Watch Now: NBA Latest: Finals Prediction (3:50)

Despite the omnipresent mist of uncertainty shrouding the NBA's planned resumption of the 2019-20 season at the end of July, fans were treated to a brief but important taste of optimism and joy on Friday when the schedule for all 22 teams headed to the Disney bubble was released. Something about seeing those team logos with dates and TV channels next to them gave us all a cozy feeling inside -- now we'll all keep our fingers tightly crossed that things go according to plan and an NBA champion is eventually crowned.

The schedule certainly changes the outlook for teams in Orlando, as some received significant jumps or drops in strength of schedule compared to their remaining set of games before the hiatus in mid-March. The Pelicans, 76ers and Celtics all face newly paved roads to the postseason, while the terrain for the Raptors, Heat and Trail Blazers has been laced with potholes. As a result, there were some shakeups in this week's Power Rankings -- though the Bucks, Lakers and Clippers remain at the top.

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1 Bucks Milwaukee's strength of schedule remained pretty much the same, so the Bucks are essentially in the same boat as before the schedule release. They're in no danger of giving up the top seed in the East (does that really matter anymore without home-court advantage?) so they'll use the eight seeding games to get Giannis Antetokounmpo and the rest of the roster back in shape and ready for the playoff run. --53-12
2 Lakers The Lakers got hammered in terms of the schedule, going from the team with the 18th-ranked pre-hiatus remaining strength of schedule to the third-most difficult slate in Orlando. They have a comfortable lead over the Clippers and Nuggets, however, so the tough games likely won't hurt them -- in fact, the rough schedule could help ramp up intensity as the playoffs near. The chief concern for L.A. in the seeding games will be figuring out rotations, particularly with Avery Bradley out of the mix. --49-14
3 Clippers Still the front-runner to challenge the Lakers in the Western Conference, the Clippers' strength of schedule is largely unchanged. The biggest concern for them is that Lou Williams is considering opting out of the restart, which would be a tremendous blow to the Clippers' offensive attack and depth. If Williams plays, the Clippers should be one of the favorites to win the title. --44-20
4 Celtics Not only will the Celtics benefit from being fully healthy for the restart, but they'll also have one of the more favorable schedules in Orlando. They'll face the Blazers, Nets, Magic, Grizzlies and Wizards, all under .500, which could allow them to overtake the Raptors for the No. 2 seed in the East. 143-21
5 Raptors The Raptors had a tough remaining schedule to begin with, but they were handed an absolute gauntlet in Orlando. Six of the eight games are against teams with 39 or more wins, including the NBA-leading Bucks and Lakers, and they don't have any opponents who aren't currently in playoff position. Toronto would benefit from hanging onto the No. 2 seed, since that would mean a first-round matchup with the Magic, Nets or Wizards as opposed to the 76ers, Pacers or Heat. 146-18
6 Nuggets Denver had a tough remaining schedule before the shutdown, and it will stay that way at Walt Disney World. The West is interesting with the nullification of home-court advantage, so seeding doesn't really matter as much and matchups become more important. We'll have to see if there is any possible tanking in the final few games to set up teams for the matchup they want, as the Nos. 2 through 7 seeds in the West are all within four wins of each other. The Nuggets will hope their newly skinny superstar, Nikola Jokic, recovers from COVID-19 to lead them to playoff success. --43-22
7 76ers The Sixers hit the schedule jackpot, which should give them every opportunity to move up from the No. 6 spot in the East. They lead off with the Pacers, who may or may not have Victor Oladipo, then they get a run of five straight teams under .500. This means that Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons and the Sixers could start their Orlando season at 6-0 and build some serious momentum heading into the playoffs. 339-26
8 Heat Another victim of a rough schedule, the Heat went from the 14th-highest strength of schedule to the second-most difficult at Disney. They're in that logjam from the No. 4 through No. 6 seeds in the East, so falling to sixth wouldn't necessarily be the worst thing in the world for them, though they have lost both their matchups with the Celtics (currently No. 3 in the East) this season. 141-24
