Sport is back, baby.
League owners and the National Basketball Players Association are expected to approve a wild, new format that would see the 2019/20 season finally resume. According to prominent sports columnist and frequent NBA insider, Adrian Wojnarowski, the NBA restart plan involves 22 teams heading to Orlando, Florida to complete games at Disney World.
Commissioner Adam Silver is expected to unveil the plan on Thursday in a meeting with the NBA’s Board of Governors. The organisation reportedly discussed proposals involving 16, 20, 22 or 30 teams last week, however, the aforementioned 22-team concept was by far the most popular. So, who’s in and how does it work?
Which Teams are Playing the 22-Team Format?
The NBA restart plan effectively kicks-off a post-season event. The current 16 playoff teams will be invited to attend, along with six additional clubs that are within six games of a playoff spot. Realistically, this means that the Western Conference will have 13 teams heading to Orlando, while the Eastern Conference will have 9.
As it stands, the Western Conference teams expected to appear at the 22-team restart are;
- Los Angeles Lakers
- Los Angeles Clippers
- Denver Nuggets
- Utah Jazz
- Oklahoma City Thunder
- Houston Rockets
- Dallas Mavericks
- Memphis Grizzlies
- Portland Trail Blazers
- New Orleans Pelicans
- Sacramento Kings
- San Antonio Spurs
In the Eastern Conference, the teams expected to be invited to the event will be;
- Milwaukee Bucks
- Toronto Raptors
- Boston Celtics
- Miami Heat
- Indiana Pacers
- Philadelphia 76ers
- Brooklyn Nets
- Orlando Magic
- Washington Wizards
How the NBA Restart Plan Will Work
According to ESPN, the NBA restart plan will see those 22 clubs play eight regular-season games, before engaging in a play-in tournament for the eight-seed. The early strategy suggests that if the ninth seed is more than four games behind the eighth seed, the eighth seed will automatically earn the playoff spot. For the teams not quite in playoff standings just yet, there is hope. If the ninth seed is within four games of the eighth seed, those two teams enter a play-in tournament for the final playoff spot in the conference. The tournament would be a double-elimination for the eighth seed and a single elimination for the ninth seed.
At the moment, the Memphis Grizzlies hold a 3.5 game lead on Portland, New Orleans and Sacramento in the West, while in the East, the Orlando Magic have a 5.5 game lead on the Wizards.
The new 22-team format is certainly a different look for the NBA, but one that is necessary for a number of reasons. The format would allow those 22 clubs to surpass 70 regular-season games, ensuring that many meet the requirements for regional TV contracts. Any proposal from the NBA would be subject to approval from at least three-quarters of the league’s Board of Governors, however, so nothing is set in stone.
The NBA is apparently still eyeing July 31 as the target date for the resumption of the season, but that, like all things in 2020 could be subject to change.