NBA playoffs could look drastically different once play resumes

NBA playoffs could look drastically different once play resumes

It appears that the return of the NBA is just around the corner, with the league planning to hold a Board of Governors meeting on Thursday to decide if the teams want to move forward with Adam Silver's plan to restart the season. 

However, it's unclear what the return to play could look like. Could the league return and play the full regular season? Will they play a cut-down regular season, then advance to the playoffs? Will the just nix the regular season altogether and go straight to the playoffs? All options are on the table. 

In a recent survey of GM's, 53% said they would prefer to advance directly to playoffs, while 27% would prefer to resume with a shortened regular season. 

There has also been talks about reseeding 1-16 regardless of conference, instead of 1-8 in the East and West. According to that same survey, 53% of GMs are in favor of keeping the normal format, while the other 47% prefer reseeding. 

Ramona Shelbourne and Kevin O'Connor have reported similar scenarios where we could see all teams within six-games of a playoff spot playing a regular-season slate and a play-in tournament for the final playoff spots.

NBC Sports national basketball reporter Tom Haberstroh has his own unique idea. 

Reseed teams 1-through-16 (or 20 or 24) and let the higher-seeded teams (Nos. 1 through 8) choose their opponents in every round. The No. 1 seed would choose its opponent from a pool of the bottom half of the playoff field (eight teams in a 16-team playoff or 10 if the league decides to expand to 20 teams). The No. 2 seed would choose from the remaining teams and so on. You could broadcast the selections -- call it Selection Saturday if the NCAA doesn’t have rights to that as well -- in real-time, just like the NBA did for the All-Star draft. - Tom Haberstroh 

[READ MORE: NBA playoffs need a draft and here's how it would look]

None of these ideas are bad, but I do think I solved the problem already. 

I propose the NBA hold two unique playoff brackets when they do return - One for top 16 teams, one for the bottom 14.

The teams seeded 1-16 will battle it out in a normal, best-of-seven playoff format, with the winner to be crowned NBA Champions as usual. 

However, the unique twist is in the teams seeded 17-30. The bottom 14 teams, rather than pack it up and go on vacation, will battle it out in a tournament of their own - A tournament to decide draft order. 

No more lottery. No more luck. You have to earn the top spot. Win the bottom 14 tournament, earn the No.1 overall pick. 

Oh, there is a twist...

Teams right on the buddle of making the playoffs, such as the Trail Blazers, Pelicans, and Spurs have a choice. They can either remain in the bottom 14 and start there march to the No.1 pick, or they can risk it all in a single-elimination, sudden death style play-in for a chance at earning the eighth and final playoff spot. 

To me, this adds intrigue. Bubble teams can decide if they want to go after a title or a better pick. It would also mean teams that were out of the playoff picture now have meaningful games to play. 

Teams like the Warriors would get to see more action, instead of packing it up. Even better, large media markets like Atlanta, Chicago, and New York would have meaningful basketball to watch. 

Of course, you may run into a situation where star players don't want to play in a tournament where a championship isn't the prize. But that might not be a bad thing. 

Say Portland plays for the No.1 pick, but Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum choose not to participate in the tournament. There is still a ton of intrigue in seeing if Anfernee Simons, Gary Trent Jr, and Wenyen Gabriel can put on a show to win this tourney!  Young players entering about to enter free-agency, or players on two-way contracts would get a giant stage to shine on.

Just look at what incredible March Madness runs have done for certain player's draft stocks. A tournament for the bottom 14 could do the same for a player looking for his next deal.

Most important, It would just be fun to watch meaningful basketball, would it not?

My idea has its flaws. No idea is perfect,  but no idea is bad at this point.

As I said earlier, everything is on the table. All ideas should be considered so that when the NBA does return, we get the best basketball in the world and as much of it as we can.

What will the final product look like? We should know soon enough, 


The NBA restart will give players not only a platform but also a voice

The NBA restart will give players not only a platform but also a voice

The countdown is on to the resumption of the 2019-20 NBA season with the first slate of games tipping off July 30.

