The NBA is Back
In early June, the NBA came to an agreement between its board of directors (known in the NBA’s case as ‘governors’) and the players union. The agreement laid out plans for twenty-two NBA teams to wrap up the regular season.
This new plan details an eight-game mini-tournament to complete regular season play according to the schedule that was halted in mid-March. Since then, more than one surprise has hit the US sports world, from Jason Whitlock’s contract ending with FS1 to the Match between Phil Mickelson and Peyton Manning versus Tiger Woods and Tom Brady. Accordingly, the NBA also had a few surprises in store for fans when it made its return announcement recently.
Not only will the NBA be returning for the 2019-20 season at Walt Disney World’s ESPN Wide World of Sports complex, but the returning schedule may even be adjusted to fit in an eighth seed for the upcoming playoffs.
Currently, twenty-two of the NBA’s thirty teams will be competing to finish out seasonal play. The season will finish out at Disney World in a sixteen-day whirlwind of professional basketball. Five to six games will be played each day on a back-to-back basis.
Sixteen of the NBA’s twenty-two teams invited to Orlando are current playoff teams, while the remaining six still have a chance at reaching an eighth seed position in their respective conference.
Last Chance for Bubble Teams
Referred to as ‘bubble teams’ by the media, the New Orleans Pelicans, Portland Trail Blazers, San Antonio Spurs, Sacramento Kings, Phoenix Suns, and Washington Wizards may have a chance to enter playoffs. To do this, the NBA seems likely to create a play-in tournament that will decide the last seed for each conference.
While fans of top-seeded teams are already checking expert analysis for NBA betting tips prior to play on July 31st, fans of the aforementioned bubble teams are likely happy at the opportunity for a post-season play at all. After all, it’s unprecedented for the NBA to offer a play-in tournament for an eighth seed prior to playoffs.
At the moment, the NBA’s hesitant plan involves matching up the six eighth-seed teams and pitting them against one another, where the team with the stronger record would need only one win to advance to the playoffs. The team with the weaker record would need to win two games in a row in order to take that playoff spot.
At the moment, teams are scrambling to fit in practice time. Training camps are set to start near the end of June before final season play begins in the following month, with the NBA draft lottery and an official draft set for August and October respectively.
Top Seeds for the 2019-20 Season
Now that the NBA has released an official plan to resume play, sportsbooks and fans have been scrambling to review last year’s seasonal play. After all, a regular NBA season would have been long over at this point, and fans would already be looking ahead to the draft and upcoming season.
Once each conference has wrapped up its final games, the plan for NBA Finals involves shortening the length between games. This means they’ll be played every other day so that the entire seven-game finals series should take less than two weeks.
So far, the two teams with the top odds by bookmakers both hail from Los Angeles. The Clippers and the Lakers may very well face a showdown both teams have been waiting for given the Clippers have slowly turned their game around since 2010.
However, the Milwaukee Bucks are just as hungry as the Clippers to dethrone the Lakers. In the third position beneath the Los Angeles franchises, the Bucks will likely have to take care of the Boston Celtics if they want a shot at a west coast team.
Meanwhile, last year’s NBA Finals featured the Toronto Raptors and the Golden State Warriors, neither of which seem to be rocking the boat. While the Raptors hover around a sixth or seventh place seed for the championship, the Golden State Warriors have had a notoriously difficult year in terms of injuries.