9 Thunder OKC's path to the playoffs got slightly more difficult in the bubble, but not much. The Thunder are currently in the fifth spot in the Western Conference, with the same record as the Rockets, but could easily move up to No. 3 or fall to No. 7 depending on their performance in their eight games. If they somehow end up in a first-round matchup against Houston, the entertainment value of the Chris Paul-James Harden drama would almost be too much to contain. 140-24
10 Rockets Houston's schedule got slightly more difficult, but it still must be excited that its players will be rested for the stretch run. James Harden's fatigue has commonly been suggested as a cause for the Rockets' recent playoff losses, so hopefully that won't be a factor this time around. This should also freshen up PJ Tucker, who has incredible demands placed on him defensively in the Rockets' small-ball configuration. 140-24
11 Mavericks The Mavericks were another beneficiary of a more lenient schedule, as they were projected to have the fourth-hardest remaining set of games before the hiatus, and move to 15th in Orlando. They have the Suns twice, plus the Kings and Blazers, which should give Luka Doncic, Kristaps Porzingis and Dallas a good chance to move up from the No. 7 spot and avoid a potential first-round matchup with the Clippers. --40-27
12 Jazz Utah has a more favorable Orlando schedule than before, but questions abound about how the Jazz will look without Bojan Bogdanovic, the team's second-leading scorer and lone high-volume spot-up 3-point threat. They're in the No. 4 spot in the West, but only 2 1/2 games ahead of the No. 7 Mavericks. So conceivably if things go poorly in the eight seeding games, the Jazz could play themselves into a first-round matchup with the Clippers. --41-23
13 Pacers Indiana's schedule got slightly easier at Disney, but the real question is whether Victor Oladipo will play, and how he'll look if he does. The All-Star was just starting to find his groove when the season shut down, and he'll need to see how his body responds as he ramps up conditioning before he decides whether to join his team for the resumption of the season. Without Oladipo and with Jeremy Lamb already lost to knee surgery, the Pacers would be much less of a playoff threat. --39-26
14 Pelicans New Orleans had the easiest remaining schedule of all 22 teams at the hiatus, so it's only fair it has the easiest schedule in Orlando. The Pelicans are the only team that has a combined opponent win percentage below .500, and each of their last six opponents currently own losing records. This puts them in prime position to chase down the Grizzlies for the No. 8 seed, whether outright or in a potential play-in series. Get ready for Zion Mania at Disney. 128-36
15 Grizzlies The Grizzlies were staring down the second-most difficult remaining schedule in the NBA before the hiatus, and now that drops to sixth-toughest, but their position at No. 8 in the West is still in peril. The Pelicans will be breathing down their necks with the easiest schedule in Orlando, so Ja Morant, Jaren Jackson Jr. and the Grizz will have to do all they can to fend them off. The good news for Memphis is that if it hangs onto No. 8 and is forced into a play-in series for the final playoff spot, it will only have to beat its opponent once out of two games. 132-33
16 Kings If any team is being slept on when discussing the restart, it's the Kings. They were one of the hottest teams in the NBA at the time of the hiatus, and now have the third-easiest schedule in Orlando. They were just starting to figure things out and now could have Marvin Bagley III back for some, if not all, of their seeding games. Watch out for Sacramento. 128-36
17 Nets The Nets went from the eighth-most difficult remaining schedule to the fourth-lightest, which should give them a good chance to hang onto the No. 7 seed and avoid play-in scenarios and a first-round matchup with the Bucks. They also have two matchups against the Magic, who are a half-game behind them in the standings, so their destiny is at least somewhat in their own hands. Even with Wilson Chandler opting out, Brooklyn shouldn't be in much danger of missing the postseason. 230-34
18 Magic Orlando's strength of schedule remains pretty much the same, and its main goal should be to chase down the Nets for the No. 7 spot in the East, thereby avoiding the Bucks in the first round. The Magic play Brooklyn twice in their eight games, so they'll have every opportunity to do that. --30-35
19 Trail Blazers With the return of Jusuf Nurkic and Zach Collins, Portland looked like a decent bet to challenge for a playoff spot ... and then the schedule came out. The Blazers go from the 16th most difficult remaining schedule to the fifth-toughest during the restart, which makes their climb to the postseason that much steeper. You never want to count out Damian Lillard, but this will be a monumental task, particularly since Trevor Ariza opted out of the restart for family reasons. 329-37