On the latest Talkin' Blazers podcast, NBA Champion Channing Frye and Emmy Award winner Dan Sheldon give us their thoughts and predictions about life in the Orlando Bubble as the Trail Blazers and the other 21 participating teams begin training camp this week.

Frye discusses how the NBA "are the leaders when it comes to their players’ voices" in professional sports.

The NBA has made it clear that they will continue the movement for equality, and do not want to detract from the current Black Lives Matter movement.

[RELATED]: Trail Blazers enter NBA's Bubble in Orlando-- everything you need to know

Frye believes that by having superstar NBA players together in one place to resume play, it will be like giving players a megaphone. He also feels that LeBron James will continue to lead by example.

For me, the NBA has by far and away shown that they are the leaders when it comes to their players’ voices, supporting everything to be whatever and whoever you want to be, and I think this is just another example of that. I think it’s giving the players a megaphone for their voice and for their beliefs… it's absolutely amazing. It’s empowering and it changes generations. -- Channing Frye on the latest Talkin’ Blazers Podcast

Fyre also added that LeBron James will be and has been instrumental in allowing players to feel comfortable in sharing their thoughts and opinions, saying, “[LeBron] is the leader of the NBA, whether people want to acknowledge that or not, he has set a precedent that you’re allowed to speak your mind on your truths and what you believe in.”

Ahead of traveling to Orlando, both Damian Lillard and Blazers coach Terry Stotts shared their vision in looking to continue the social injustice conversations.

Lillard, who attended a Black Live Matter march in Portland last month, believes the NBA has a real opportunity to use its platform to make impactful statements and continue to support the black community when play resumes.   

Obviously there will be a lot of eyes on us in Orlando. So I do agree with the fact that it’s an opportunity for us to make statements with the amount of people that’s going to be watching -- whether that’s together, before games, during games, after games, TV commercials, whatever that might be, I do see some opportunities in that.  -- Trail Blazers All-Star point guard Damian Lillard

The Blazers landed in Orlando Thursday evening. Following two days of quarantine, Portland will hit the ground running with their first team practice Saturday night. 

Life inside NBA bubble won't be boring from an outsider's perspective

Life inside NBA bubble won't be boring from an outsider's perspective

The Portland Trail Blazers arrived in Orlando, Florida Thursday evening and now will be quarantined for two days before training camp begins Saturday night in the NBA bubble.

With only one back-to-back, and a handful of matinee games locally, here's how Portland’s ‘regular season’ of eight games shakes out:

  • Friday, July 31 vs. Memphis Grizzlies (1:00p.m. Pacific Time)
  • Sunday, Aug. 2 vs. Boston Celtics (12:30pm Pacific Time)
  • Tuesday, Aug. 4 vs. Houston Rockets (6:00p.m. Pacific Time)
  • Thursday, Aug. 6 vs. Denver Nuggets (5:00p.m. Pacific Time)
  • Saturday, Aug. 8 vs. LA Clippers  (10:00a.m. Pacific Time)
  • Sunday, Aug. 9 vs. Philadelphia 76ers (3:30p.m. Pacific Time)
  • Tuesday, Aug. 11 vs. Dallas Mavericks (2:00p.m. Pacific Time)
  • Thursday, Aug. 13 vs. Brooklyn Nets (TBD)

[RELATED]: Trail Blazers enter NBA's Bubble in Orlando-- everything you need to know

As players look to get back in game shape during the NBA’s three-week training camp, we are all looking to keep up with life in the bubble.

And so far, looking at the social media posts from the bubble -- they have not disappointed.

With players, staff members, and media members all eager to share what life in the bubble looks like, it will almost feel as if we are down in Orlando.

And we are here for it!


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A post shared by Hassan Whiteside (@hassanwhiteside) on


[RELATED]: Damian Lillard, CJ McCollum roast Gary Trent Jr. for airplane bathroom photoshoot


Another big topic of conversation has been the food provided to the players and staff inside the bubble.

And, we should say -- the not-so appetizing food. 

[RELATED]: Damian Lillard will be proven right about players breaking the bubble


[Listen to the latest Talkin’ Blazers Podcast with hosts NBA Champion Channing Frye and Emmy Award winner Dan Sheldon].

