The Los Angeles Lakers, as well as most of the league, received good news when it was announced the 2019-20 NBA season would be returning. The NBA and NBPA approved a format for the regular season and playoffs, meaning there will be a 2020 champion crowned after all.
While contenders like the Lakers will get a shot to compete for a title, several teams who were lower in their conference’s standings saw their seasons unfortunately end. Like every year, teams out of the running still find utility out of the regular season.
They often use it as opportunities to develop younger players and evaluate their rosters ahead of the draft and free agency. With 22 teams invited to the bubble location in Orlando, the remaining eight teams are officially in their offseason period.
According to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, those teams appear to be thinking of ways to keep their players engaged:
Fearful of significant setbacks in the development of young players over months of inactivity, several teams left out of this season’s regular-season resumption in Orlando, Florida, have proposed ideas for regional mini summer leagues, training camps and organized team activities, sources told ESPN.
So far, front offices have been creative in trying to find solutions and they have already discussed several options:
– A combination of voluntary and mandatory workouts for two weeks in July.
– Regional minicamps in August that include joint practices for a period of days and approximately three televised games.
– Organized team activities (OTAs) for mid-September.
– Teams want an opportunity for training camps to start seven to 10 days earlier for the 2020-21 season for those teams left out of Orlando.
The remainder of the 2019-20 season is expected to stretch into October, meaning the teams who were not invited will have more than four months of down time they normally would not have under normal circumstances. Although training facilities were allowed to re-open recently, there is no practice that could make up for the loss live-game action, especially for younger players.
The proposed plan to keep teams active seems to be a good start as it accounts for the remainder of the schedule and gives players an opportunity to work not just with their team but other franchises as well. Televising games, in particular, seems to be an interesting wrinkle as well as it would give those teams’ fans a chance to see them play while the postseason goes on.