NBA Approves July 31 Return Date, With Playoffs Running Through October

Ross Houston
June 5, 2020

But, the Warriors are beginning individual workouts back at the Chase Center as of this week, and the 2020-21 season, whenever it begins, is expected to feature the full line-up of Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, and Andrew Wiggins. All games will take place at the Walt Disney World Resort near Orlando, pending the league reaching an agreement with the Walt Disney Company. The NBA and the players' union are working with infectious disease specialists, public health experts and government officials on a program to "mitigate the risk related to COVID-19", according to an NBA statement on Thursday. "We also recognize that as we prepare to resume play, our society is reeling from recent tragedies of racial violence and injustice, and we will continue to work closely with our teams and players to use our collective resources and influence to address these issues in very real and concrete ways".

The 22-team plan calls for 13 from the Western Conference and nine from the Eastern Conference to enter into the Orlando bubble, with a goal of staging training camp by the middle of next month and games picking back up on July 31.

Here's a look at the moving parts in the NBA's plan to resume its season. Although the National Basketball Association has often wondered about new playoff formats, such a sudden and drastic change may have compromised the legitimacy of the eventual champion's season, with skeptics saying that the team's title would require an asterisk.

If, as tentatively scheduled, the season resumes on July 31, then the 2020 NBA Draft Lottery would be rescheduled for August 25, the 2020 NBA Draft would be held on October 15 and the 2020-21 NBA regular season would likely begin on December 1, 2020. These teams would be seeded in the lottery and assigned odds based on their records through games of March 11. Six others (Portland, Sacramento, Phoenix, San Antonio, New Orleans and Washington) will also be included, as they are within six games of the final seed in their respective conferences. The top seven teams in each conference will automatically secure their position in the playoffs.

The teams will play eight regular-season games to determine seeding, then possibly a play-in tournament for the eighth seed. If not, the eighth seed will proceed to a play-in round against the ninth seed to claim the final playoff spot. To advance, the eighth seed would need to beat the ninth seed only once, while the ninth seed would need to win two consecutive games.

The NBA will crown its champion in Disney World in an attempt to finish out its 2019-20 season amid the coronavirus pandemic.

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