Opinion: If The NBA Season Resumes, What Should It Look Like?
The 2019-2020 NBA season was officially suspended on March 11, 2020 because of the coronavirus. Since then, fans have been patiently awaiting the return of basketball, and the resumption of the season. Earlier this week, the league announced it would be holding a forum along with the players association to answer any questions players might have on Friday.
The NBA has also flirted with the idea of finishing its season in a bubble city. Some of these bubble cities include Las Vegas and Walt Disney World in Orlando (which by the way has a remarkable facility, speaking from experience) and in both of these instances, no fans would be present. If the season were to resume though, how would the league do it. Would they just pick up with the playoffs? If they don’t immediately start with the playoffs how many games would be enough before starting the playoffs, especially given that seeding is still up in the air in both conferences.
I personally don’t know what the NBA is going to do. I am not entirely sure as to when they will resume the season as there are still a lot of things that need to be ironed out, but here is what I think the league should do:
- Give teams a week to a week and a half of practices to reestablish chemistry and to allow players to somewhat get back into game shape.
- Get every team to 75 total games played for the season, that way every team will have played the same number of games for standings sake, and this also allows players to get the feel for playing in an actual game after this extended hiatus.
- So that the season does not drag, make the first and second rounds of the playoffs best out of 5. The conference finals and NBA finals would subsequently be a best of 7 game series as they normally would.
Assuming the standings remained unchanged following the playing out of the regular season, and there are no injuries, I see things unfolding as the Lakers and Clippers meet in the Western Conference Finals, and the Bucks and Celtics meeting in the Eastern Conference Finals, with the Lakers and Bucks advancing to the NBA Finals. This would mean that arguably the two best players in the entire NBA in LeBron James and Giannis Antetokounmpo would meet in the NBA Finals. This could be viewed as a passing of the torch series from James to Antetokounmpo, but if this series were to take place, I feel that it would be James and the Lakers ultimately hoisting the Larry O’Brien Trophy for the 17th time in franchise history. I think that this would be the case, because I feel that the Lakers have more guys to slow down Antetokounmpo and his prolific ability to drive to the hoop, than the Bucks do to do the same thing to James. Anthony Davis for the Lakers would also be a huge factor as he is currently the front-runner for defensive player of the year in the NBA because of his insane shot blocking ability. Davis also forms a dynamic trio of rim protectors on the Lakers with him, JaVale McGee and Dwight Howard.
Now the one issue that arises with this resumption of the season is that players who would not have played in a game had it been played back in March due to injury, would now be able to because they have fully recovered from whatever injury that they sustained. Personally, I feel that the only fair way to handle this situation is that any player who would have missed games due to an injury, would have to sit out that number of games once the season resumes. For example, Kyrie Irving of the Brooklyn Nets was originally going to miss the remainder of the season due to a shoulder injury. If the season resumes, and Irving was able to return back to the court during this time, he would not be eligible to play for the Nets because he was not going to play initially if the season had continued to go on back in March.
Regardless of when the NBA resumes its season it will greatly alter the NBA’s calendar. The league has already pushed back the scouting combine and draft lottery, which were set to occur later this month. It is also assumed that the NBA Draft will get moved from its original June 25 date. The NBA has also had to think about pushing back the start of the 2020-2021 season to possibly December 2020 and then having the season end in July or August 2021.
Whenever the season does start backup as long as we get some form of a conclusion to this season, given everything that has happened, not including the season being suspended, the NBA frankly needs to crown a champion and turn the page on this season because it has been a roller coaster type ride.