Last Thursday, NBA Owners approved a plan to send 22 teams to Orlando, Florida to resume the NBA season. All 22 teams would play-out an eight-game regular season, with a play in tournament for the 8th seed, should the 9th seed be within four games of the 8th seed by the end of the regular season. The NBA would then go straight into the typical 16-team playoff.
One of the biggest decisions the NBA had to make was how many teams would be brought back for the season. The choice to bring back 22 teams was ultimately a simple one, the 16 teams already qualifying for the playoffs as well as all 6 teams that still have a mathematical chance of making the playoffs will be invited back. The other eight teams, who were eliminated from playoff contention before the season was put on hold will not be coming back to play until next season.
The 22-team plan for the season was definitely not the perfect fix for the NBA, but it was the only way to give every team that was still in contention a chance to make the playoffs. Bringing back every team would have created a higher chance of spreading infection and would cause teams that are out of contention to play meaningless games. On the flip side, going straight into the playoffs with the 16 teams already set would devalue the rest of the regular season and would eliminate teams that technically still have a shot at making it in.
The eight-game season will give teams a chance to get back in some kind of flow leading into the playoffs and will likely result in highly competitive games while teams jockey for position. This plan was the only way the NBA could say they gave every team a fair shot at making the playoffs and will likely provide interesting dynamics while determining the 8th seed.
The NBA is set to resume play on July 31.
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