Should the NBA have finished out the season or just start the playoffs based on where the regular season ended back in March?
Sports fans have been dying for any semblance of NBA action. With the NBA agreeing to return tentatively on July 31st, it’s clear it needs to restart the season with enough games before the playoffs to give momentum to the postseason stage.
If the NBA were to restart immediately at the playoffs, much of the appeal would be significantly undercut. Of the 22 teams included in the hybrid NBA format, Washington, Portland, New Orleans, Phoenix, Sacramento, and San Antonio are within clinching the 8th seed. If the playoffs had begun today, those teams within reach of a playoff berth would be snuffed aside in favor of Orlando Magic and Memphis Grizzlies, the 8th seeds at the time of season suspension. Adrian Wojnarowski believes it just makes sense for the NBA, stating, “Certainly it was more financially rewarding for teams and players than only bringing back 16 teams, and the ability for teams to play themselves into the postseason was a big part of it.”
The games leading to the playoffs give NBA players an ability to play at a professional level prior to the NBA beginning. With shelter-in-place orders, many NBA teams like the Bulls, Bucks, and Mavericks were given work-out regimes for at-home conditioning. While these work-outs are helping to maintain their health, it lacks the rigor of actual professional practice. Without games to ease players into playoffs, it risks the players’ health.
The NBA season returning with games prior to playoffs gives both players and fans alike an opportunity to fall in love with the game all over again.
On June 4th, 2020, the National Basketball Association announced the following: “The NBA’s Board of Governors has approved a 22-team format for restarting the league season in late July at the Disney campus near Orlando, Florida.”
The NBA made a strong and almost unanimous decision to take the next step forward and play games as soon as possible. According to a source, the Portland Trail Blazers were the only team to oppose the approved format for the continuation of the 2019-20 NBA season and playoffs. The Board of Governors also ratified that two-game play-in matchups will be a part of this new postseason.
There are many reasons why the NBA made the right decision to exclude eight teams and end the traditional regular-season schedule. By doing so, the NBA has fewer games, teams, and players, and therefore, this resolution lowers the risk of spreading COVID-19. Since fans are very excited for live sports to come back in any capacity, the NBA will most likely increase intrigue among its fan base right away and will not have a regular-season lull before the playoffs begin.
Additionally, the NBA has built a completely different and revolutionized playoff system that can even be used for future years. In the past, there have been reports that NBA commissioner Adam Silver has considered a league-wide midseason tournament as well, so there are many opportunities for the NBA to take 2020’s postseason design and implement it in different ways in future years.
- On August 3, 1949, the National Basketball Association was established by merging the Basketball Association of America and the National Basketball League.
- The NBA announced on March 11, 2020, that they would be suspending game play until further notice due to coronavirus.
- “If the season is cancelled, players could lose up to $1.2 billion of salary, compared to the estimated $300 million they are expected to lose due to the COVID-19 shutdown.”
- The NBA has not cancelled a season in 75 years.
- The 2019 NBA Finals were watched by an average of 15.14 million viewers in the United States.