The Plan to Finish the 2020 NBA Season
Written by: Jonathan Lidskin
On Thursday, the NBA Board of Governors plans to approve a 22 team restart to the NBA season. The plan is a little more complicated than fans originally thought, but the NBA has clearly laid out their guidelines and have a solid format for finishing the season. Here is what you need to know:
Who will make the playoffs?
The NBA invited 22 teams to its’ “bubble” in Orlando. Those 22 teams consist of 9 Eastern Conference teams and 13 Western Conference teams. All of the current playoff teams are invited to Orlando as well as the Pelicans, Blazers, Kings, Spurs, Suns and Wizards. Each team will play 8 games to finish the regular season. At the conclusion of those 8 games, if the 9th seed in a conference trails the 8th seed by more than 4 games, the 8th seed makes the playoffs. If the 9th seed trails by 4 or less games, there will be a “play-in tournament” for that final spot in the playoffs. The top 7 seeds in each conference automatically make the playoffs. In the “play-in tournament”, the 8th seed would only have to beat the 9th seed one time in order to clinch a playoff berth, while the 9th seed would have to beat the 8th seed twice. The regular season games will also matter for the 13 teams (excluding the Nets) who have basically clinched a playoff berth as they will still be jockeying for seeding despite already clinching a playoff berth.
The Memphis Grizzlies currently hold the 8th seed in the West, but could play a “play-in tournament" against one of four other Western Conference teams (Photo: Bleacher Report)
How will the playoffs work?
From what it sounds like, the playoffs will still be 4 best of 7 games series’. If this is the case, expect the series to run much faster than normal as the NBA plans on having a longer schedule for a playoff format that typically runs for 60 days. In terms of how this would be possible, the NBA could probably run 4 games a day just using one court at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. With the regular season games, I’m not sure if it would be possible to only use one court and finish the season that quickly. However, it will be interesting to see how the NBA will use this complex to its full advantage.
When will the season run until?
The NBA currently plans on starting the season on July 31st. They also have game 7 of The Finals planned for October 12th. This is about 15 days longer than the normal playoffs. The NBA doesn’t need as many days because teams won’t be traveling, but considering they are still playing 8 regular season games per team, the playoffs will likely be less games per days, but the games would be more frequent. In terms of this schedule, the NBA would definitely not start next season on time. There have already been rumors of the next season starting on Christmas Day, but that is something the NBA will worry about at a later date. For now, fans should be happy that the league has a solid plan in place to get the league restarted and crown a 2020 NBA champion.