Milwaukee Bucks: Neutral-site games could be an advantage

MILWAUKEE, WI - APRIL 30: (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
MILWAUKEE, WI - APRIL 30: (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) /

With games likely to be played at a neutral site if the season resumes, the Milwaukee Bucks would have a nice advantage.

In week nine of the NBA hiatus, fans and league personnel are becoming more optimistic about the resumption of the season. League officials recently announced that teams could begin bringing players back to practice facilities in a limited fashion as early as next week.

With that rising optimism, rumors have swirled about how and where the league would be able to play games safely. The possibility of teams hosting games in their individual cities is almost entirely out the door, and the possibility of having fans in arenas is nonexistent. It’s unclear what the league will decide to do, but the two cities who are front-runners to host games seem to be Orlando and Las Vegas.

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It’s an unfortunate situation for everyone involved, but especially the teams who battled for a top-4 seed to guarantee home-court advantage. It’s even more unfortunate for the Milwaukee Bucks who would’ve held home-court advantage throughout the playoffs if no further regular season games took place.

Thankfully for Milwaukee, they’re much more equipped to handle neutral-site games than many other teams. At the point when the season was suspended, Milwaukee held the league’s second-best road record, 25-9, behind only the Los Angeles Lakers record of 26-6.

Furthermore, Giannis Antetokounmpo didn’t play in three of those road losses, so they very well could’ve been 28-6 on the road had he played. Either way, the Bucks are a very good team, and they proved that they were as good or better than any other team on the road.

This bodes well for them if the season resumes in a specific, neutral location, because every game would be a road game. Obviously, it’s not ideal to lose the home-court advantage that comes with having the league’s best record, but it’s not just Milwaukee that would lose that advantage; everyone does.

Eastern Conference teams will be impacted in a big way. The best example of this is the Philadelphia 76ers. They have the league’s best home record at 29-2, a game better than Milwaukee. However, Philly is an absolute mess on the road, going 10-24. That road record isn’t just the worst of all the East playoff teams, but the worst of all 16 playoff teams as the standings sit today.

Miami is another great example. They have the league’s third-best home record, 27-5, but boast a shaky 14-19 road record. As many Bucks fans know from watching countless dreadful performances in Miami, it’s one of the most difficult places to play. Not having to play there in a potential second-round matchup is a big plus for the Bucks and a big negative for the Heat.

The other key contenders in the East, Toronto and Boston, also lose out on a great home-court advantage. Both of those teams have outstanding home crowds, especially in the playoffs. However, they’ll adjust much better to neutral-site games than teams like Philly and Miami, as they’ve put up much better road records this year.

As for the Western Conference teams, the Bucks shouldn’t have to worry about them too much, assuming the playoffs continue in the normal format. They’d only have to deal with that if they make the Finals. Should that happen, Milwaukee will be glad they don’t have to deal with the L.A. crowds, as one of the L.A. teams would most likely be there.

Aside from the L.A. teams, Denver seems to lose out the most from the current circumstances. Playing in high altitude in front of their raucous crowd was a huge advantage that they will no longer have. That could be a decisive blow to their chances against the other top contenders.

It’s clear that Milwaukee isn’t the only one affected by this. Other teams have it much worse. Philadelphia and Miami won’t have their incredible home crowd to give them that the extra boost of motivation and energy that made them so successful. Teams out west like Denver and Utah won’t have their geographical advantage. Instead, the games are going to come down to who plays better as a team. No crowds, no atmosphere, just basketball.

At that point, the Bucks should have the advantage. They have a top-notch coach, great team chemistry, and the soon-to-be back-to-back MVP. They are the superior team.

Next. Marc Lasry lays out best-case scenario in NBA’s return. dark

Hopefully the current situation in the U.S. improves enough so that the season can resume and the Bucks can prove what I’ve said to be true.