The NBA is set to resume its season at the end of this month -- or start a new one, depending who you ask.
"This is not a continuation," NBA analyst Kenny Smith told the Jamie and Stoney Show. "I think we’re kind of fooling ourselves in thinking it’s a continuation of 2020. When you have that amount of time off, guys are either able to rest or change their thought process of what they need to work on and then at times have the ability to do it.
"This is a new season. This is a tournament that’s thrown in right now with the best basketball players, which I’m excited to see. But I don’t look at it as a continuation of how teams had been playing prior to the bubble and the pandemic."
If it will look different, it will sound different, too. To protect the bubble, games will be played without fans. Smith says that gives inexperienced teams an advantage.
"I think younger teams have a slight edge now, because typically they don’t play well on the road. They don’t handle the anxiety that the road crowd brings, and then playoff experience even double that. Now that’s out of the equation," he said. "Younger teams have a better opportunity than they’ve ever had to possibly win an NBA championship because of that."
Maybe that favors a team like the Grizzlies, who are led by a pair of 20-year-olds in Ja Morant and Jaren Jackson Jr. Any run by Memphis would certainly be thrilling to watch. No matter who wins it all, Smith, a two-time NBA champ, says their title will be legit.
"Anytime you get 350 (people in any profession) and say you’re here for two months to have a contest -- if you have the best bakers in the world and you come out with the best baker, he’s the guy. So same thing," said Smith. "You come out with a team, they’re the team."
By the way, Smith also had time to rib his buddy Charles Barkley on his woeful golf swing.
"Everyone in the world, when you do something for a long time, you start to get better at it. Other than Charles," Smith quipped. "He has not gotten better."