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The 4 best things about the NBA’s reported proposal for return to play

For The Win logo For The Win 6/3/2020 Charles Curtis
a man holding a sign: USA TODAY © Provided by For The Win USA TODAY

Although sports may be the last thing on everyone's minds this week, there's a bit of good news: the NBA appears to be one big step closer to coming back.

Per USA TODAY Sports' Jeff Zillgitt, the league has put together a proposal to finish the 2019-20 season, and it's pretty awesome. We'll get to why in a second, but here are the details: A total of 22 teams will play at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex outside of Orlando, with 16 of them making the playoffs. Eight regular-season games will finish the season, and then there are some intriguing wrinkles as to how specific teams will make the playoffs.

Let's dive in to the best parts of this plan:

1. There could be play-in games for the final seed

This is by far my favorite part of the whole thing. From Zillgitt:

If the ninth seed is not within four games of the eight seed, there won't be a play-in game in that conference. If there is a play-in game, it will be double elimination for the eighth seed and single elimination for the ninth seed.

This solves a potential problem that was brought up by Portland Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard - the hope was that regular-season games wouldn't be for nothing. Now they truly do count (even if there's plenty of rust to knock off).

The Washington Wizards, as of now, are 4.5 games behind the Orlando Magic for the No. 8 seed in the East. The Phoenix Suns (six games back), San Antonio Spurs (four games back), Sacramento Kings, New Orleans Pelicans and Portland Trail Blazers (all 3.5 back) will chase the Memphis Grizzlies out West.

And they have just eight games to get close enough to give us a First Four situation in the NBA.

2. Multiple games in one day

We missed out on the 2020 NCAA tournament, but this would make up for some of it:

3. No meaningless games

I mentioned Lillard's comments above, but it bears repeating. It's also notable that teams who were probably out of the playoff hunt in an abbreviated end-of-season plan wouldn't want to put themselves at risk for both injuries and coronavirus exposure for games that mean nothing in the standings.

4. Conference playoffs

I know: you were all hoping for a 1-through-16 tournament that scrambles up the conferences all together. It would have been cool.

But there's a part of me that's totally fine with this plan - we could get another epic Raptors-Sixers series again. We could see if the healthy version of the Blazers with Zach Collins and Jusuf Nurkic could challenge the Lakers at all. And although we had dreams of a Lakers-Clippers battle in the Finals, we'll still potentially get that.



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