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.
The NBA is planning a Thursday vote of the Board of Governors -- with an expectation that owners will approve Adam Silver’s recommendation on a format to re-start the season in Orlando, sources tell ESPN.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) May 29, 2020
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.
Additional results from NBA's GM survey, per sources:— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) May 29, 2020
- Most GMs want season to end no later than Oct. 1
- GMs want larger roster/more flexibility to manage their roster
- 53 percent voted to maintain traditional playoff seeding; 47 percent for reseeding https://t.co/sVwYF0ZYPT
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.
Among the four plans discussed on the Board of Governors call today was one in which teams that are within six games of a playoff spot would be invited to compete in regular season games, then a play-in tourney for the final playoff spots, sources told ESPN.— Ramona Shelburne (@ramonashelburne) May 29, 2020
Sources: If the NBA resumes play with a 22-team regular season format, teams will likely play eight games each. Then, a play-in tournament would take place for the eighth seed in each conference. Plans aren’t finalized yet but as of now it appears conferences would stay in place.— Kevin O'Connor (@KevinOConnorNBA) May 29, 2020
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
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.
Teams on the bubble, i.e. Portland, SA, etc. can decide if they want to:— Chris Burkhardt (@CBurkhardtNBCS) May 29, 2020
A) Remain in the tourney for No.1 Pick
B) Join a sudden death play-in for a chance to earn the 8th seed in the championship tourney.
No matter the situation, no matter the team, EVERY GAME MATTERS.
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,