NBA

Rescheduling Dilemma at Hand for the NBA

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We’re Day 6 into the NBA’s hiatus. For most of us, it has felt exponentially longer. Extending beyond the NBA, all American sports have been postponed or cancelled.

 

Sporting events have ceased. Large gatherings are being forbidden everywhere. Life has screeched to an unprecedented halt.

While most of us sit at home bored to no end, I can’t help but to ponder what this means moving forward. Last Thursday, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver imposed a 30-day minimum suspension on the NBA’s 2019-2020 season. Just a few days later, the CDC has since recommended against gatherings of 50+ for the next eight weeks.

Let’s be honest, a 30-day minimum hiatus seemed incredibly optimistic and unlikely to occur. The new and longer eight-week minimum recommendation of no large gatherings was the more-likely scenario, but it does further complicate not only the potential return of this season, but what lies after.

Dilemma at Hand

Now, the eight-week minimum recommendation will likely extend longer than that, which is what the NBA is preparing for. A mid-to-late June return has been deemed the “best-case scenario”. With this tentative return window, ESPN’s Bobby Marks mapped out what the remainder of this season could look like.

The first thing you may notice is that there isn’t a “remainder of the regular season” section. As ideal as it would be to finish the regular season, it appears unlikely to happen. We no longer have an additional five-week window to finish the on-average total of 17 games left per team.

Without the remaining regular season games to play, we jump straight into the playoffs, which will ideally proceed to last all summer. Even three months might not be long enough to allow fans back in arenas again.

Not only will the remainder of this season be significantly altered, but this will spill into the initial planned start of next season. With the Finals now potentially in early-to-mid August, the league won’t just jump right into 2020-21 afterwards. Given teams and players have ample time off now, however, a shortened offseason should undoubtedly be considered, especially with 14 teams’ seasons effectively over, and eight of the 16 playoff teams will only play an additional four-to-seven games.

My proposal:

  • Mid-to-late June: Playoffs begin
  • Early-to-mid August: Finals begin
  • Late August: 2020 Draft
  • August 30th: Free agency begins
  • September 10th: Summer (fall) League begins
  • November 1st: Training camp opens, preseason begins
  • Mid-to-late November: 2020-2021 regular season begins

This timeline is similar to Marks’, but with some changes to the latter portion. As mentioned prior, the plethora of time off should be enough to have a shortened offseason when this is all over. Here I proposed a November 1st start date for training camp instead of December 10th as Marks noted. This allows next season to start as close to the original window — mid-to-late October — as possible.

The NBA can go the other direction on this and opt to completely alter the traditional NBA calendar. On the latest episode of The Woj PodAdrian Wojnarowski discusses potential ideas being floated around the league for possible rescheduling. Here are some of the highlights:

  • Ideally, the NBA still would like to play a few regular season games before commencing postseason
  • NBA exploring Christmas Day start for 2020-2021 regular season
    • Potential for permanent change to this in calendar schedule to compete with MLB instead of NFL
  • Entire draft process (including pre-draft) likely to be altered with minimal amount of individual workouts

Ultimately, however, Woj revealed that virtually everything is on the table. This will be an ever-evolving process for the NBA to endure.

What This Means For The 2020 Olympics

Unfortunately, the NBA may take a similar path to the NHL and bar players from participating in this year’s Olympics. Normally, August is the perfect time for NBA players to participate in the Olympics, but things have obviously changed this year. As unfortunate as that would be, watching the United States thrash opponents Olympics after Olympics isn’t must-see basketball by any means.

Other Intricacies

There are plenty of other complicated parts to the eventual resumption of this season. First, Kevin Durant (and maybe Kyrie Irving) may be ready to go, providing the Brooklyn Nets with a completely different outlook on the 2020 postseason. The Nets are 30-34, sitting with the 7th seed in the Eastern Conference. They weren’t a threat before, but that is sure to change.

Looks pretty healthy here. Monday morning, Durant’s agent commented on the Golic and Wingo radio show, saying it is still “unrealistic” for his return, but I can’t imagine the Nets not deploying him on at least a minutes restriction if he says he’s ready to go.

Other players on current playoff teams who have been out indefinitely:

  • Grizzlies
    • Brandon Clarke (quad; last played 2/24)
    • Jaren Jackson Jr. (knee; last played 2/21)
    • Justise Winslow (back; last played for MIA on 1/8)
  • Heat
    • Meyers Leonard (ankle; last played 2/3)
  • Magic
    • Al-Farouq Aminu (torn ACL; last played 11/29)
    • Jonathan Isaac (severe knee sprain; last played 1/1)
    • Evan Fournier (sprained UCL in elbow; last played 3/4)
  • Mavs
    • Dwight Powell (torn Achilles; last played 1/21)
    • Jalen Brunson (shoulder surgery; last played 2/22)
  • Pacers
    • Jeremy Lamb (torn ACL; last played 2/23)
    • Malcolm Brogdon (torn rectus femoris; last played 3/4)
  • 76ers
    • Ben Simmons (pinched back nerve; last played 2/22)
  • Thunder
    • Andre Roberson (knee; last played 1/27/18)

Final Thoughts

One other thing to note on jumping right into the playoffs is teams who have began to find a rhythm no longer have that momentum. Almost everyone starts with a level playing field. Talent wise obviously not, but going from not playing to high playoff intensity? Not ideal at all for any team.

Lastly, cancelling the remainder of the regular season ends the possible seeding changes for not only the current playoff teams, but those on the out looking in. These teams are the Blazers, Pelicans, Kings, Spurs and Wizards. This means San Antonio’s 22-year playoff streak is over. The Blazers, despite not having a good season, won’t have their last opportunities to try and overtake the Grizzlies for the eighth seed in hopes of another deep playoff run. Same goes for Zion and the Pelicans.

Only time will tell what truly happens to the remainder of the 2019-2020 NBA season. In the mean time, we’ll have to wait it out.

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About Eric Peterson

CEO and Content Manager of TLSM. Twitter: @EricTLSM

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