If you’ve been looking forward to the NBA’s official plans for returning to action, today is your day.
The NBA announced today its plans for returning to play, with a format and schedule unlike anything we’ve ever seen.
They will be inviting 22 teams to Disney’s resort in Orlando Florida: 13 from the Western Conference, and 9 from the Eastern Conference, based on the teams’ overall records.
The top 16 teams in the Eastern and Western conferences will be joined by teams currently within six games of eighth place in the two conferences — New Orleans, Portland, San Antonio, Sacramento, Phoenix and Washington, sources said.
There will be 8 regular season games played in Orlando, which will be played based off of each team’s original remaining games on the schedule, skipping any games that are against a team not in the “top 22”. After the 8 regular season games are played, a play-in tournament will be held for the final seed in each conference, as long as the trailing team is within four games.
The play-in tournament will include the No. 8 and No. 9 teams — if the ninth seed finishes the regular season within four games of the eighth, sources said. In that case, the No. 8 seed enters a double-elimination tournament, and the No. 9 seed a single-elimination tournament, sources said.
So, where does that put things for the Utah Jazz?
Well, first of all, they will be without their sharpshooter and international heart-breaker in Bojan Bogdanovic, who is out for the remainder of the season after wrist surgery weeks ago. So that’s obviously less than ideal. But here is how their remaining 8 games shake out and willl be played in Orlando:
OKC - NOP - MEM - LAL - LAL- SAS - SAS - DAL
It’s obviously a tough schedule, but when you take out the worst teams in the league, everyone’s schedules get a little bit tougher. The Jazz’s SOS for their new schedule falls right about average among other teams in the group of 22.
Remember, all games will be held at neutral site at Disney’s complex in Orlando, so there will be no homecourt advantage, or will there be?
According to Dave McMenamin, several executives from top NBA teams told ESPN they are trying to push other types of “homecourt advantages” to reward the teams that would have had it.
Some of the scenarios discussed, sources told ESPN, include:
The higher-seeded team being awarded the first possession of the second, third and fourth quarters, following the traditional jump ball to begin the game.
The higher-seeded team being allowed to designate one player to be able to be whistled for seven fouls instead of six before fouling out.
The higher-seeded team receiving an extra coach’s challenge.
The higher-seeded teams being able to transport their actual hardwood home court from their arenas to Orlando to try to preserve the feel of their home playing experience.
An off-court feature in which playoff teams, in order of seeding 1-16, receive first choice on picking which hotel they will stay at in the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex and Disney World Resort. ESPN is owned by the Walt Disney Co.
Pretty wild stuff to imagine happening in an actual NBA basketball game, but in the year 2020 nothing really seems abnormal, does it?
The return to basketball is finally on it’s way. Given the insane implications of COVID-19, and the recent movements, protests, and events surrounding the murder of George Floyd, the finale of this season will feel very different. It will be interesting to see how NBA players respond to this modified ending of their season, and who comes out on top of the 2019-2020 NBA season.