Damian Lillard, CJ McCollum roast Gary Trent Jr. for airplane bathroom photoshoot

Damian Lillard, CJ McCollum roast Gary Trent Jr. for airplane bathroom photoshoot

C’mon Gary….

Isn’t there a common understanding that IF you have to use the bathroom on an airplane, that you get in do your business and leave as quickly as possible?

Well, turns out Portland Trail Blazers second-year player Gary Trent Jr. got a little bored on the coast to coast flight from Portland to Orlando and decided to do turn said bathroom into a studio.

In his words, “long flight.”

View this post on Instagram

Long flight 👺🤣✈️

A post shared by G Trent (@gtrentjr) on


[Listen to the latest Talkin’ Blazers Podcast with hosts NBA Champion Channing Frye and Emmy Award winner Dan Sheldon].

I mean, it is around a six hour flight from Portland to Orlando, so the likelihood of having to use the bathroom is indeed higher. Turns out there was a line behind him waiting to use the facilities.

Teammates Damian Lillard, CJ McCollum, Zach Collins, Nassir Little and Anfernee Simons all called out GTJ on the situation.

“Bra this why I had to wait to use the damn bathroom?” - Damian Lillard

“Bruh something wrong with you.” — CJ McCollum

“That 3rd photo got me weak.” — Anfernee Simons

This is what we were waiting on!?” — Zach Collins

“Im tryna take a piss and you in there doin this.” — Nassir Little

Maybe GTJ learned his lesson for next time...

The Trail Blazers landed in Orlando, Flordia and arrived at their hotel (Disney's Yacht Club) on Thursday evening. Friday is a quarantine day and then the Blazers will begin practice on Saturday.

Read more on head coach Terry Stotts' plans for practices/scrimmages before Portland's first game on July 31.

Trail Blazers enter NBA's Bubble in Orlando-- everything you need to know

Trail Blazers enter NBA's Bubble in Orlando-- everything you need to know

Twenty-two NBA teams will soon all enter in the Orlando, Florida bubble to resume the 2019-20 season where they will spend a minimum of five weeks at the Walt Disney World campus.

The resumption of the season in the bubble starts now for the Trail Blazers.

The Blazers landed in Orlando at 7:00 p.m. Eastern time Thursday. The team will now start to settle into their new digs as the initial protocol of being quarantined for the first two days begins.  

And Zach Collins will be taking us along for the ride!

The NBA’s bubble has already proven to be a fascinating situation. After seeing Nuggets shooting guard Troy Daniels’ food options in the bubble, social media erupted about the not-so-appealing dish.  

Thursday it was reported that the NBA has now partnered with a handful of restaurants to provide delivery services to the bubble. 

[Listen to the latest Talkin’ Blazers Podcast with hosts NBA Champion Channing Frye and Emmy Award winner Dan Sheldon].

The Blazers will get their first chance to practice as a team on Saturday as their three-week training camp begins.  

Portland will also play in three scrimmages before the Blazers tip-off their eight 'regular season' slate:

  • Thursday, July 23 vs. Indiana at 12:30 p.m. PT
  • Sunday, July 26 vs. Toronto at 3:00 p.m. PT
  • Tues, July 28 vs. Oklahoma City at 3:00 p.m. PT 

The scrimmages will have the look and feel of a typical NBA game.

“The only thing I know about the scrimmages is that they're going to be games,” Blazer coach Terry Stotts said earlier this week. “They're going to be 48-minute games [with]referees. So it's not going to be an informal scrimmage... It's going to be conducted just like a regular game.”

Teams started to arrive in Orlando on Tuesday this week with all 22 teams scheduled to enter the bubble by the end of the week.

The Clippers, the Thunder, the Celtics, the Pelicans, the Kings, the Grizzlies, the Heat, the Wizards, the Jazz, the Nuggets, the Nets, and the Suns all touched down in Orlando earlier this week.

Check out the quick links below to get up to speed on all things Trail Blazers as Portland gets set to tip-off its three-week training:


CJ McCollum gets candid about race in America

CJ McCollum gets candid about race in America

Racism has taken a seat front and center in the 2020 news cycle.

