The NBA is set to return with a tentative date of July 31st. With this return to play comes a few things anxious fans should expect. The teams involved, the format, and the location are the biggest changes due to the long layoff and health concerns. However, the Covid-19 pandemic has stripped us of basketball for the better part of three months, so we’ll take what we can get.
Narrowing The Field
As of right now, when the NBA returns, only 22 teams will see action. This eliminates the clubs most likely to be staring at the lottery in this year’s draft. While this is a plus for fans of teams on the playoff bubble like Portland and New Orleans, this plan robs fans of seeing stars like Steph Curry and Trae Young, who are on teams going nowhere. It begs the question whether the sport will be worth viewing without its brightest stars.
Play In Games
Not only do teams on the outside looking in on the playoffs have a legitimate shot at getting in, but it might be easier than usual. Squads like the previously mentioned Blazers and Pelicans will put in to a play-in tournament to earn a spot in the postseason. This format is sure to be exciting, as all teams involved have a shot at winning their way to the playoffs.
Location, Location, Location
As the old saying goes: “Location is everything”. At this time, the location looks to play a big role when the NBA returns. Currently, the NBA is to resume play at Disney’s ESPN Wide World Of Sports. Therefore, there will be no home court advantage and it’s likely that no fans will be in attendance. It will be interesting to see how the world’s best players do without the raucous crowds they are accustomed to. On the bright side, playing in empty arenas showcases basketball in its purest form. Despite the various changes, this will be a spectacle worth watching.