As the NBA plans to finally make its return, a number of things are beginning to become clear. The league is poised to bring back 22 teams who will play eight more regular-season games before going to the playoffs.
There will be the potential for a play-in tournament for the eighth seed in each conference if the ninth-place team is within four games in the standings. Everything will be taking place at the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex on the Walt Disney World grounds in Orlando, Fla.
That of course does take away the always important home-court advantage which teams like the Los Angeles Lakers and Milwaukee Bucks have worked hard to gain throughout the season. With all games taking place on a neutral court, teams have lost something they earned and there are talks about what can be done to rectify that.
There are reportedly a number of different options being discussed in order to help those higher-seeded teams maintain some form of advantage including receiving the ball to start the last three quarters or designating a player to be allowed seven fouls instead of six.
According to Dave McMenamin of ESPN, one executive has even suggested that there be multiple options for the higher-seeded team to be able to choose from:
One executive suggested to ESPN that the NBA should present the higher-seeded team a menu of league-approved options before each game — or possibly each series — and have them pick one.
This would be an interesting compromise as it is unclear which of the numerous suggestions holds the most weight and would come close to being an acceptable replacement for the lack of homecourt. Whether the league would go for something like this is unclear, but it could be something that is at least discussed.
Possibilities that have reportedly been thrown out to teams include the previous ones mentioned as well as things such as an extra coach’s challenge, transporting their actual home court from their arena to Orlando, or even getting first choice in which hotel they get to stay at. Some teams might prefer one advantage to the other so giving them a choice could be best and give them some control over how they can maintain some sort advantage that is being lost.
The league has a number of different things to work out as they prepare for a return and this is one of them. All possibilities will be discussed and considered, but when figuring out an advantage for teams that earned them, having a choice could do the best job of giving those teams that power they would normally have.