon, #00, Orlando Magic, (Photo by David Berding/Getty Images) /

Loser: Orlando Magic

At first glance, picking up the season at Disney World seems a huge win for the Magic. They don’t have to travel and it seems possible that accommodations may even be made for their players to stay at home instead of on-site. However, the resumed structure also puts their odds of actually making the playoffs in slightly greater jeopardy.

When the season was suspended, the Magic were in the eighth position in the Eastern Conference, a half-game behind the Brooklyn Nets for the seventh seed and 5.5 games ahead of the Wizards for the final playoff spot. FiveThirtyEight gave them a better than 99 percent chance of making the postseason.

Normally, all they’d have to do is not let that enormous lead over the Wizards slip away. Now, they’ll have to keep it at four games or more to risk falling into a play-in situation against Washington. The Wizards would have to beat them twice in that scenario to knock Orlando out but it’s two neutral-site games in an utterly unique and extremely high-variance set-up. The Magic are still in control of their own destiny but they’re nowhere near the postseason sure thing they looked to be when the season was suspended.