NBA Considering New Playoff Format if 2019-20 Season is to Return
If the season is to return, it will be played out in one central site in Orlando.
One central site could realistically eliminate conference play in the postseason as travel would no longer be an issue. With that in mind, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst has suggested that the NBA is thinking of jumping right into the playoffs upon return and it may look to experiment with a new format.
“I really think there’s a good chance this is only going to be a 16-team playoff,” Windhorst said. “If that is the case, it opens up the possibility for something that Adam Silver has long wanted, which is to seed one through 16 in the post-season and go that route.”
If the idea of conferences will be eliminated and the NBA jumps straight into the playoffs upon return, the first round postseason picture will look something like this:
(1) Milwaukee Bucks vs. (16) Orlando Magic
(2) Los Angeles Lakers vs. (15) Brooklyn Nets
(3) Toronto Raptors vs. (14) Memphis Grizzlies
(4) Los Angeles Clippers vs. (13) Dallas Mavericks
(5) Boston Celtics vs. (12) Philadelphia 76ers
(6) Denver Nuggets vs. (11) Indiana Pacers
(7) Utah Jazz vs. (10) Houston Rockets
(8) Miami Heat vs. (9) Oklahoma City Thunder
This being said, Windhorst also notes that Commissioner Silver may struggle getting Eastern Conference owner on-board with the idea.
“If you’re Milwaukee, why would you vote for it this year? You might have to beat both the Lakers and the Clippers to win your title,” Windhorst said. “If you’re Boston, you’re now a five seed. If you’re Philadelphia, you’re now a 12 seed… I still think the stumbling block is you would need the East owners to do it, but if you’re ever going to do it, and you could convince them to sign in a one-off situation, it would be in this moment.”
Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban has recently thrown out another idea, telling ESPN that he hopes all 30 teams return to the central site and play between 5-7 regular season games, after which they would proceed to a play-in tournament for the last two playoff seeds in each conference.
Cuban believes the NBA must bring each team back to fulfill its local television obligations.