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NBA Return Plan

On June 11, NBA Board of Governors approved on a plan to bring the league back in 2020. Under the proposed plan, the NBA return would take place in Orlando, Florida at Walt Disney World Resort with the teams living there for the duration of the season. Twenty-two teams would take part in this restart, which includes all 16 teams that were in a playoff spot in addition to the Pelicans, Trail Blazers, Suns, Kings, Spurs and Wizards. These teams were selected, as they were out of playoff contention by six games or less and theoretically were still in the playoff hunt in their respective conferences.

The NBA will return July 30, 2020, which was moved up from the 31st. With this date in mind, the Finals could potentially stretch to October 14 for Game 7. Training camps are set to resume on June 30, with all the teams required to travel to Orlando by July 7.

On June 12, The Athletic's Shams Charania reported the following expected restart dates:

  • June 30-July 7: In-market training camps

June 30th is when individual workouts will become mandatory while team workouts remain prohibited.

  • July 7-11: Teams will travel to Orlando

Teams will either be bussed or charter flighted to Orlando. All personal will be required to remain in their hotel rooms until they register to negative tests for COVID-19.

  • July 9-29: Training camps being in Orlando

Teams will begin group practices and workouts. COVID-19 testing will be done frequently and all players are required to remain on campus or be subjected to 10-14 day quarantine.

  • July 30: Seeding games begin

Each team in attendance will play eight “regular season” games to determine seeding. When a team is eliminated, they’re required to immediately leave the “bubble.”

  • August 15: Play-in tournament begins
  • August 17: Playoffs begin
  • August 30: Family/guests of team arrive
  • August 31: Conference semifinals
  • September 15: Conference finals
  • September 30: NBA Finals

The new format in the NBA return plan includes the 22 teams playing in eight regular-season games to determine seeding for the eventual playoffs. They’ll be a play-in tournament if the ninth seed is four or fewer games behind the eighth seed at the conclusion of the regular season. If that were to occur, the eighth seed would enter a double-elimination tournament, which would be a more favorable scenario for them, as the ninth seed would be in a single-elimination tournament.

This unique and innovative scenario is different than what we’ve seen from the plans of the NHL. The hockey league looking at jumping right into the playoffs from where the teams ended before the league shut down due to COVID-19. In their plan, the top 12 teams in each conference would be seeded as they were and play in two hub cities, which would each host a conference. The NBA is allowing teams to potentially move up or down in seeding and allowing teams that were close to a playoff spot to earn their keep. When the NBA starts back, it should not only bring the excitement of the playoffs but in such a unique and thrilling format that will fill the void basketball fans have been without for months.

NBA suspension of season

On March 11, 2020 the NBA announced the suspension of the 2019-2020 season after Utah Jazz center Ruby Gobert tested positive for COVID-19. Leading up to the Jazz’s game against the Thunder, Gobert was listed as questionable to play due to illness. A mere seconds before the game was set to tip-off, both trainers and coaches from both teams joined the refs in a huddle before exiting the court. It was announced soon after that the game was postponed and that Gobert had tested positive for COVID-19.

With a player officially testing positive, all games were officially suspended moving forward. The Nuggets and Mavericks were currently playing at the time of the suspended season but were allowed to complete that game. It served as the last NBA action seen since that date.

At the time of the suspension teams had played between 63 to 67 of the 82 regular season games. Of those games between 76-81% of their schedule was completed. When the NBA returns, of the 22 teams involved, they’ll play at least eight more “regular season games.

When games stopped in the NBA, the Bucks, Raptors and Celtics were the top three teams in the Eastern Conference while the Lakers, Clippers and Nuggets topped the Western Conference. The Raptors were currently in the midst of a four-game winning streak, which represented the longest active streak at the time. The Bucks boasted the best winning percentage in the league at .815 with 65 games played and a 53-12 record.