The NBA’s Board of Governors feels optimistic that the 2019-20 season can be salvaged and finished, according to The Athletic’s Sam Amick. The Board plans to meet virtually on Friday to discuss more details.
“When it comes to the prospect of saving this season in some form, sources say that optimism abounds in the ownership, player, agent and league office ranks.
In the interest of full transparency, I didn’t poll every owner, player or agent out there. Not even close. But in making the rounds with some of the more prominent people in those communities, I quickly found it apparent that there’s a shared goal of finding a way of finishing this campaign and a widespread sense that it’s still feasible. Somehow. Some way.
Without fans being present at games, of course.”
Playing without fans is about the only sure thing we can expect when it comes to potential return scenarios. Some possible locations that have been rumored include both Last Vegas and the Bahamas. That was until today, when Keith Smart wrote a smart piece on another possible location for basketball to resume at…Walt Disney World!
Smart, who worked at Disney for 20 years, addressed how it would be possible to create a “bubble” at Disney. His piece also goes over the issues of lodging, basketball facilities and production.
While Disney itself made sense from the lodging point of view, Smart points out two things even I was unaware of. The Disney-ESPN connection and how ESPN’s Wide World of Sports Complex can offer everything the league needs in terms of facilities:
“The HP Field House is already set up to host high-level basketball, hosting the AdvoCare Invitational college basketball tournament every November. Not only is the court ready to host NBA games, the broadcast setup is already in place.
In addition to the HP Field House, EWWS is home to the Visa Center. The Visa Center can be set up to house as many as six full-sized basketball courts, or configured stadium-style with one primary court. Like the HP Field House, the Visa Center is also broadcast-ready.
EWWS also has The Arena, which was primarily built to house national championships for cheer and dance, but can easily be configured for basketball. There is space to house six-plus basketball courts, and like the HP Field House and Visa Center, The Arena is also broadcast-ready.
EWWS also has more than ample space to set up temporary workout and weight rooms and treatment facilities. There is enough space to set up a schedule for all 30 teams to have their time in the facilities.
In total, EWWS can offer more than 12 courts, broadcast-ready facilities and everything else the NBA would need.”
If the league does come back, a lot of questions still remain about how they’ll play out the rest of the regular season. Currently, each team has between 13 and 16 regular season games remaining, but almost all indications to this point have suggested that moving straight into the playoffs remains the most realistic goal.
There was also this fun rumor floated out there by FS1’s Jason McIntyre in regards to coming up with the playoff matchups:
“Heard the greatest NBA playoff rumor for 2020: To add revenue/excitement, NBA is considering a play-in round-robin for the 7&8 seeds. ”
That might produce a possible Zion Williamson vs. LeBron James matchup. Wouldn’t that be fun?
From an oddsmaker’s point of view, according to most I’ve spoken to, it is looking like the NBA will jump right into playoff mode.
BetOnline actually put out NBA odds for all the current first-round matchups today:
Orlando Magic vs Milwaukee Bucks
Orlando Magic +1550 (31/2)
Milwaukee Bucks -5000 (1/50)
Brooklyn Nets vs Toronto Raptors
Brooklyn Nets +825 (33/4)
Toronto Raptors -1400 (1/14)
Philadelphia 76ers vs Boston Celtics
Philadelphia 76ers +250 (5/2)
Boston Celtics -300 (1/3)
Indiana Pacers vs Miami Heat
Indiana Pacers +240 (12/5)
Miami Heat -280 (5/14)
Memphis Grizzlies vs Los Angeles Lakers
Memphis Grizzlies +750 (15/2)
Los Angeles Lakers -2000 (1/20)
Dallas Mavericks vs Los Angeles Clippers
Dallas Mavericks +240 (12/5)
Los Angeles Clippers -280 (5/14)
Houston Rockets vs Denver Nuggets
Houston Rockets -125 (4/5)
Denver Nuggets +105 (21/20)
Oklahoma City Thunder vs Utah Jazz
Oklahoma City Thunder -160 (5/8)
Utah Jazz +140 (7/5)
If these are in fact the playoff matchups when basketball resumes, buckle up, because there should be some great games in that first-round.
All of this sounds pretty awesome to me, and I love the Disney + ESPN idea. That is of course if the league can find a way to do mass testing of the players. That is still a huge if, but again, everyone I’ve talked to and everything that we are reading seems a lot more optimistic today than the day’s past.
On a side note, the NBA has been monitoring China’s response to the coronavirus but the Chinese Basketball Association’s return to play has been halted until July.
Taiwan’s Super Basketball League does plan to go forward with its postseason during the pandemic because it only features five teams and is being contested in a small gym with no fans.