Celtics

NBA Rumors: Season could resume July 31 under this 22-team format

NBA Rumors: Season could resume July 31 under this 22-team format

The NBA reportedly has settled on a plan to resume the 2019-20 season, and it's pretty fascinating.

The NBA plans to propose a 22-team format for a resumed season in a Board of Governors meeting Thursday, The Athletic's Shams Charania reported Wednesday.

The league is targeting a July 31 date to resume the season, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, who added Wednesday that all 22 teams would play eight regular-regular season games at Orlando's Walt Disney World to determine playoff seeding under this format.

Download the MyTeams app for the latest Celtics news and analysis

The Boston Celtics had 18 regular-season games remaining before the NBA halted its season on March 11 due to the coronavirus pandemic. The C's currently own the No. 3 seed in the Eastern Conference and are three games behind the No. 2 seed Toronto Raptors and 2.5 games ahead of the No. 4 seed Miami Heat.

In addition to the 16 teams currently in playoff spots (eight from each conference), five Western Conference teams and one East team will head to Disney World to battle for a playoff berth in their respective conferences, per Wojnarowski.

The Blazers, Pelicans, Kings, Spurs and Suns all are within six games of the No. 8 seed Memphis Grizzlies in the West, while the Wizards are 5.5 games back of the No. 8 seed Magic in the East.

In both conferences, if the No. 9 seed is at least four games behind the No. 8 seed after the eight regular season games, the No. 8 seed will automatically move on to the playoffs. If not, the teams would have a play-in tournament that's double-elimination for the No. 8 seed and single-elimination for the No. 9 seed, per Charania.

Under the current seeding, the Celtics would face No. 6 seed Philadelphia 76ers in the first round of the playoffs. The Sixers have the same record as the Indiana Pacers, though, so a lot could change in eight games' time.

The Board of Governors is expected to approve this plan in Thursday's call, per Wojnarowski, so it's very possible we'll see the NBA return beginning July 31.

Enes Kanter Show: Celtics center explains importance of mental strength in NBA bubble

Enes Kanter Show: Celtics center explains importance of mental strength in NBA bubble

The NBA's bubble at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida will provide the players with plenty of fun activities -- bowling, golf, movies, video games and ping pong, among others -- in their spare time. This doesn't mean the environment will be without challenges, though.

The Boston Celtics traveled down to Orlando on Wednesday night, and they will be staying at the Gran Destino Tower during the league's restart.

Download the MyTeams app for the latest Celtics news and analysis

Not every player will be in perfect basketball shape once practices ramp up soon. That's understandable, and it's a challenge the players eventually will overcome. The mental challenges will be the most important -- and maybe the toughest -- to battle through given the uniqueness of the situation. 

In the latest episode of the The Enes Kanter Show podcast, Celtics center Enes Kanter explained the importance of mental strength in the league's bubble.

"All we have to do is get in game shape. We all know how to play basketball. It's like riding a bike -- you can't forget how to play basketball," Kanter said. "You can be a little rusty and get back into shape. But I think the important thing is the mental part because you're away from your family and loved ones for three months and now all you have is your basketball family and coaches. That's why the 3-month period before Orlando was so important to keep building that chemistry. I think now we're all bonding and the chemistry is really good. We all care about each other. We're just going to go out there and play golf, go bowling and fish all day, and other than that just play basketball. I feel, besides from the games, you can actually just relax. Read a book, just invest in yourself."

Enes Kanter Show: C's center gives first impressions of NBA bubble | Listen & Subscribe | Watch on YouTube

The bubble was made to ensure the players can continue playing in an environment that's as safe and as healthy as possible amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Players won't have the same freedom they normally do on the road, and the teams that are mentally tough and well prepared likely will enjoy the most success in Orlando.

Kanter is in no mood to complain. He's going to make the most out of the opportunity to compete for a championship, and you can bet his Celtics teammates will have a similar attitude. 

"Love it or hate, you're going to be here for three months," Kanter said. "So you might as well look at the positive side of it.

Check out The Enes Kanter Show on the NBC Sports Boston Podcast Network or watch on YouTube below:

Celtics at Home: Which superhero is Marcus Smart most like?

Celtics at Home: Which superhero is Marcus Smart most like?

Boston Celtics star Marcus Smart often plays like a superhero on the basketball court.

The versatile guard plays multiple positions on offense and guards all five positions on defense. He'll hit 3-pointers, set up the offense, dive on the floor for loose balls, guard the opposing teams' best player, etc. There aren't many things Smart can't provide the Celtics. This all-around skill set is quite valuable to the C's, especially on defense. Smart was named to the league's All-Defensive first team last season, and he deserves a spot in that group again in 2019-20. 

Download the MyTeams app for the latest Celtics news and analysis

In the latest episode of Celtics at Home, one of the topics in the Celtics Census segment was, "which superhero is Marcus Smart most like?"

We asked 300 Celtics fans for the top six answers, and several of them are superheroes you would definitely associate with a player who excels on the defensive end of the court.

NBC Sports Boston's Abby Chin and former Celtics center Kendrick Perkins teamed up against C's head coach Brad Stevens and Smart to see who could come up with the right answers. 

Watch the video below to find out which team won. Be sure to check out the NBC Sports Boston YouTube page for more Celtics at Home videos and other content.