Though discussions have picked up recently on potentially finishing out the NBA regular season, nothing concrete has materialized.
Many different ideas have been thrown around about the best way for the league to resume and NBA commissioner Adam Silver has a difficult job in trying to appease both the league owners and players.
The basic ideas of either playing a handful of regular-season games and going into a normal playoff, or simply jumping straight into the playoffs seem most likely, but Silver has always been open to trying out new ideas since he took over as commissioner.
Many different discussions on ways to change the game have been happening under Silver’s watch and with the league being in uncharted waters, this could be a time for the league to experiment. Some executives believe that could be the case as according to Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer, some have long believed Silver would like to use this NBA restart to experiment with different ideas:
But Silver has been pushing innovative changes for years, and front office executives have long believed that the commissioner’s preference is to use this restart as a time to experiment.
Among the most intriguing of the ideas being discussed is the idea of a 20-team group stage similar to the World Cup or Olympics. The 16 current playoff teams along with the next four teams who have the best record would qualify and be placed into four groups of five teams.
Each team would play all teams in their group twice and the two teams with the best record in each group would advance to the normal eight team playoff. This would undoubtedly drum up a ton of interest and make for riveting television.
Those who watch the World Cup are familiar with the amount of drama this kind of format could bring and likely be far more entertaining than last year’s first round. It would also give teams who were getting better near the end of the season like the Sacramento Kings, Portland Trail Blazers and New Orleans Pelicans, a chance to make a playoff run.
Other possibilities being discussed include play-in tournaments for the seventh and eighth seeds in each conference, or eliminating conferences and seeding teams 1-16 and just going straight to the playoffs.
Silver has always thrived to be innovative and he has a chance to turn this awful pandemic-caused shutdown into a positive for the NBA as the ratings would be massive. Whether or not the owners and players would go for some of these out-of-the-box ideas remains to be seen, but the fact that the discussion is taking place is what Silver is all about.