It’s been a little over two weeks since the NBA became the first domino to fall in response to the situation that has kept a solid chunk of us sequestered indoors for around the same amount of time and caused basically every other major sports league to follow its example by putting the season on hold or canceling it entirely.
Part of me thinks our current reality would be a bit more bearable if we knew how long we’re going to have to wait until things get back to normal. However, given the countless factors involved, there’s no telling which of the countless projections and predictions will end up being correct, and as a result, I feel like the dude in Oldboy as I pace around my cramped apartment staring blankly at my television wondering if today will be the day when the nightmare comes to an end.
Even the world’s most foremost experts can’t provide us with a definitive timeline, but earlier this week, Mark Cuban decided to cosplay as an epidemiologist when he predicted the NBA will be up and running again by the end of May.
When you consider the league’s playoffs normally begin about halfway through April, that would present a bit of a logistical issue. There are a number of ways to address the problem but there are two particular options that feel like the most realistic fix: play an abbreviated regular season or go straight into the playoffs.
If CNBC is to be believed, the NBA may be leaning toward the latter, as the outlet spoke with a number of insiders who claim there’s been a discussion concerning a tournament in Las Vegas in order to firm up the playoff bracket before the postseason officially gets underway.
The details are still being ironed out but here’s what the proposed plan looks like at this point in time:
The NBA could decide to cancel the remainder of its regular season and create a play-in tournament for lower-seeded teams to enter the postseason.
The league could then set up a best-of-five series for the first round, before moving to a one-and-done tournament to determine the two teams that will play in the NBA Finals, which would also be a best-of-five, people familiar with the planning said.
The phrasing there is a bit ambiguous, but from what I can tell, it seems like there’s an initial slate of games in Sin City featuring an unspecified number of teams. Once that’s over with, the winners would meet with teams who’d earned a bye in the playoffs, which will be tweaked to make the second and third rounds single elimination.
I urge you to correct me if I’m wrong because I’m still a little confused.
On Thursday, LeBron James was asked about a similar proposal and voiced his opposition, saying he thinks teams should play at least five regular season games before the postseason kicks off.
As for me? I’m down with literally any solution that involves sports being played again so I’ll defer to the NBA on this one.