While the year 2020 has been one of the most trying years we've seen in a long time. Pandemics, economic hardships and racial injustices are still just as prevalent today as they were 60 years ago, however, there's a little good news to be told as the NBA has announced their plans on a return to action. 22 will be heading to Disney World to duke it out for the Larry OB trophy.
Thanks to Rudy Gobert the NBA has taken a leave of absence since March 11th. I'm still mad! Finally it seems the NBA is ready to return as the NBA's Board of Governors voted 29-1 in favour of bringing the season back. This season will be different, 22 teams will be going to Disney World? Yes that's right! As it will be the host of the remaining regular season games. The teams that are in a playoff spot will play for seedings and matchups, while a possible play-in the tournament for the last spots in the East and West could be held.
While it seems a little more complicated, it does bring intrigue especially in the west where 6 teams will be fighting for the final spot. On the flip side, because this season isn't like any other, it is nice to see the NBA change up their playoff format to fit these extreme circumstances.
9 teams will represent the East and 13 will have their shot from the West. It's a little different from what the NHL is doing in terms of how many teams will be playing. The NHL will also go straight into the playoffs with 24 teams. The NBA players will have to train, practice and play all of their games at the ESPN complex centre. As traveling would be too dangerous and unsafe. So far there's 4 teams that have clinched playoff spots in the NBA: the Lakers, Celtics, Bucks, and 2019 champs Toronto Raptors.
The season is expected to resume on July 31 while the NBA Finals would end sometime October which normally is when the NBA season starts. A target schedule was also revealed for the rest of the NBA's offseason festivities.
As for the teams that don't qualify for the playoffs, including the teams that were invited to Orlando, it's the standard 14 team draft lottery. However, teams that aren’t getting the invite back will be stuck with their records previous to March 11. So any team that is outside the playoff bubble can't improve their odds, for better or worse.
ESPN's Ramona Shelburne reported that players will get tested for coronavirus on a daily basis, and players that test positive will be quarantined by themselves separate from the team. Other protocols dictate that players will not be showering in the arena showers, only in their hotel rooms, benches will be spread out for social distancing, and inactive players will be in the stands. Family members and guests won't be allowed in until the playoffs starts.
Players can go out to certain areas like the golf range, but will still have to follow social distancing rules.
The NBA isn't finished on their plans for coming back. Still more information on their Co-vid 19 procedure will become public. Still we have a chance to witness the battle of LA, Zion's potential playoff debut, and the Raptors defence of the Larry O.B trophy. We are well on our way to getting the NBA fix we’ve clamoured for.