More than two months after the NBA season was put on hold, breaths of life are beginning to be felt around the league. After Rudy Gobert tested positive for COVID-19 in mid-March, the NBA made a quick and safe decision. They shut down all operations including games, practices, and open gym opportunities. The past couple of weeks have seen the reopening of nearly every teams’ practice facilities, providing nothing but hope for those anxiously awaiting the return of the league.
Finally, with a plan starting to take place, the NBA has a solid target date. Adam Silver informed the NBA’s board of governors today, May 29, that the league would be targeting a resumption of play on July 31. It appears more and more likely that the league will host all of its remaining games at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Disney World in Orlando, Fl. What these games will look like is still anyone’s guess.
The NBA has discussed several possibilities for returning to play. Perhaps the simplest option is diving right into the playoffs, seeding teams the way they ranked when the season was initially paused. This of course would come after a mini training camp period. Other options have included condensing the remainder of the regular season, seeding teams straight 1 – 16 regardless of conference, and bringing back the top 20 teams to play a FIBA style group stage in the first round. There is a growing belief that 20-22 teams will be invited to compete in the revised format.
Regardless of what actually happens, the return suddenly feels closer and more real than it ever has. We have a date. We have a plan starting to take place. We have hope.