NBA Playoffs

What the NBA playoffs might look like if season is able to resume

What the NBA playoffs might look like if season is able to resume

Everything appears to be on the table for the NBA with the season on hiatus because of the coronavirus pandemic. 

If the league is able to resume play, a modified postseason in Las Vegas is reportedly a possibility. 

While The New York Post’s Marc Berman reported there had also been discussion about holding the playoffs in the Bahamas, Atlantic City, Hawaii and Louisville, Las Vegas would be a logical spot. The city hosts summer league competition and would theoretically have the necessary infrastructure. 

According to Sports Illustrated’s Chris Mannix, “Quarantining in one location is the only solution, and Vegas is the only city the NBA is currently giving any kind of serious consideration.”

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski has also reported that Las Vegas is a destination the league has discussed, with the possibility of playing games in ballrooms with basketball courts.

Last week, Jabari Young of CNBC laid out a plan for a truncated postseason that, he said, is one of the options being considered.

The NBA could decide to cancel the remainder of its regular season and create a play-in tournament for lower-seeded teams to enter the postseason. The league could then set up a best-of-five series for the first round, before moving to a one-and-done tournament to determine the two teams that will play in the NBA Finals, which would also be a best-of-five, people familiar with the planning said.

With this highly fluid, unprecedented situation, it’s difficult to be very certain of anything. While the NBA would like to complete the year in some way, it appears very unlikely there would be a “normal” conclusion to the season.

In fact, Mannix reports “any chance of a traditional postseason is out.”

The league would presumably want to be confident in the health and safety of everyone involved — players, coaches, officials, support staff, camera operators, hotel employees, etc. — before it would resume play. In the event that proves doable, playing in Las Vegas seems like a popular option. 

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NBA actually considering Atlantic City as 2020 playoff destination: report

NBA actually considering Atlantic City as 2020 playoff destination: report

NBA leadership is trying to figure out a way to play the 2020 postseason after what could be a months-long hiatus, which has the league thinking outside the box.

How outside the box? The league has reportedly considered holding a 16-team, single-site playoff tournament in Atlantic City, New Jersey.

That outrageous sentence comes to you this week from the New York Post's Mark Berman, who cited a league source with knowledge of the NBA's postseason emergency plans:

The obvious destination for a one-site event is UNLV in Las Vegas, which has hosted recent summer leagues with all 30 clubs. Hotels are plentiful. One destination reportedly discussed was the Bahamas. According to an NBA source, there’s also been internal talks about Orlando, Atlantic City, Hawaii and Louisville hosting the playoffs.

The tournament would only be held if the situation surrounding the ongoing coronavirus pandemic improves to a point that the league feels safe playing games.

And to be perfectly clear, if a single-site tournament takes place, it will almost definitely be in Las Vegas.

But I need it to be in Atlantic City.

I need Nikola Jokic walking down Arctic Avenue, arms full of Italian hoagies from White House Sub Shop.

I need dozens of NBA players vibing to Jimmy Buffet in the Resorts Casino Margaritaville.

I need to see Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid, walking the boardwalk in tandem, water ices in hand.

I need Jimmy Butler, awake at 4 a.m. with no practice facility, playing solo blackjack on an empty floor in the Hard Rock.

I need an epic, seven-game, historically entertaining NBA Finals battle between the Lakers and the Bucks to take place in Boardwalk Hall, recent home of the now-defunct Atlantic City Blackjacks.

Please, NBA, do the right thing. First, make sure the playoffs can be held without endangering anyone's life before proceeding. And then put the games in Atlantic freakin' City.

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Theoretical odds for a Sixers-Celtics playoff series are out

Theoretical odds for a Sixers-Celtics playoff series are out

If the NBA season resumes and goes directly to the playoffs, the Sixers would be the sixth seed in the Eastern Conference and play the Boston Celtics. 

While there’s obviously uncertainty about what might be next for the NBA with the season currently suspended because of the coronavirus pandemic, we can still analyze that matchup. Westgate SuperBook, in fact, released theoretical odds for all the playoff series that would take place if the 2019-20 season resumed and immediately went to a normal playoff format.

Sixers-Celtics is the most even series. There’s actually no favorite, as a wager of $110 on either team would win you $100. 

The Sixers took the regular-season series over Boston, 3-1, although the Celtics blew the Sixers out on Feb. 1. Joel Embiid struggled badly that night, shooting 1 of 11, but was excellent on Dec. 12 against the Celtics, posting 38 points, 13 rebounds and six assists. Embiid’s decision-making when double teamed would likely be one of the keys to the series. 

Another factor that would seem worth considering is the Sixers’ dramatic home-road disparity. The team is 29-2 at home, best in the team, and 10-24 on the road, the worst mark of any team in playoff position. If games were to be played under modified conditions (without fans in attendance, at a neutral site, etc.), that wouldn’t come into play. These odds, however, do account both for how great the Sixers have been at Wells Fargo Center and how poor they’ve been away from it.

In theory, this hiatus could be helpful for the Sixers if it allows Ben Simmons (nerve impingement in lower back) to return to the court. 

If the Sixers got past the Celtics, they’d be slated to play the Raptors or Nets in Round 2. 

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