The killing of George Floyd at the hands of law enforcement sparked countless riots and protests across the country. Protests that continue more than a month after his passing. 

The protests, coupled with the Black Lives Matter movement, have forced many of us to have the uncomfortable conversation about racism in this country. 

Among the many having the conversation is Portland Trail Blazers shooting guard CJ McCollum.

"What's happened in the world now has given us a chance to have those uncomfortable conversations," said McCollum in a recent NBA roundtable, "I'm a black man. I've faced racism. I've gone up against racism, but I still didn't know enough. I still wasn't as educated as I would like to be. I just tried to watch as many movies as I could, as many documentaries as I could, read as many books as I could so that when I have those conversations, I'm not just biased. I'm not talking about my experiences, I'm talking about the experiences of my ancestors, the experiences of everyone."

[Listen to the latest Talkin’ Blazers Podcast with hosts NBA Champion Channing Frye and Emmy Award winner Dan Sheldon].

While, on the surface, we have come so far since the end of segregation and the Civil Rights Act of 1964, it is very apparent that we still have so far to go.

As a way to help educate and bridge the gap, NBA stars Blake Griffin, Harrison Barnes, and Kyle Korver recently paired with McCollum to have a candid conversation about race in America. 

The conversation was aired in its entirety on the Excel Sports Management Instagram page (listen to the full interview below). 

While each of us has a unique perspective and experience in regards to racism, it was incredibly powerful to hear from these four.

McCollum, in particular, struck a chord, as he shared stories about race and his experience in Portland.

"Fast forward to being drafted to Portland, Oregon, it's a place that is extremely white," said McCollum. "Having gone to the African American museums and we learn more about Oregon's history, you'll find out that it wasn't too long ago where all the blacks were forced to leave... This was a place that wasn't big on racism in terms of slavery, but they believed that this should be an all-white place."

Growing up in Oregon, I've learned a lot, I've seen a lot. There is a city called Lake Oswego, they call it Lake No Negro, in a sense as a running joke because the only black people that live there now either play professionally, work for Nike, work for Intel... it's like a running joke. I never really truly understood it until I researched the history of Oregon. - CJ McCollum on race in America

Not only does Oregon have a sad history with the African American population, but the state also held Japanese Americans in internment camps during World War II.

While race relations may be a stain on Oregon's history, it's an important part none the less. It is something that you look back on, learn about, and hope that your knowledge helps prevent us from ever repeating.  

It doesn't change the past, but the knowledge can help heal the wound.

As a black man, McCollum has a perspective that many of the fans who root for him can't understand. McCollum also happens to be engaged to a white woman. It's something that he is thankful for because it has allowed him to better understand a race experience wholly different than his own.

As a person who's marrying a white woman, I have a very good understanding of white race, I have a very good understanding of black race. My job as a guy who plays in the NBA, my job for my neighborhood and where I come from is to try to bridge the gap to allow people to understand my perspective, but also sharing my wife's perspective, her family's perspective. -- CJ McCollum on race in America  

McCollum also talked about how perception can create racism even if you don't know it. How people have an idea in their head of how a certain person, a certain race is supposed to act and when someone doesn't conform to that stereotype it throws people off. 

"I think there's a lot of preconceived notions as a black man on how we're supposed to behave, how we behave historically, how we act," said McCollum. "When you're a 'proper' black man, it catches people off guard, they're surprised. 'Oh, he's so well-spoken. He's so this, he's so that. He's so educated.' It's almost as if assume that since you're a black man you wouldn't be... it happens far too often."

However, it's not a one-way street, and McCollum admits it. As a young black man, McCollum said that he had many false narratives about the white community. Ideas of how white people should act, think, speak, etc. It wasn't until attending Lehigh University, and predominantly white university, that McCollum learned that his ideas were wrong. 

