The NBA could return soon, but maybe not with all of its teams.
Half the league’s general managers wanted to go straight to the playoffs, like the NHL, according to The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor. The other half voted to re-seed the playoffs 1-16 without conference affiliation.
75 percent of GMs polled think the NBA should opt for a “play-in” tournament, while only 25 percent voted in favor of a World Cup-style tournament.
Here’s more of O’Connor’s analysis of the potential situation:
Teams with top seeds, such as the West-leading (Los Angeles) Lakers and East-leading (Milwaukee) Bucks, are in favor of a play-in tournament, not a group stage, multiple league sources say. That’s unsurprising considering a play-in tournament with the current standings would mean the Bucks get to face the (Orlando) Magic, and the Lakers would face the (Memphis) Grizzlies (or whichever team stole the eighth seed in a play-in tournament scenario). A group stage would make for a more difficult path to the title. “Adam isn’t taking the results seriously,” a team executive told me earlier in the week. “Every team is obviously gonna vote for what’s best for them.
Even if teams vote in their own best interests, it’s still noteworthy that there is leaguewide support behind more dramatic changes that were balked at in the past — such as playoff reseeding and play-in tournaments. My personal impression from conversations with sources across the league is that (NBA commissioner Adam) Silver is surveying teams to see if there is hunger for a new format the league may be able to use beyond this summer’s restart. Perhaps that’s a play-in tournament, which the league formally proposed last year before plans stalled. Perhaps it’s the group stage, which could take the teams with the 20 best records and place them into pool play. Either way, the league is trying to use the coronavirus pandemic as an opportunity to innovate.
Luckily for NBA fans, the league seems determined to resume the season. When that will be, however, still seems to be up in the air.
Thumbnail photo via Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports Images