The NBA Eyes Restarting Play-In For The 2019-20 Season
The NBA looks at all possible scenarios to restart the 2019-20 season. The league makes progress—finalizing venues, restart date, and safety measures. However, the tournament format is still up for debate.
At press time, the league is thinking of opening the season for teams outside the Western Conference playoff to head to the postseason. This means that 4 teams, namely San Antonio Spurs, Portland Trail Blazers, New Orleans Pelicans, and Sacramento Kings, will compete in the play-in. If the format works for the Western Conference, the NBA plans to extend it to the Eastern Conference as well and cancel the regular season.
All in all, 20 to 24 teams might be involved. The league calls this their “playoffs-plus idea”. Given the current logistics plan, the NBA would need to place all teams in Walt Disney Resort, Orlando, and carefully avoid the possible exposure of COVID-19.
Some fans and players argue that ending the regular season isn’t fair to other teams. Normally, 70 games are needed to fulfill television contracts and other franchises. But the playoffs might start with the top eight teams from each conference if the NBA followed the format.
The teams included in the play-in would be affected by the transition. In a recent interview with Yahoo Sports, Damian Lillard, one of the star players from Portland Trail Blazers, voiced out his frustrations:
“If we come back and they’re just like, ‘We’re adding a few games to finish the regular season,’ and they’re throwing us out there for meaningless games and we don’t have a true opportunity to get into the playoffs, I’m going to be with my team because I’m a part of the team. But I’m not going to be participating. I’m telling you that right now. And you can put that in there.”
The final decision has yet to be made. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver will hold a conference call with the general managers today, Thursday, to discuss the final plan. On Friday, Silver will reach out to the board of governors. We might be getting the final format and tournament guidelines by next week.