My perception has changed because of my experiences. I even had some biases or racism toward whites based on what I was taught, based on what I seen growing up, based on what you hear in the neighborhood. Then you go to an all-white school and you realize a lot of those things aren't true. There are great black individuals in this world, and there are ones who aren't doing things the way they're supposed to do. The same thing goes for the white race. -- CJ McCollum on race in America 

This is why the conversation about race in America is so important.

McCollum himself had his preconceived notions wiped away through experience and learning. 

If you just act like an ostrich and bury your head in the sand, you'll never get a chance to listen and learn from someone else's experience. 

You may have negative stereotypes in your head about certain populations and not even realize it. But through listening and learning, you, too, can begin to bridge the gap and shift the narrative.

McCollum is an NBA superstar. A person with a platform that millions of people can listen to. McCollum has done his part, he took to the time to speak. 

Now it's time for us to listen and learn, and hopefully help create the change needed to make the world a better place. 

Trail Blazers are bubble bound

Trail Blazers are bubble bound

The Trail Blazers are on their way to resume the 2019-20 season in the Orlando bubble.

All 22 participating teams will be in Orlando by the end of the week after teams started arriving at the Walt Disney World campus on Tuesday.

The Trail Blazers should be able to settle in at their Disney Yacht Club hotel by 8:00 p.m. local Orlando time.

Trail Blazers point guard Damian Lillard said goodbye to his fiancée and his son Dame Jr. at the airport this morning. The Blazers will spend a minimum of 5 weeks in the bubble.


[RELATED]: Trail Blazers return to play schedule in Orlando released

The Clippers, Thunder, Celtics, Pelicans, Kings, Grizzlies, Heat, Wizards, Jazz, Nuggets, Nets, and Suns all touched down in Orlando earlier this week.

[Listen to the latest Talkin’ Blazers Podcast with hosts NBA Champion Channing Frye and Emmy Award winner Dan Sheldon].

As for Portland, the Trail Blazers will now quarantine for the next day and a half before training camp practice begins on Saturday evening in Orlando. We will hear from the Blazers via a Zoom call following their first practice.   

[RELATED]: Trail Blazers Coach Terry Stotts maps out Portland's practices in Orlando 

Former Blazer Patty Mills will donate every cent of NBA salary to fight racism

Former Blazer Patty Mills will donate every cent of NBA salary to fight racism

Patty Mills wants to put an end to racism and he’s willing to donate his remaining NBA salary to do so. 

When the NBA restarts in Orlando, the San Antonio Spurs guard will participate, but with the goal of tackling racial inequality. Mills, an Australian native, will donate the approximately $1,017,818.54 he earns in the eight games scheduled at the Disney World campus to Black Lives Matter organizations. 

"I'm playing in Orlando because I don't want to leave any money on the table that could be going directly to Black communities," Mills said in the video. 

Mills, who played in Portland for two seasons from 2009-11, said the salary will be going to Black Lives Matter Australia, Black Deaths in Custody, and We Got You, a campaign he helped organize that is dedicated to ending racism in sport in Australia.

For the first time in my career, I have white people — teammates, old teammates, old coaches — telling me they never knew the level of racism in sport, especially in Australia. They haven’t felt comfortable asking me, as a black Australian, about racism before. Which speaks to the impact and value of the Black Lives Matter movement and the millions who have participated in protests around the world.”

[Listen to the latest Talkin’ Blazers Podcast with hosts NBA Champion Channing Frye and Emmy Award winner Dan Sheldon].

The NBA’s commitment to social justice causes will also be prominent in the league's return. The NBA is allowing players to make personalized statements on their jerseys through the remainder of the season.

Trail Blazers All-Star Damian Lillard has chosen the statement “How Many More?” according to Chris Haynes of Yahoo! Sports. Lillard’s backcourt mate, CJ McCollum, will use his jersey to make a statement about education reform in the Black community. 

Teams are slowly arriving to the NBA bubble this week. The Trail Blazers will arrive on Thursday around 7:00 p.m. local time and are among eight arrivals of the 22 teams participating in the league’s restart. 

[RELATED]: Trail Blazers Coach Terry Stotts maps out Portland's practices in Orlando 

Jusuf Nurkic announces Bosnian Beast clothing line

Jusuf Nurkic announces Bosnian Beast clothing line

Jusuf Nurkic might just be a fashion icon. 

