It’s one of the biggest questions the NBA must answer before it can return.
Which teams are getting invited to resume some variation of the season in Disney World (or wherever else serves as a campus site for the league)?
It previously was reported that 75 percent of GMs were in favor of a play-in tournament. The league reportedly even discussed having one for Western Conference bubble teams alone, perhaps because it wants a star like Zion Williamson to be part of the return.
But a different report from ESPN’s Tim Bontemps said the numbers weren’t so skewed. Here’s what it read:
In a survey of all 30 general managers, which was viewed by ESPN, 16 said they would prefer the league come back with just the typical 16 playoff teams, with the teams and seedings based on the standings when the season was suspended March 12.
This simpler, and most definitely safer option apparently received more votes than any of the other three options combined that were presented to GMs, per Bontemps.
It’s possible those 16 teams voting to go straight into the NBA playoffs were the only 16 teams who would qualify, as the option to then keep the same playoff structure received 16 votes too.
The other three options were to:
— Resume the regular season with all 30 teams followed by a play-in tournament (8 votes);
— Go straight to the playoffs with either a play-in tournament or a World Cup-style group stage (5 votes);
— Resume the regular season with all 30 teams and then go straight to the playoffs (1 vote).
In terms of various play-in options, one to determine the seventh and eight seeds was most popular with 13 votes, but a play-in for just the eighth seed and the idea of a group stage format also had support.
Obviously, the voting didn’t determine exactly how the league was going to proceed, as it’s pretty understood that people will accept what Silver feels is the best compromise.
But it feels like we’re getting close to some structure.
Thumbnail photo via Ron Chenoy/USA TODAY Sports Images