The eagerness and excitement to bring sports back in this country is amazing. Sports give us something to root for and is something that helps us take our minds off other things, especially during this time. Reports have surfaced that the NBA is targeting July 31st as the day they’d resume play. What’s unknown is whether they will play games to finish a regular or go straight into the playoffs. They are also discussing different playoff formats. Over half of the GM’s in the league said they would prefer to start the playoffs right away. I have thought of a way for them to finish the season and playoffs and I think it would be really good for the league.
First off I’ll start by saying that every team will play games to finish the season. There’s a lot of support for eliminating the conferences and just doing a 16 team bracket. Normally when this idea has been brought up in the past I was not for it, but I think this is as good a time as any to try it. When the season was suspended, of the 16 current playoff teams, 13 of them were no doubt going to be in the playoffs if the season had finished normally. Those 13 teams will automatically get playoff bids. The 3 teams who were in playoffs, but could have not been in by the end of the season are the Memphis Grizzlies, Brooklyn Nets, and Orlando Magic. Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving have both said they will not be playing so outside of seeing Ja Morant there is no reason for me to want those teams in the playoffs. What I believe they should do is an 8 team tournament to decide the final 3 playoff teams. This would include the 3 teams mentioned above along with the next best records regardless of conference. The other 5 teams would be the Portland Trailblazers, New Orleans Pelicans, Sacramento Kings, San Antonio Spurs and the Phoenix Suns. I’d much rather see any of those teams in over the Magic and Nets. They would do a best of 3 game series in each round and the top 3 would earn playoff spots. You may be asking yourself why would the two teams that make it to the finals of the play in tournament even play??? Well there is one simple answer to that. The winner of the tournament gets to play the 3rd seeded Raptors in the first round while second place gets to play the 2nd seeded Lakers. I know if I was any of these teams I’d much rather play the Raptors. One of the reasons for a play in tournament is to get more games in to increase TV revenue. The main reason though is to get more excitement into the playoffs before they start. A dream scenario would be to see the Trail Blazers and Pelicans get in and that’s the real point of this tournament. We all know the playoffs would be better and more exciting with them in it.
For the remaining teams in the league, the playoff teams would play the lottery teams in some exhibition games to get into some sort of flow and rhythm before the playoffs start. You may again ask yourself what’s the point??? The point is you want to see the best basketball possible for when the games that matter start. You don’t want to see the Bucks or Lakers lose in a first round match up cause they were sloppy and are still getting their feel for the game back. Another reason is if these players start playing at a playoff level intensity after months of not playing or training like they are accustomed to then their could be a lot of injuries. There is probably some skepticism about this part because the teams that are out of it are going to have no interest in playing. They should find motivation in the fact that it’s their fucking job to go out and play basketball and they get to play the game they love again at a high level. We have all had to adapt and do things we don’t want to do, and asking players to get back to work seems pretty reasonable to me.
I think this format could really be exciting for the league when it comes back and generate even more excitement than what we are already feeling. Comment what you like about this format and if there’s anything you would change.