On Tuesday the NBA provided the Players Association and agents with many details regarding the return-to-play plan at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida. With team training camps beginning at home practice facilities on June 23, it seems that all plans are being finalized and the 2019-20 season will continue.
One of the minor things that needed to be addressed was home-court advantage, and what would be done in place of it for high seeded teams. There were a number of ideas thrown around, including teams flying in their home courts from their respective arenas.
However, the NBA decided to get creative with the Gran Destino Tower at Coronado Springs Resort, the Grand Floridian Hotel and the Yacht Club. Teams will be staying at one of those three resorts based on their seeding.
Teams ranked at Nos. 1-4, which of course includes the Los Angeles Lakers, are being put in the Gran Destino Tower, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic:
– Gran Destino: Bucks, Lakers, Raptors, Clippers, Celtics, Nuggets, Jazz, Heat
– Grand Floridian: Thunder, 76ers, Rockets, Pacers, Mavericks, Nets, Grizzlies, Magic
– Yacht Club: Blazers, Kings, Pelicans, Spurs, Suns, Wizards
The Gran Destino is not only the closest to the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Disney World, it is also the park’s newest resort. Opened in 2019, the tower will be about one year old when the eight teams will be moving in.
While the Gran Destino is considered the best individual hotel at Disney World, the second-best is the Grand Floridian, where the Nos. 5-8 seeds in each conference will reside. This hotel is a little bit older — built in 1988 — but still one of the nicest that the park has to offer. It also is a little closer to the Magic Kingdom, making it further away from the NBA’s home base.
Arguably the third-nicest resort in the park is the Yacht Club, a beach-style resort where the six teams currently on the outside looking in will be staying. Yacht Club is located by Epcot Center, which is over two miles away from where games will be played.
It’s hard to imagine that the quality of the hotel will have any effect on the way these teams play, especially when all three are still high quality resorts. But it is a unique way to award eight teams some semblance of a home-court advantage.
There also is added intrigue of marquee players being in the same hotel, particularly with Giannis Antetokounmpo’s free agency not too far off.