Before saying anything about the future of the NBA can look like, go check our post by Chandler Wilcox discussing the news coming out about the return of basketball.
Now we have our shameless plug out of the way, the rest of this post will be speculation.
The NBA has now offically given the sports fanatics something to look forward to next month.
With the tentative start date of the NBA being December 1st, the NBA will start later than any season in the modern era. This also gives NBA commissioner Adam Silver a dry run which could ultimately be a change for the better.
If this goes as planned, a possible start date for the NBA in December can be a better move. This will avoid the competition with other sports leagues like the NFL. Even though playing through the spring and summer, the NBA has a better chance to grab a bigger audience when competing with the MLB than they would against the NFL.
Not only is the changed start date of the NBA targeting the beginning of December, the 8-game regular season finish really has me thinking of scenerios.
In an article from boston.com, Washington Post’s Ben Golliver goes into detail of a proposed schedule and playoff format change could look like. Keep in mind, this was posted in November of last year. According to the post, the NBA was already eyeing a change that could be implemented as early as the 2021-22 season.
During NBA meetings, it has been reported that Silver has discussed a playoff reseeding format that can include a midseason tournament with play-in round games for playoff bubble teams.
What this tells me is Silver is thinking of alternative ways to make the first couple rounds more interesting than it has been in the past.
To finish this season, the NBA has released what they think of a play-in tournament can look like heading into the 2020 NBA playoffs.
The NBA has stated that a play-in tournament will be in effect if the ninth seed in the conference is 4 games or fewer back from the eighth seed. This will create a best-of-two series to be played by the two teams to select the 8th seed in the conference.
As stated by the NBA, the seven best records from each conference will receive a bye. This is something that can be done regularly to make the matchups great when getting deeper in the playoffs. A change can get two teams in the same conference a change to make the Finals together.
And with that, here is what I am speculating if a play-in scenerio kicks in during the last days of the 2019-20 NBA regular season.
Like the NFL playoffs, the top four seeds in each conference will receive a guaranteed spot in the NBA playoffs. That means half of the teams that would participate in my proposed tournament will be selected pre-mini tournament.
After finding the 8 guaranteed playoff teams, the league will find the next four from each conference via a play-in tournament. To fit this in means a shortened regular season schedule. Heading into Disney, the Dallas Mavericks have played the most games in the NBA with 75 and the Los Angeles Lakers and San Antonio Spurs have played 71 each. With my proposed shortened schedule, this would give the feel of what happened this season when it was cut short due to the coronavirus.
After this mini-tournament, the final four from each conference will be the last four seeds in the playoffs for their conference.
The next step in my speculated and nerdy NBA postseason will be the reseeding process. As a long-time NBA fan, one conference can usually end up with two of the best teams that season. This tournament will have both conferences combined to find the best records of the sixteen qualified teams. Meaning the best record team will face the worst record team and so on.
With this edition, could we have seen a Houston Rockets and Golden State Warriors Finals matchup in 2017 and 2018? These types of scenerios could be a thing in the future. With my speculated and nerdy edition to the NBA playoffs, it can make the process a lot more enjoyable down the stretch, including better TV ratings than the last twenty to fifthteen regular season games.