As we await for the Board of Governors next vote on the format for a return-to-play, it’s unlikely that neither of the extreme formats —a jump directly to playoffs or a 30-team return— is likely. Instead, it’s likely to be somewhere in the middle, with a play-in tournament to determine the 16 playoff tournaments.
There are two middle-ground scenarios being discussed, one involving 22 teams, the other 20. Here’s how they would work, according to several reports...
In the 22-team scenario, increasingly the more likely, the six teams within six games of a playoff seed would compete with the No. 8 seeds from each conference in an eight-team single-elimination tournament. The two eighth seeds on March 11 were Orlando and Memphis. The extra teams would include Washington and five Western Conference clubs: Portland, New Orleans, San Antonio, Sacramento, and Phoenix.
Brooklyn, in that scenario, would get a bye.
In the 20-team scenario, the NBA would adopt a format more familiar to fans of FIFA or FIBA international play. Five groups of four teams — based on their regular-season records and a draw — would make up a play-in tournament. Each team would play the other clubs in their group twice. Those extra four teams would be Western Conference — New Orleans, Portland, Sacramento and San Antonio. The top two teams in the tournament would advance to the playoffs.
Brooklyn would play in that tournament.
Is either better suited for the Nets chances to advance? It would appear the 22-team format would be the more ideal. With or without Kevin Durant and/or Kyrie Irving, the Nets path would be more clear. And if KD and Kyrie did play, the Nets would have a decided advantage (in ANY format).
Adam Silver will recommend a format Thursday which the board will discuss and hopefully come up with a unanimous vote.
Adrian Wojnarowski and Zach Lowe reported Monday afternoon that some smaller market owners are holding out for a 30-team format.
In addition to the format, the board is likely to discuss other issues, including a start date for the resumption of play, training camp schedules and expansion of rosters.
The most likely return, according to Shams Charania, is July 31, with a four-week long training camp, two weeks at each team’s practice facility, then two weeks at Walt Disney World. In that scenario, training camps would likely begin in a month.
As for rosters, teams can only bring 15 players to the playoffs. Two-way players are not permitted to play in post season. But with the possibility of players having to quarantine after a positive test, and the likelihood of injuries, teams will no doubt need more players to fill voids. How many more players might be added? Training camp rosters have 20 players.
- One NBA restart scenario comes with clear Nets advantage - Marc Berman - New York Post
- Sources: NBA board of governors expected to approve Adam Silver’s restart plan Thursday - Adrian Wojnarowski & Zach Lowe - ESPN
- NBA Eyeing 22-Team Restart With 13 Western Conference, 9 Eastern Conference Teams: Woj - Adam Zagoria - Forbes Sports