- NBA to restart 2019-20 season in Orlando on July 31
- Some teams discussing how to account for teams missing out on having home-court advantage in the playoffs
- Extra possessions, higher foul-out limits among the options proposed
On Thursday, the NBA’s Board of Governors will likely vote in favor of the league’s plans to rejuvenate the stalled 2019-20 regular season. The campaign has been on hold since March 11 as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
However, commissioner Adam Silver is likely to invite 22 of the league’s 30 teams to participate in a truncated rest-of-season schedule ahead of the playoffs in Orlando. All 22 teams will play eight regular-season games before the postseason begins.
Per Vincent Goodwill of Yahoo! Sports, teams will continue with their schedules as originally planned with teams playing their next eight scheduled games. If a team has a scheduled game against one of the eight teams not invited to play in Orlando, the schedule moves onto the next scheduled game against one of the other 22 teams.
The league’s plans include a never-before-seen play-in tournament (if necessary) for the last playoff spot in either conference, as well. The games will be held without fans in attendance as the league looks to continue to help slow the spread of the virus.
No Home-Court Advantage?
Of course, the lack of fans and the fact that games will be played at neutral sites all but eliminates home-court advantage. That’s something that isn’t sitting well with some of the league’s better teams, according to ESPN’s Dave McMenamin.
McMenamin says that several teams listed as championship favorites are staging internal discussions in search of potential solutions to the lack of home-court advantage. Those teams played over 60 games during the regular season with the goal of having home-court advantage in the postseason.
No plan has been proposed, and it would have a difficult time getting approved. That’s because two-thirds of the league’s governors would have to vote in favor of any measure. The players’ union would also have to agree.
We know the NBA is open-minded when it comes to how to proceed in these unprecedented circumstances. According to ESPN, teams that likely would have hosted first-round playoff series have had discussions about how to revive some sort of home-court advantage.
McMenamin reports that some of the ideas put forth include the higher-seeded team being awarded possession at the beginning of the second, third, and fourth quarters of a game after possession is determined via jump ball to begin the game. Another idea is to grant players on the higher-seeded team the ability to commit as many as seven fouls before fouling out. Current rules will cause a player to be disqualified after committing six fouls.
Other ideas include the higher-seeded team having an extra coach’s challenge. Importing actual hardwood floors from home arenas could help the higher-seeded team feel more at home, as well. One more proposal features the playoff teams being seeded 1-to-16, with the higher seeds having their first choice of hotel for where they will stay for the duration of their time at the Disney World resort.
While the NBA is open to ideas, an Eastern Conference executive told ESPN that it’s not necessarily high on the league’s list of priorities right now as it continues to make plans. The executive said, “I do think the NBA cares about it. I do not think it’s a top priority for them.”
The competition committee, which is tasked with coming up with potential rule changes that could help enhance the game, met on Tuesday, where addressing home-court advantage was reportedly discussed. That committee is comprised of players, coaches, GMs, and team owners.
Bucks Not Concerned
While the Milwaukee Bucks, who own the NBA’s best record, will miss out on the frenzied atmosphere they could have otherwise enjoyed at the Fiserv Forum, head coach Mike Budenholzer said he isn’t overly concerned with the lack of home fans. The reigning NBA Coach of the Year told ESPN, “I’ve been just so hoping that we actually play the games, I don’t care if they even give us the home-court advantage. I’m like, just be sure we play. We’ve got to get to Orlando. We’ve got a chance to play for a championship in the playoffs.”
Some have gone as far as to propose allowing higher-seeded teams to pick their playoff opponents ahead of time. That would create all sorts of drama, especially with the lower-seeded team getting some potential extra motivation. One Eastern Conference executive said, “Picking your opponent can lead to bad karma. You can offend the basketball gods.”
The NBA will reportedly restart its season on July 31.