The NBA put a ton of effort into ensuring they will be able to finish out the 2019-20 season and a key component in that was finding a single area to host everything.
The ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World is the perfect place to do just that, but having everything in one place takes away the home court advantage that the Los Angeles Lakers and Milwaukee Bucks fought hard to be able to achieve during the season.
Having your home fans behind you in the arena is something that teams thrive on. Obviously it is up to the team to do the job on the court, but many have spoken to that extra adrenaline the crowd can provide.
For a Lakers fan base that has gone through the longest stretch of non-playoff basketball in franchise history, there is no doubt that Staples Center would have been an absolute raucous environment.
With home-court advantage gone when the NBA returns in Orlando, Florida, there reportedly were discussions among NBA inner circles about possible competitive advantages that the league could introduce to help out those top-seeded teams, but it doesn’t look like they will come to fruition.
“It doesn’t appear that there will be anything built into the gameplay or ability to pick the team you play against,” Lakers vice president of basketball operations Rob Pelinka said. “None of that stuff is in the protocol.”
In-game possibilities that were floated out were things such as higher-seeded teams getting an extra coaches challenge, allowing for one player to receive seven fouls before fouling out, or receiving the ball to start off every quarter. There was even talk of the possibility of having the higher seed teams choose their playoff opponent.
But as it stands, there seems to be just one off-court advantage being afforded to the top seeds. “I do think the NBA made it clear in their information is that the top seeds got a certain lodging experience,” Pelinka noted.
“I don’t know if there will be other things that the top seeds get, but for now there’s been no announcement around gameplay components.”
This championship push will be unlike any other in NBA history. The extra boost that a team could get from being at home, sleeping in their own bed, and having that crowd behind them will be completely gone. For the Lakers and Bucks it will be strictly about how good they are on the court as those advantages they normally receive are not there.
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