The NBA is expected to formally announce Thursday morning that the league will resume the 2019-2020 season in late July at the Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando, Florida. The announcement will come after the Board of Governors ratifies the plan during a call around 11:30 AM Dallas time Thursday morning.
Only 22 of the league’s 30 teams will be playing, and Luka Doncic and the 40-27 Mavericks will be one of them. Here are some of the key points of the league’s plans that have been leaked to major outlets, like ESPN and The Athletic, and how they will impact the Mavs.
The 22 teams returning will each play eight more regular season games to determine playoff seeding. If the 9th seed is within four games of the 8th seed at the end of the regular season, they will enter a play-in tournament to fight for the final playoff spot. The 8th seed will have a double-elimination scenario with the 9th seed just getting a single loss.
When the season halted back in mid-March, Dallas was the seventh seed in the West and had a healthy seven game lead on the 8th seeded Memphis Grizzlies. With just eight games remaining, the Mavs have not clinched a playoff spot, but they are virtually locked in to the West’s top seven seeds and will in all likelihood not need to take place in a play-in tournament in the West with the likes of the Grizzlies or the five other teams within six games of the eighth seed. Dallas will certainly have a shot to move up in the standings with just 2.5 games between themselves and the 4th seeded Utah Jazz.
The NBA's return plan includes 13 Western Conference teams and nine Eastern Conference teams.
— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) June 3, 2020
How will those eight remaining games be scheduled if all 30 teams aren’t going to be playing?
It has been reported that teams will play their remaining schedule, but just skip games that feature the eight teams that will not be making the trip to Orlando. If this is the case, the Mavericks remaining schedule will be against the following teams: Suns (2x), Clippers, Kings, Trail Blazers, Rockets, Jazz and Bucks.
This happened to be the exact next eight games on the Mavericks schedule and they didn’t have to skip any opponents. Of the team’s remaining 15 games on their original 82 game schedule, only two would’ve been “skipped” under this new model with games against the Minnesota Timberwolves and Detroit Pistons still on the docket when the league halted play in March.
How is the league going to handle player safety with the coronavirus still very much around?
This certainly isn’t the angle that’s covered the most, but some answers are there in the previously provided articles from ESPN and The Athletic.
Directly from the ESPN article:
“The NBA is planning to have uniform, daily testing for the coronavirus within the Disney campus environment.”
“If a player tests positive for the virus, the league’s intent would be to remove that player from the team to quarantine and treat individually — and continue to test other team members as they play on, sources said.”
The second quote certainly doesn’t seem like a fool-proof plan by the league. So if Giannis or LeBron really were to test positive for the virus in the first round of the playoffs, we’d really keep going and treat it the same as an injury if the rest of the team tests negative? What’s the line for number of positive tests before we can’t continue?
I think things will be insanely monitored and safe at the playing facilities and the hotels, as Ramona Shelburne was told that “no staff will be allowed into players’ rooms and hallways will be carefully managed to avoid crowding,” This will definitely be an adjustment for players, as it definitely stands out how many different team staff members go in and out of the locker room to either pick up laundry or give out beverages or snacks to players before and after games. Obviously the players are capable of doing this themselves, but it will be different for them, for sure.
There will be other major adjustments for players when it comes to their game day experience. The Athletic reports that the following protocols will be proposed in the next few days to encourage social distancing:
- Players will be unable to shower in the arena, would need to do so in their respective hotels
- Bench players would sit in spread-out rows, inactive players would sit in the stands
- No guests until the playoffs
Does that last one mean no guests (family) at the complex/in hotels with players until the playoffs? Once the playoffs come, does that mean guests will be allowed to attend games? These seem like fairly significant details to iron out. At least it seems to be determined that players can golf…
While players and coaches will be allowed to golf and eat at outdoor restaurants in Disney, they will also be required to maintain social distancing, sources tell @ramonashelburne. https://t.co/X2esAfEPvq
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 3, 2020
There are still questions remaining, but it seems like the NBA is committed to answering the biggest one: Yes, they’re going to try to finish the 2019-2020 season.
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