Based on recent reports, there are still several different ways the NBA can go as it aims to resume games and work towards crowning an 2019-20 champion. And the scenarios out there have left teams like the Wizards in a curious spot.
Basically, the league is gaining momentum towards having games again but exactly what form the league will return in is unclear. Specifically, how many teams will be brought to a central location - likely Disney World in Orlando, FL - has not been determined.
Commissioner Adam Silver has indicated all 30 teams may play again. In that case, the Wizards would be in the same boat as everyone else.
But if each team returns only to play a handful of games to close out the regular season, they could be coming back without much to play for. They currently sit 5 1/2 games out of the Eastern Conference playoff picture.
Things could get really awkward for them, however, if the league zeroes in on a plan that only includes the playoffs. Because, as ESPN reported this week, that could mean an expanded bracket.
Given the Wizards are the ninth-ranked team in the East, they would be out of it if the league picked the top 16 teams, the normal postseason number, and went from there. But there have been discussions about a playoff system involving 20 to 24 teams. In that case, the Wizards would be brought out to participate in whatever form the playoffs would take on, possibly with a short visit before elimination.
The last part has reignited debates about re-seeding the NBA postseason. For years, some have argued the league should do away with the Eastern and Western Conferences in the playoffs. Instead, the league would seed the top teams one through 16 and have them play each other no matter the travel problems a match-up between the Blazers and Wizards, for example, would present.
If the league does install such a plan for this season, that could be seen as a testing ground for a future and permanent change. And that's where all of this could affect the Wizards the most.
The reason why some have advocated for the conference system to be abolished is that the West remains the far superior conference to the East. It has been that way for essentially two decades now.
That dynamic makes it a little bit easier for teams in the East, like the Wizards, to qualify for the postseason. If they had to fight with Western Conference teams to make the playoffs, their road would be more difficult, at least until the balance shifts again. Based on recent history, that could take a long time.
Though the Wizards are ninth in the East, their record would place 14th in the West. That's the difference from being right on the cusp to the basement of the conference.
All of these scenarios present a numbers game and the Wizards in some ways have much more riding on the final decision than most.
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