The NBA’s resumption bid in Orlando, Fla. kicking off July 31 will involve 22 teams. All 22 will finish out their respective regular season slates with eight games each, followed by potential play-in series for each conference’s eighth seed, followed by a traditional (or as traditional as is possible) 16-team playoff.
That plan came after months of deliberation between commissioner Adam Silver and a litany of voices across the league. And in those deliberations a number of creative solutions were discussed — from a World Cup-style group stage first round to a 30-team play-in tournament.
The compulsion to face an unprecedented situation with unprecedented ideas is an understandable one. And the resolution of the NBA’s 2019-20 season will be without historical comparison.
But Silver said in an appearance on Inside the NBA on TNT Thursday night that Michael Jordan, owner of the Charlotte Hornets, was one of the swing voices that pushed the league to pursue a traditional postseason format after the 16 playoff teams were established. Jordan’s voice evidently carries a lot of weight in such discussions.
“This was a point made by Michael Jordan — whose team, the Charlotte Hornets are not one of the 22 teams, but he’s clearly the most respected voice in the room when it comes to basketball — he felt it was very important that after we established the 16 teams we not be gimmicky,” Silver said. “Because there were a lot of proposals on the table to do unique tournaments and pool play like you see in international competition. And we took many of those proposals very seriously.
“Ultimately, I agreed with Michael that there's so much chaos in the world right now, even before the racial unrest we’re experiencing now, let’s come as close to normal as we can. And as close to normal as we can is top eight in the West, top eight in the East playing four rounds of seven games. So that’s what we intend to do and our goal is to crown a champion.”
And so, here we are. Even with many questions still to be answered, the NBA is on a fast track to returning.
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