We’re getting closer to seeing the NBA resume their season.
The NBA’s Board of Governors is expected to vote in favor of whichever plan to relaunch the NBA season is put forward by the league office when they reconvene this coming Thursday, per Woj. This comes following a meeting held Friday which included a “discussion/debate of the possible plans” for resuming league play, though no consensus was reached in favor of any one plan among team governors.
In any plan, the one element that seems to have taken concrete shape is the location. As I reported earlier this week, ESPN’s Wide World of Sports at Walt Disney World in Orlando has all but been selected as the NBA’s bubble site, over other proposed locations such as Las Vegas. While the resort has spaces for games, work outs, and living accommodations, there is of course a finite amount of space in the bubble site.
This has lead to a debate around who gets to make it into the NBA’s bubble–a conversation exacerbated by remarks from Portland Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard this week. Lillard, probably reflecting the feelings of a lot of NBA players, stated that he was not interested in participating in league play just to “finish the regular season” and satisfy television deals that require 70 games, if his Blazers had no shot of making the playoffs. When the season was suspended, the Trail Blazers were 3 and a half games behind the 8th seeded Memphis Grizzlies with 15 games remaining in the season. An abbreviated 70 game season would only give the Blazers three games, not enough to make a shift up the standings ladder.
The main point of debate among the NBA’s Board of Governors–as well as its fandom–has been around how to give teams that were within reach of the Playoffs a shot without playing out the full remaining season (bringing back all 30 teams was put forth by the league office, but found no support). One idea, explained and advocated for here by the Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor, is to have a 20 team World Cup Style Group Stage replacing the first round. Teams would be tiered by current seeding regardless of conference and separated into four groups of five, with the top two teams by record from each group advancing to a more traditional second round.
It seems, however, that this has fallen out of favor among the Board of Governor compared to a plan that would bring back all 16 teams currently in the playoff picture as well as 4-6 teams closest to a playoff push. There would then be a stretch of 8 games each for the remaining teams to end the regular season, with seeding being used for a play-in tournament for the eighth seed in each conference among the bottom remaining teams.
But a lot can change in a week, over half of the Board of Governors is also in favor of just bringing back the 16 teams currently in the playoff picture. Exactly 16 owners are in favor of this–I’m betting we can all guess who they are.
Image Source: AP Images