The long awaited return of the NBA is upon us. In just a few short weeks, 22 teams will fly into Orlando to finish off the regular season and eventually get the playoffs started.
The regular season will finish off with an eight game schedule for each team. Then a possible play- in series where the ninth seed would play the eighth seed in a best of two to determine the last playoff spot.
A best of two, you ask? The ninth seed would have to go 2-0 in that series to make the playoffs, while the eighth seed would only have to split to get in.
The only way this scenario happens is if the ninth seeded team finishes the regular season within four games of the eighth seed.
With certain teams right in striking distance this could make for a crazy end to the regular season. It could also serve as an extended training camp for the top teams if nothing outrageous happens.
A few players have already opted not to make the trip and play in the (so called) bubble, which has left teams looking for replacements. How many teams will have their chemistry demolished by this? Will free agents find themselves on a roster to actually play or will they be summoned just to be a warm body?
In the midst of this pandemic, there’s no man or organization that can fully guarantee a player’s safety. The NBA can only hope their plan to combat a positive COVID-19 case will work swiftly and effectively.
For the players that actually make it to Orlando, how will this season be looked upon historically?
The last time we had anything remotely close to this in the NBA was the shortened season of 1999. After the owners locked the players out due to rising salaries, the league resumed to play a 50 game schedule.
The San Antonio Spurs would finish 37-13 in the regular season and went on to defeat the New York Knicks in the NBA Finals. How do you remember that season?
I can bet my bottom dollar every Knicks fan in existence views that as a legitimate finals loss. I might have even heard of an asterisk being put on the Spurs’ victory… but that never comes up when there’s talk of Tim Duncan’s ring count.
Some might view this as a bigger championship than other years. An NBA team winning a championship while the world is locked in during pandemic concerns, racial injustices and financial nightmares might be remembered more for overcoming a big hurdle amidst everything else going on.
Whether or not it’s a good idea remains to be seen. The NBA has planned this out and they feel they’ve put their players in the best possible position to stay safe. So get ready to see the highlight dunks, 30 foot three pointers and refs who have players crying in their ear all night. The NBA is back!