The NBA is setting its sights on returning from a months-long shutdown due to the coronavirus pandemic. It appears that Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida will be the hub where all games will be played while there are still many logistics to figure out in terms of how many games will be played.
Among a potential change that the league is reportedly exploring is format alteration to the 2020 NBA playoffs that has been a topic of debate for years, now. According to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst, there’s a “really good chance” that the NBA foregoes the remainder of the regular season, instead starting with a 16-team playoff that leaves the door open for eliminating conferences and seeding all 16 teams based on their records.
Many people, namely fans and executives of Western Conference teams over the past decade or more, have been asking for this change regardless of the current situation due to some better teams missing out on the postseason because they played in the usually tougher Western Conference.
So what would this potential change mean for the Lakers? Well, it could be a massive help for their championship aspirations. Based on current standings, the Lakers would play the Brooklyn Nets (who have insisted that Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant will not return to action from their respective injuries this season regardless of how long the delay is) in the first round and would only have to go through one of the Milwaukee Bucks and LA Clippers. Instead, their semifinal matchup would most likely be against the reigning champion Toronto Raptors. In the second round, they would face the winner of a series between the Utah Jazz and Houston Rockets.
The NBA is rumored to still want seven-game series in the postseason and with more than two months already gone by with no official return date set, time is running out to do that and still finish out the regular season. It’s no wonder that the league is considering this option, although it does leave the issue of rusty players and teams having to compete in an elimination setting without a few games to get their rhythm back.
It’s important to remember that these are all just thoughts on a bulletin board for now. There’s no telling what decision the NBA will eventually take.