The Blazers big man hasn't played in a game since March 25, 2019 when he broke his leg against the Brooklyn Nets, but he has been making great use of some of his spare time.

While hitting the rehab trail, Nurkic was an ever-present body on the Portland bench. 

Fans loved seeing Nurk in the arena, but they also loved to see what he was going to be wearing. 

From the stylized suits to his graphic tees, Nurkic was always dressed to impress. 

Now he is taking that sense of fashion he has put on display for years in Portland and turning it into his own brand. 

On Wednesday, Nurkic took to social media to announce the Bosnian Beast clothing line. 

[Listen to the latest Talkin’ Blazers Podcast with hosts NBA Champion Channing Frye and Emmy Award winner Dan Sheldon].

For a very limited time, July 10th through the 13th to be exact, fans can head to to buy their favorite Nurk merch.

While the news of the new line was great to hear, those with a keen eye may have noticed Nurkic dropping hints on social media in recent weeks and wearing some of the merchandise during workouts. 

Something tells me Nurkic is gonna have no problem pushing his new product in Rip City.



Trail Blazers preparing for no home-court advantage

Trail Blazers preparing for no home-court advantage

A lot has been made about no fans attending NBA games in the Orlando bubble. 

The phrase, 'it'll be interesting' keeps coming up when talking to players and coaches about the resumption of the season with no spectators. 

Trail Blazers big man Zach Collins said that this unique situation isn’t going to force him to adjust his game or his trash talking.  

I'm not going to change. So y'all might hear some pretty vulgar language coming out of my mouth, but, you know, I don't know... We'll see. I'll try to play it by ear. I don't want to change how I play and how I talk. But, we'll see. -- Trail Blazers big man Zach Collins

Okay, now that we’ve been forewarned, we’ll be ready for all the smack talk. 

The league has been working with both national and regional television broadcast crews on the challenge of what should, and what will ultimately be heard over the airwaves.

There have been several ideas floated out there to how the television broadcast will look and feel, which includes the possibility of pumping out crowd noise to help out the 'home team.' 

[Listen to the latest Talkin’ Blazers Podcast with hosts NBA Champion Channing Frye and Emmy Award winner Dan Sheldon].

Besides potentially hearing the players on the court a bit more than usual (or maybe a lot more), the players themselves have realized the experience without fans is part of the restart that they will need to adjust to quickly.

Trail Blazers veteran Carmelo Anthony mentioned this week that it will become obvious who really feeds off the crowd and needs that extra motivation.   

"We as athletes, we rely on the fans to get momentum, and that's how you make runs, and that's how you get back in the game with your fans," Melo said on a Zoom call Tuesday. "Guys is not going to have that, so you're going to be tested to see how motivated you are as an individual. How much self-motivation you have to go out there and get yourself going and motivated to go play in front of no one. So you have that aspect." 

[RELATED]: Carmelo Anthony on playing the 3 again: "Today in this game it’s positionless"

Could the Trail Blazers coaching staff be more of a factor in a tiny gym with very limited people in attendance?

Portland’s coach Terry Stotts doesn’t believe so.

“I don't see the staff being more vocal because if you watch them during the game most coaches are pretty much into the game,” Stotts said Wednesday ahead of the Blazers traveling to Orlando on Thursday. “It's going to be interesting how the game is run, how the game looks on television, if they pipe in some sound and if the game in person is going to feel different than the game that you see on television. I'm pretty sure the league has a lot of plans in both those areas, but certainly… I don’t know if home-court exists right now. It might even be a better test of each team to winning and losing and not basing it on home-court. So that's going to be interesting. But, to answer your question, a lot of things now is just kind of speculation.” 

[RELATED]: Trail Blazers Coach Terry Stotts maps out Portland's practices in Orlando 

Even though the players have said they've thought a lot about and even discussed with each other their expectations on having no crowd support, Coach Stotts is right; we are all just speculating right now.  

The good news is, we now have just a little more than three weeks to continue to speculate until the 2019-20 NBA season resumes on July 30.