Let’s for a second assume that the 2019-20 NBA campaign will ultimately resume in July. Nothing has been solidified just yet, and talks to bring back the season are just exploratory at this point, but the league is mulling over some ideas.
If the NBA does return, how will things work in terms of the regular season and the playoffs?
Well, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic, general managers received a survey this past Friday in which they were able to vote on numerous scenarios.
Here are what seem to be the best three ways to resume the season:
3. The “Playoffs Plus” option
One potential option is holding a play-in tournament to determine the final seeds in the playoffs to give teams that were in postseason contention a chance to get in.
We don’t know exactly how this would work, but you have to figure the NBA would do something like having all teams within X amount of games of a playoff spot battle for berths.
Of course, you then run into the problem of penalizing teams that were already in the playoff picture. Would it be fair to boot the Memphis Grizzlies, per se — who are 3.5 games ahead of the next closest for the eighth seed in the Western Conference — for the Blazers because they lose one play-in game?
However, this option does seem better than just jumping into the playoffs at once.
2. Straight to playoffs, reseed 1-16
This is a scenario that has been thrown around quite a bit in previous years to even things out in terms of balance.
Should we even have eight teams make the playoffs from each respective conference, or should the 16 best clubs be seeded based on record regardless of the conference?
This seems like a perfect time to attempt to try that scenario.
Is it entirely fair to the teams who were on the bubble? No, but I don’t think you are really going to have any options that are going to be “fair” at this point.
In this scenario, the Milwaukee Bucks would be the top seed and the Orlando Magic would be 16th.
This would certainly create some rather interesting inter-conference matchups that we wouldn’t normally get to see until The Finals, so there is some intrigue here.
1. Resume the regular season with no adjustments
If you want to keep things as just as possible, then resuming the regular season with no adjustments to the number of games played or playoff seeding is the best way to go.
The biggest issue here is the length of time this would take. If the regular season returns at some point in mid-to-late July, you are looking at the playoffs not being completed until the middle of fall, which would be weird.
But I don’t see how any scenario wouldn’t be weird at this stage.
This would satisfy the purists and would give every team in the NBA an equal chance of making the postseason and winning the championship.
Yes, it would take a while, but in the end, it would be worth the trouble of finally declaring a legitimate champion.