The NBA may announce as early as Thursday what they are going to do with the remainder of the 2019-2020 season. It is going to be interesting to see which scenarios they would try to go with.
The NBA postseason is usually the heartbeat of the NBA season and it will be interesting to see how many teams go and how many stay home.
According to Shams Charania, a senior lead NBA Insider/Writer/Analyst for The Athletic and Stadium, he said on his twitter account on Friday, “Sources: The NBA discussed four competition scenarios for restart with the Board of Governors today.”
16 teams directly to the playoffs
20: Group stage/stage play
22: Games to determine seeding, play-in tournament for final seed(s)
30: 72-game regular season, with play-in tourney.
I don’t think that they need to move on with 30 teams or 22 teams for that matter. I think the group stage play or the straight 16 teams in the postseason should work.
Breaking It Down
There is no need to bring all 30 teams because teams like the New York Knicks, Cleveland Cavaliers, Atlanta Hawks, Phoenix Suns, Minnesota Timberwolves, and Golden State Warriors are all bad and there is no need to waste time with games because the risk could be even greater for another coronavirus outbreak if all teams return.
Keeping it to 16 and no more than 20 is fine. I would prefer it only being 16 teams because that is the integrity of the NBA Playoffs. I would also be okay with 20 teams because it would add two extra teams from each conference.
The four teams that would be added to this field is the Washington Wizards (24-20), Charlotte Hornets (23-42), Portland Trail Blazers (29-37), and New Orleans Pelicans (28-36).
They would break it down like a World Cup style. It would be four tiers and five teams would be in it. They would play each other twice and then the top two winners would then play each other in a best of seven series and so forth.
I would be curious to see how the NBA would break that down. In tier 1 it would be the: Milwaukee Bucks, Utah Jazz, Philadelphia 76ers, Orlando Magic, and Portland Trail Blazers.
For tier 2 it would be the: Los Angeles Lakers, Miami Heat, Oklahoma City Thunder, Memphis Grizzlies, and Washington Wizards.
In tier 3 it would be the: Los Angeles Clippers, Boston Celtics, Houston Rockets, Brooklyn Nets, and Charlotte Hornets.
For tier 4 it would be the: Toronto Raptors, Denver Nuggets, Dallas Mavericks, Indiana Pacers, and New Orleans Pelicans.
Keep It Simple
If the NBA decides not to do the tier format, then it will be the regular matchups of the #8 Orlando Magic (30-35) vs #1 Milwaukee Bucks (53-12), #7 Brooklyn Nets (30-34) vs #2 Toronto Raptors (46-18), #6 Philadelphia 76ers (39-26) vs #3 Boston Celtics (43-21), #5 Indiana Pacers (39-26) vs #4 Miami Heat (41-24), #8 Memphis Grizzlies (32-33) vs #1 Los Angeles Lakers (49-14), #7 Dallas Mavericks (40-27) vs #2 Los Angeles Clippers (44-20), #6 Houston Rockets (40-24) vs #3 Denver Nuggets (43-22), and #5 Oklahoma City Thunder (40-24) vs #4 Utah Jazz (41-23).
It has also been reported that the NBA season could potentially resume July 31. That is the target date that Adam Silver, the NBA commissioner has set, according to Shams.
This is going to be interesting to see what is decided on Thursday. Maybe we will have an announcement about a return to play earlier than expected.
The NHL already announced its return to play business last week and we are also waiting for the MLB to do the same.
At the end of the day, the NBA should have a 16-team playoff like it normally does, but I would be okay with 20 teams as well but it should be no more than that.
What do you think the NBA should do about its return to play policy and other scenarios relating to it? Leave a comment below.
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Follow Glenn Kaplan on Twitter @glennkaplan13.