Updated: Nov 18, 2020
What to Know About the Returning NBA
Good news for all you sports-lovers out there: the NBA is back.
The world of basketball fell into uncharted territory after the outbreak of novel coronavirus shut down the season earlier this year. Fans were left unsure of when or how the sport would return to their hometowns and television screens.
Now, they can expect to see new games being played as early as July 30 with an 8 game regular season finale and a full playoff slate expected to be played.
Due to the nature of the global pandemic, changes are possible, but the NBA has released a plan to play basketball. Here what fans need to know about the NBA’s return this fall:
The Current Plan
As of now, the plan is to take 22 teams (13 from the West and 9 from the East) and migrate to Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida for the remainder of the season as well as playoffs. The last game of the NBA playoffs will be no later than October 12. Schedule just released this week.
The NBA will restart with each team playing a regular-season game to determine playoff seeding. These games are expected to start on July 30. Once the 16-team playoff teams are set, the games will continue as the traditional conference format featuring the best-of-seven series in the first round, conference semifinals, conference finals, and The Finals.
There is a possibility of a play-in tournament between the No. 8 and No. 9 seed teams. If the eighth-ranked team is four games or fewer ahead of the ninth-ranked team, there will be a battle for the final spot. Here, the No. 9 seed would have to beat the No. 8 seed twice in order to advance.
By having all teams staying within the theme park "bubble" for housing, training, practices, and games. "The bubble" as many have aptly named it is supposed to use Disney Resort in Orlando to ensure the safety for NBA players and families from the virus. No players will be allowed to leave the resort while outside members including family will be forced to quarantine for 14 days prior to making contact with players. The NBA hopes to limit the number of people infected by the novel coronavirus by doing this. The association still remains undecided on whether fans will be able to attend or not.
Frequent testing and temperature checks will be practiced to keep players safe and prevent another complete shutdown of the league. If a player, coach, or staff member were to test positive, the individual would simply follow self-quarantine procedures.
Florida has had a recent rise of Coronavirus cases that has had many players, coaches and NBA officials concerned. Commissioner Adam Silver when asked about the concerns with the rise in cases stated “This is a closed network. While it’s not impermeable, it is protected.” The opinion of the NBA is to move forward regardless of outside cases and even willing to push through if a few isolated cases are found. They could however, cancel the season due to a large amount of players or coaches getting coronavirus.
Plans for Next Season
The 2020-2021 season will also be experiencing a pushback due to the previous season’s delay. For example, the 2020 NBA draft has been rescheduled for Oct. 15 and the Draft Lottery will be held on Aug. 25. Right now, the possible start date sits around Dec. 1.
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