If and when the 2019-20 NBA season resumes, the Los Angeles Lakers’ six-year playoff drought will end. That much we do know.
As the current top seed in the Western Conference, in a normal year the Lakers would have home-court advantage through the Conference Finals and a matchup with the eight-place team in the first round, which is currently the Memphis Grizzlies.
However, this is not a normal season.
It appears likely that the NBA will be housed at Walt Disney World in Florida when play resumes, with all teams playing in one location. Goodbye home-court advantage.
And that date with a young, inexperienced Grizzlies team is only lightly penciled in rather than carved in stone.
The league is considering seeding teams Nos. 1 through 16 regardless of conference, which is an idea that has always been thwarted in the past by the travel requirements of having two teams on opposite coasts play each other. This year, with everyone housed in one place, that issue doesn’t exist.
For the Lakers, such a switch would change their opponent in the first round to the Brooklyn Nets if standings remain the same. While one can argue the quality of the Nets compared to the Grizzlies, but should Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant decide to return from their respective injuries (though it appears unlikely), that could become a much more difficult matchup.
Moving to such a seeding would also put the Lakers and Clippers in opposite brackets, which would mean that they would square off in the NBA Finals rather than the Conference Finals. Imagine the two Los Angeles teams battling it out for a title; the NBA would certainly love to see the ratings of that matchup.
While nothing is set in stone, the NBA Playoffs this year could look drastically different, just like everything else.