After the July 31 return date announced late last week, it appears we finally have a set plan for how the NBA (and more importantly the Milwaukee Bucks) plans to return to hooping, per Woj:
The NBA's Board of Governors has a 12:30 PM ET call on Thursday with the intention of approving the league's plan for a 22-team return-to-play in Orlando, sources tell ESPN. https://t.co/Sh7k6ylCdz— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 3, 2020
The big breaking news is that each team will have eight regular season games before a play-in tournament would begin. There’s no word yet on exactly how those eight games are going to be divvied up, but given that eight teams won’t be participating, some form of new schedule will have to be allotted. Besides the 16 teams slotted right now in current Playoff position, the other teams coming will be New Orleans, Portland, Phoenix, Sacramento and San Antonio in the West, where there’s a much tighter fight for the final Playoff slot. From the East, only Washington will also be making an appearance.
Looking at who the Bucks would’ve played in their subsequent eight games before the suspension of play, only two of those teams, Golden State and Detroit, will not be making an appearance in Orlando. So in terms of their raw schedule, not a whole lot else has changed from what would’ve been their following contests.
In addition, Woj also said that the oft-mentioned play-in tournament will take place. Here are the basic parameters:
The play-in format requires a double-elimination format for the 8th seed, a single-elimination for the 9th seed, per sources.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 3, 2020
Currently, Washington is 5.5 games behind the 8th seeded Orlando Magic, so they would have to make up some ground to be considered for the tournament if the NBA sticks with conference-related Playoff matchups. For obvious reasons, the Bucks will be keeping an eye on the lower-rung teams to see how it shakes out for their potential first round opponent, even if the odds of an upset are slim to none. No word on if there will be some sort of tangible advantage for Milwaukee if they secure the 1 seed (they are currently 6.5 games up on Toronto so two wins would seal it), but stay tuned for any further developments on this story.
Per Vincent Goodwill, we have a simple solution for the problem stated above about two of Milwaukee’s opponents in the next eight games not participating.
The plan is for teams to continue their schedule as planned, with the next 8 games. If team is scheduled to play Hawks/Bulls/Pistons, it moves onto the next game on schedule, league sources tell Yahoo Sports— Vincent Goodwill (@VinceGoodwill) June 3, 2020
That would mean the Bucks would play a schedule of:
- Boston Celtics
- Miami Heat
- Memphis Grizzlies
- Washington Wizards
- Houston Rockets
- Washington Wizards
- Dallas Mavericks
- Toronto Raptors
Thank you Washington for being just not crappy enough to earn a spot here. If they hadn’t the Bucks’ schedule would’ve included an additional game against Boston and the Raptors.