20 Spurs The Spurs' road to the playoffs got slightly more difficult due to the schedule, but really it got much more difficult because LaMarcus Aldridge had season-ending shoulder surgery. It's looking more and more like San Antonio's unconscionable 22-season postseason streak may finally come to an end, unless Gregg Popovich can somehow pull off a miracle at The Happiest Place on Earth. --27-36
21 Suns The Suns have a very slim chance of making the playoffs, and that certainly wasn't helped by their Orlando schedule -- the seventh-toughest of the 22 teams. It will be fun to watch Devin Booker and Deandre Ayton for as many games as they play, but winning may not be Phoenix's primary objective in the second half of the eight seeding games. --26-39
22 Wizards The Wiz got a decent schedule reprieve, as they were set to face the toughest remaining schedule before the hiatus but will now navigate the 10th-most difficult. It's still going to be an uphill battle to catch Orlando or Brooklyn, particularly without Davis Bertans, but Washington could conceivably get within four games to force a play-in series. It would be fun to watch Bradley Beal in a win-or-go-home scenario. --24-40
23 Hornets The Hornets' season is over, but they can take solace in the fact that they outperformed expectations and developed three players -- Devonte' Graham, Miles Bridges and PJ Washington -- who could be legitimate franchise cornerstones moving forward. They'll hope for lottery luck and continued growth this offseason, but the rebuild in Charlotte has just commenced. --23-42
24 Bulls It was a disappointing season for the Bulls, who finally gave in and revamped the front office after years of speculation. Chicago has talent -- Zach LaVine, Lauri Markkanen, Coby White, Wendell Carter Jr. -- but it has yet to find a way to translate it to wins. We'll see if the new brass opts to shuffle the deck this offseason. --22-43
25 Hawks The Hawks were really bad this year, just behind Cleveland for the third-worst net rating in the NBA, but there's reason to be hopeful with the development of Trae Young and John Collins, plus the addition of Clint Capela to potentially shore up their defensive woes. They have a promising young crop of wings with Kevin Huerter, De'Andre Hunter and Cam Reddish, and will likely get another high draft pick this offseason. Sooner or later, though, you have to actually start winning games. --20-47
26 Timberwolves D'Angelo Russell averaged nearly 22 points per game after coming over from the Warriors, but shot just 41 percent from the field and 35 percent from 3-point range. He'll obviously benefit from the presence of Karl-Anthony Towns, and the franchise hinges on the duo's success. Now it's time to start putting quality pieces around them. --19-45
27 Knicks We didn't learn much about the future of the Knicks this season -- we're still not sure how good RJ Barrett and Mitchell Robinson are, and we don't know whether Kevin Knox and Frank Ntilikina will be part of the team's plans. After a front office overhaul, the highest priority this offseason is finding a coach, with Tom Thibodeau's name reportedly at the top of the list. --21-45
28 Cavaliers The Cavs would have loved to have gotten a better look at Andre Drummond, but only got eight games out of him after trading for him at the deadline. Given the financial landscape of the league, he says he will "definitely" exercise his $29 million option for next season, so the decision wasn't really in Cleveland's hands anyway. Collin Sexton made a huge leap toward the end of the season, so the Cavs will hope he can build off of that while they continue to try to find a trade destination for Kevin Love. --19-46
29 Warriors The long, strange trip is finally over, as one of the most bizarre seasons in NBA history comes to an end. The Warriors gained valuable knowledge this year, namely that D'Angelo Russell didn't fit and that Eric Paschall is pretty good, but all eyes immediately shift to next season, when a healthy Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and Andrew Wiggins, plus whatever they get out of their high draft pick, should make Golden State a title contender once again. --15-50
30 Pistons In terms of NBA futures, it doesn't get much bleaker than the Detroit Pistons. Blake Griffin's monster contract will run through 2022 when he picks up the option, and the most promising young players on the roster are Luke Kennard and Bruce Brown. Christian Wood probably did enough to get the Pistons to make him a good offer this summer (who else are they going to spend money on?), but Detroit may be the leader in the clubhouse to enter next season with the league's lowest win total projection. --20-46