Before we get into the actual substance of the plan, a quick shoutout to the owners who made this happen. Not once was there any major story regarding owners squabbling with players over how the remainder of their paychecks would be dispersed unlike over at America’s pastime. See every story over the last regarding two months from the MLB. Bringing back sports during these uncertain times is a difficult task, but give the owners credits for realizing what was actually important, bringing the frickin’ game back. That may seem like common sense, but their counterparts still don’t seem to get that as some MLB owners would be fine cancelling the season in order to save money as reported by ESPN’s Buster Olney.
The return plan will see 22 teams in playoff position or “striking distance” traveling to ‘the most magical place on Earth’ (So I’m told, never been) to play eight (8) regular season games to determine seeding for the playoffs with one important caveat. If the 8-game season ends with the 8-seed in each conference 4 games or fewer ahead of the 9 seed, there is a play-in tournament to see who gets the final seed. Looking over at the West, you’ll see the Memphis Grizzlies in the 8 spot. If you look closer, you’ll see a 3-way tie for the 9th seed and wouldn’t you know it, they’re
all 3.5 games behind the Grizz! What a coincidence!
As rumors spread in the early stages of a potential NBA return, a popular theory was that the league would jump straight to the playoffs, ditch the conferences, and just seed the teams based off overall record 1 through 16. This was appetizing for multiple reasons. For one, it would all but end the team that’s 10 games under .500 sneaking into the playoffs. Secondly, it would create an amazing slate of matchups for the first round. Ignoring the gripes, the league held firm to conference seeding suggesting that an eventual removal of seeding by conference is nothing more than a pipe dream.
As much as Memphis got screwed, the New Orleans Pelicans were offered a lifeline, and one has to believe that has to do with the marketability of Zion Williamson. Is there any hard proof? No, but one must imagine that in a league that prioritizes its superstars, the league would do anything in its power to see one of its rising stars in the playoffs. Interestingly enough, Zion will not win rookie of the year (congrats Ja Morant!), but let’s be honest, the league wants the Pelicans to make the playoffs as an 8-seed to set up a Lebron v. Zion series in the first round. I can see the obscure ESPN stat comparisons already.
In a shortened training camp and season preparing for the eventual playoffs, there will no doubt be a drop in play. This decline in play will effect others more than some, and one of those individuals will be Giannis Antetokunmpo. The man literally did not have a hoop to shoot on for the first couple of months of quarantine. It doesn’t take a genius to assume there will be a dip in the MVP’s play. This will lead to an early exit for the Bucks, leading to an off-season of contempt, leading to a bunch of Wisconsinites burning their #34 jerseys, and I’m not talking about Ray Allen throwbacks.
Maybe I’m a little biased as a lifetime fan, and maybe in the long run, it’d be a bad thing for the organization if it allows Brett Brown (the worst NBA coach of all time) to keep his job, but the return really suits this team. For one, they will not be playing any road games after posting a 10-24 away record before the season was suspended. Furthermore, they will most likely be matching up with a Boston team in the first round which they dominated throughout the season. Finally, although often unmotivated and always poorly coached, they remain a team full of talent that has beaten the top 8 overall teams in the whole league. If you’re someone prone to action, it might be worth your while to throw a smeckle or two on the 76ers to go to the finals at 9/1 Vegas Insider.
Adam Silver previously said the NBA has long considered moving their schedule to begin sometime in December instead of their traditional October start. Many fans believed that this would initially lead to an NBA opening day extravaganza on Christmas Day as the league already holds a number of marquee matchups on the holiday to watch so you don’t have to talk to your family. However, Mr. Silver shied away from starting the next season on Christmas day next year and instead said it would begin in early December. Why you may ask? Well it just so happens that although falling on a Friday, the NFL decided to schedule a week 16 matchup between the Vikings and Saints on Christmas day. Long story short, the NBA doesn’t think the holiday is big enough for the two of them, and knows they’d get clobbered In the ratings by the juggernaut known as the National Football Association.
Think back to March 11th, 2020. A day that will go down infamously as the day Rudy Golbert ruined sports for everyone. Formerly known for crying on video about being an All-Star snub, Gobert joked about Covid-19 by coughing and spitting all over microphones at a press conference only to test positive for the virus later that night. Before the end of the night, the league was suspended, and before the end of the week, all of sports was shut down (RIP in peace, XFL). Even more damning, Gobert transmitted the disease to teammate and wannabe star Donovan Mitchell. Reports say that Mitchell has forgiven him, but it’s hard to believe someone petty enough to spend weeks complaining about not winning Rookie of the Year would be so fast to forgive someone who transmitted a disease to him. There will be major chemistry issues in Utah leading to a first round exit.
It has been a cliché for the MVP of a championship-winning team to announce that, “I’m GOING TO DISNEY WORLD!” Well, you can’t go somewhere you already are. It’ll be interesting to see what the winning team’s MVP says this time around. Smart money says that Disney works in a provision that requires the winning team to pronounce that they’re “STAYING in Disney World!” but only time will tell.
Look, there are far more important things in this world than basketball, but it’s about time that this country gets some positive news. In a country that is more divided than ever, and seemingly on the verge of collapse, it’s about time we all get back to hooping.
This post was written by Gator Flynn.