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2020-21 NBA season predictions: Playoff teams, Finals winner, MVP and more

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The Los Angeles Lakers barely just won the 2019-20 NBA championship, but it’s already time to make predictions for the 2020-21 NBA season.

The season starts Tuesday after a condensed offseason, a whirlwind week of the 2020 NBA draft and free agency and a shortened season amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead of 82 games, this season will have 72 and only half of the schedule has been announced. The second half will be released sometime before the All-Star break, which will not include an All-Star game this season.

The postseason also gets a revamp with an added play-in tournament that will feature the seventh- through 10th-place teams in each conference. For these predictions, we’re selecting only the eight teams that will participate in the first round of the playoffs.

Some teams will try to host fans, but many games will be played in empty arenas. Without a bubble environment, it remains to be seen whether games will be postponed or canceled because of the coronavirus.

With so many unknowns, the Yahoo Sports NBA experts try to parse how a season unlike any other will play out. They’re in agreement that the Lakers will defend their title, but there is no other consensus.

Here are their predictions for the 2020-21 season.

2020-21 NBA season predictions

Disappointing Team

Chris Haynes: Houston Rockets

Vincent Goodwill: Houston Rockets

Seerat Sohi: Utah Jazz

Ben Rohrbach: Houston Rockets

LaJethro Jenkins: Philadelphia 76ers

Surprising Team

Chris Haynes: Atlanta Hawks

Vincent Goodwill: Atlanta Hawks

Seerat Sohi: New Orleans Pelicans

Ben Rohrbach: New Orleans Pelicans

LaJethro Jenkins: Atlanta Hawks

Eastern Conference playoff teams

Chris Haynes: 1. Bucks, 2. Celtics, 3. Nets, 4. Heat, 5. Raptors, 6. 76ers, 7. Wizards, 8. Hawks

Vincent Goodwill: 1. Bucks, 2. Nets, 3. Heat, 4. Celtics, 5. 76ers, 6. Raptors, 7. Hawks, 8. Wizards

Seerat Sohi: 1. Bucks, 2. Heat, 3. 76ers, 4. Nets, 5. Celtics, 6. Raptors, 7. Pacers, 8. Wizards

Ben Rohrbach: 1. Bucks, 2. Celtics, 3. 76ers, 4. Nets, 5. Heat, 6. Raptors, 7. Pacers, 8. Wizards

LaJethro Jenkins: 1. Nets, 2. Bucks, 3. Celtics, 4. Heat, 5. Hawks, 6. Raptors, 7. 76ers, 8. Pacers

Western Conference playoff teams

Chris Haynes: 1. Lakers, 2. Trail Blazers, 3. Nuggets, 4. Clippers, 5. Warriors, 6. Jazz, 7. Suns, 8. Mavericks

Vincent Goodwill: 1. Lakers, 2. Nuggets, 3. Clippers, 4. Jazz, 5. Mavericks, 6. Warriors, 7. Trail Blazers, 8. Suns

Seerat Sohi: 1. Lakers, 2. Clippers, 3. Nuggets, 4. Mavericks, 5. Pelicans, 6. Warriors, 7. Suns, 8. Trail Blazers

Ben Rohrbach: 1. Lakers, 2. Clippers, 3. Trail Blazers, 4. Nuggets, 5. Jazz, 6. Mavericks, 7. Warriors, 8. Pelicans

LaJethro Jenkins: 1. Lakers, 2. Nuggets, 3. Mavericks, 4. Clippers, 5. Trail Blazers, 6. Pelicans, 7. Warriors, 8. Suns

Eastern Conference finals matchup

Chris Haynes: Bucks vs. Nets

Vincent Goodwill: Bucks vs. Nets

Seerat Sohi: Nets vs. Heat

Ben Rohrbach: Bucks vs. Celtics

LaJethro Jenkins: Nets vs. Celtics

Western Conference finals matchup

Chris Haynes: Lakers vs. Trail Blazers

Vincent Goodwill: Lakers vs. Clippers

Seerat Sohi: Lakers vs. Clippers

Ben Rohrbach: Lakers vs. Clippers

LaJethro Jenkins: Lakers vs. Nuggets

NBA Finals matchup

Chris Haynes: Lakers vs. Bucks

Vincent Goodwill: Lakers vs. Nets

Seerat Sohi: Lakers vs. Nets

Ben Rohrbach: Lakers vs. Bucks

LaJethro Jenkins: Lakers vs. Nets

2020-21 NBA champion

Chris Haynes: Los Angeles Lakers

Vincent Goodwill: Los Angeles Lakers

Seerat Sohi: Los Angeles Lakers

Ben Rohrbach: Los Angeles Lakers

LaJethro Jenkins: Los Angeles Lakers

NBA Finals MVP

Chris Haynes: LeBron James

Vincent Goodwill: Anthony Davis

Seerat Sohi: Anthony Davis

Ben Rohrbach: LeBron James

LaJethro Jenkins: LeBron James

2020-21 NBA Most Valuable Player

Chris Haynes: Damian Lillard, Portland Trail Blazers

Vincent Goodwill: Luka Doncic, Dallas Mavericks

Seerat Sohi: Luka Doncic, Dallas Mavericks

Ben Rohrbach: Anthony Davis, Los Angeles Lakers

LaJethro Jenkins: Luka Doncic, Dallas Mavericks

Rookie of the Year

Chris Haynes: Anthony Edwards, Minnesota Timberwolves

Vincent Goodwill: James Wiseman, Golden State Warriors

Seerat Sohi: Devin Vassell, San Antonio Spurs

Ben Rohrbach: Tyrese Haliburton, Sacramento Kings

LaJethro Jenkins: James Wiseman, Golden State Warriors

Defensive Player of the Year

Chris Haynes: Anthony Davis, Los Angeles Lakers

Vincent Goodwill: Anthony Davis, Los Angeles Lakers

Seerat Sohi: Bam Adebayo, Miami Heat

Ben Rohrbach: Ben Simmons, Philadelphia 76ers

LaJethro Jenkins: Anthony Davis, Los Angeles Lakers

Sixth Man Award

Chris Haynes: Lou Williams, Los Angeles Clippers

Vincent Goodwill: Caris LeVert, Brooklyn Nets

Seerat Sohi: Talen Horton-Tucker, Los Angeles Lakers

Ben Rohrbach: Norman Powell, Toronto Raptors

LaJethro Jenkins: Montrezl Harrell, Los Angeles Lakers

Most Improved Player

Chris Haynes: Talen Horton-Tucker, Los Angeles Lakers

Vincent Goodwill: Tyler Herro, Miami Heat

Seerat Sohi: Jamal Murray, Denver Nuggets

Ben Rohrbach: Markelle Fultz, Orlando Magic

LaJethro Jenkins: Michael Porter Jr., Denver Nuggets

Coach of the Year

Chris Haynes: Terry Stotts, Portland Trail Blazers

Vincent Goodwill: Erik Spoelstra, Miami Heat

Seerat Sohi: Erik Spoelstra, Miami Heat

Ben Rohrbach: Terry Stotts, Portland Trail Blazers

LaJethro Jenkins: Erik Spoelstra, Miami Heat

Executive of the Year

Chris Haynes: Travis Schlenk, Atlanta Hawks president and GM

Vincent Goodwill: Rob Pelinka, Los Angeles Lakers GM

Seerat Sohi: James Jones, Phoenix Suns GM

Ben Rohrbach: Rob Pelinka, Los Angeles Lakers GM

LaJethro Jenkins: Rob Pelinka, Los Angeles Lakers GM