Ever since NBA Commissioner Adam Silver suspended play on March 11th when Rudy Gobert tested positive for COVID-19, he, the NBA’s Board of Governors, and the NBAPA have long been involved in conversations about if and how the league can return to play safely. The collective understanding they seem to have at this point is that teams will slowly be allowed to practice together in their respective facilities, pending individual state guidelines. Training camps and subsequent games will then held at the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex in Orlando, starting in July.
Sources: The NBA is working on multi-phase medical/safety protocols toward restart of play. Current projections have in-market training camps in July, then camps/scrimmages in Orlando, then resume play late July/early August.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) May 27, 2020
But where will games pick up? Do we continue with regular season games? If so, how many games get will they play before playoff games? Do we jump directly into the playoffs with the current standings? Well, a persistent report circulating around the sports world, first reported by ESPN’s Brian Windhorst, is that the league will forego the remainder of the regular season and playoff eligible teams will enter a 1-16 March Madness style bracket to determine the 2020 NBA champion. It’s something that has been entertained for a while now, with Commissioner Silver looking at it as a potential change as long ago as 2018. There are reasons of course why there’s been no implementation at the moment, namely because of the draining coast to coast travel that would inevitably come with the change. With all playoff games taking place at one location, however, an opportunity to test run the idea presents itself.
Here is a look at the proposed bracket:
It is safe to say that this would create a variety of intriguing match-ups, include four inter-conference series in the first round alone. Would we see a Finals represented entirely by one conference? Perhaps even by one city? (A Lakers-Clippers Finals would be historic on so many levels.) With this new playoff structure, who do you think we’d see in the finals? Who would win? What kind of upsets would we see? How would your team do? Let us know in the comments below.
-Nick Hannigan (Twitter: @TheNickHannigan)
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