By Ty Anderson, 985TheSportsHub.com
The NBA intends to formally approve a return to the court for a conclusion to the 2019-20 season with 22 of its 30 teams in action, according to the latest report ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
Per Woj, the return will feature 13 teams from the West and nine from the East, eight regular-season games, a possibly play-in tournament, and then move ahead with the league’s normal playoff format.
The play-in tournament will only occur should the No. 9 seed in each conference finish the regular season within four games of the No. 8 seed. Should that happen, according to Woj, the teams will enter a mini-series of sorts, with the No. 8 seed beginning it with double-elimination status compared to single-elimination for the No. 9. This explains why it’s 13 in the West and just nine in the East, as the West went into the pause with five teams within six games of the final playoff spot in the conference while the nine-seed Wizards were the only non-playoff team in the East within five and a half games of the eight seed.
(There’s really no point in bringing the 10th-seed Hornets, who were seven games out of contention at the time of the pause, back for an eight-game season finish just for the slimmer-than-slim possibility of a march to the eight seed, where they would be almost immediately stomped out by the East-best Bucks in four games. Maybe even three, actually.)
The rumors are true that this return will take place Orlando’s Disney World complex, too, and that return will include ‘uniform, daily’ testing for all players, according to Wojnarowski. Should a player test positive for the coronavirus, that player will be removed from playing and quarantined, while the rest of his team would be subject to additional testing. This is consistent with what NBA commissioner Adam Silver first suggested as the plan should an additional positive test hit a player upon a return.
Barring a failure to approve or a medical setback, the Celtics, who were allowed back at the Auerbach Center this week, and the rest of the league’s returning teams will report to Orlando for a training camp and game action in July.
The C’s, at 43-21, were the third-best team in the East at the time of the league’s Mar. 11 pause.