NBA plans to approve 22-team return

Update #1, 2:35 PM: Things are coming together for the NBA. The board of governors is fully expected to approve the NBA’s proposal, which outlines a return to action. Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reported that the NBA’s plan includes a total of 22 teams coming back to play for an eight-game regular season, a potential play-in tournament, and then the playoffs.

The closest example to those regular-season games is the NBA’s summer league, reported by SLAM’s Keith Smith. The games are expected to take place on multiple courts simultaneously throughout the day.

ESPN reported that if the No. 9 seed in either conference ends up within four games of the No. 8 seeds, the teams will partake in the play-in tournament. In that instance, the team currently in eighth place would hold a double-elimination advantage.

This is the NBA’s attempt to allow teams on the bubble of the postseason to finish the 2019-2020 campaign realistic chance to make the postseason. The original playoff format includes the eight best teams from each conference, equaling 16 total teams. In this amendment to the NBA’s original law, the six best teams left out of the playoffs would be elgible to compete for a playoff spot, not based on the conference. Based on the NBA standings as of March 11, there would be five Western Conference teams and one Eastern Conference team.

The West is the most competitive, and it’s obvious right now. The Portland Trail Blazers, New Orleans Pelicans, Sacramento Kings, and San Antonio Spurs are separated by 0.5 games. They’ll all have an outside chance of chasing down the Memphis Grizzlies that are three games ahead of them for eighth.

The Suns are included but have a slim chance of rallying to the eighth spot.

The East is a little different. It’s less competitive with the Wizards having the only chance, though still slim, to chase down the Orlando Magic for the eighth seed, where they’re 5.5 games behind.

It’s not a secret that the NBA plans to return but exclusively play at Disney World in Orlando. The target return date to resume action is on July 31, with Game 7 of the NBA finals scheduled to take place on Oct. 12.

About the author

Founder & Editor-in-Chief. National Association of Black Journalists. University of Central Oklahoma.

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