National Basketball Association playoff plans - Biggest winners and losers in a 22-team return

Ross Houston
June 3, 2020

The Athletic reported that format would consist of each team finishing with 72 regular-season games (the Wizards are at 64) and then a play-in tournament to determine the final seeds of the postseason. The pandemic has put the world on pause, but the league has made strides to return. Per ESPN's Tim Bontemps, 16 general managers said in a survey the National Basketball Association should go right into the postseason with the 16 teams that are now in the playoffs. Possibilities included the resumption of the regular season with all 30 teams in play; a 22-team format with a short slate of games and a play-in tournament before the playoffs and a 20-team format with World Cup-style group states.


The NBA has finally given out some positive news about the leagues returning, with sources telling ESPN that the owners are backing Silver's return proposal. The Clippers (44-20) have the second-best record in the West. What would the implications of that scenario be for teams on the playoff bubble and elsewhere?


However, the general managers are under the impression that their opinions are merely that - opinions. The league recently allowed teams to resume workouts on a limited basis and in accordance with local public health guidance. The NBA also knows that the more people inside their campus means more tests and more people to monitor.


The league also has considered the time and relative risk required from players on teams that come back, trying to keep bottom teams from training for a month only to have their season end after a handful of unimportant games. The NBA announced last weekend that it was in negotiations with Disney to restart the season this summer at Disney's ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex near Orlando, Florida.

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