The NBA is expected to announce later this week its plans for resuming the season this summer in Orlando, Fla., at Disney World. A part of that announcement should be a glimpse of what that plan will look like and who will play.
According to league sources, a format involving 22 teams has the most support. But the exact look of this has apparently still not been decided.
However, playing the numbers game provides some possibilities. The NBA uses a 16-team playoff structure and a 22-team field would mean six other teams aside from the 16 now sitting in the playoffs at the conclusion of the truncated season, would be included in some sort of expanded postseason scenario.
Figuring out those six teams is an interesting guessing game.
There are five Western Conference teams, Portland, New Orleans, San Antonio, Sacramento and Phoenix, within six games of Memphis, the eighth-place team in the West. There is one team, Washington, within six games of Orlando, the No. 8 team in the East.
That would be a six-team addition to the playoff field, which would, we assume, be involved in some sort of tournament to earn playoff inclusion. The idea of World Cup/group play has not gained much support.
Of course, given that this format includes teams in both conferences, it would be assumed that the eighth-place teams in each conference would also be included in this playoff. You would be competing with those teams for their spots and it would set up an eight-team tournament.
I would also surmise, then, that two teams would advance from this mini-tournament into the usual 16-team NBA playoff. The two winning teams could be split in each conference to be part of a 1-8 playoff or, more likely, just be the final two seeds in a 1-16 playoff format, with no regard for conferences.
I have no idea how the league would stage an eight-team mini-playoff -- whether games played prior to that tourney or regular-season standings, would provide seeding, or if current eighth-place teams would get a bye.
But this format would be innovative, include a lot of fanbases and provide some new teams a chance to jump into the postseason. Got a better idea? I’m open to suggestions.