After months of ongoing deliberations and planning, the 2019-20 regular season will officially be resuming after the NBA and NBPA agreed on a 22-team competitive format.
The league has decided on Walt Disney World in Orlando, Fla., as its bubble location for the remainder of the season where the 22 invited teams will compete in eight regular season games to determine playoff seeding.
The biggest addition to the plan is a potential play-in tournament that is triggered if the nine seed is within four games of the eight seed.
In this event, the nine seed would have to win two games against the eight seed in order to secure the spot. However, the eight seed would only need to win once to stay in the postseason.
While the location of games and setup for games appears to be sit, there are still actual operations details that need to be addressed. One of those issues is noise or sound in the arenas, and according to Shams Charania of The Athletic, the league is actually considering implementing sound from the popular NBA 2K video game franchise:
There could be crowd noise via NBA 2K video game sounds, but the NBA and NBPA is still discussing creative opportunities.
Because there will not be crowds or fans in attendance when play resumes, the NBA will need to get creative in order to simulate conditions during a normal game and this happens to be an interesting solution. The piped-in sound may be odd to hear at first, but other professional leagues like soccer have experimented with it and it seems to do the job for the most part.
With Orlando serving as a neutral site, home-court advantage for higher seeds in the playoffs all but disappears and having artificial noise may or may not be beneficial for the players as it could end being distracting instead. While it does not seem to bother the players in soccer leagues, it remains to be see how that would work for a basketball game.
The league is planning to have two or three exhibition games prior to the season’s restart, so it would probably be best for them to try the piped-in noise in then and gather feedback. Another potential solution could be to just play music like some teams do during practice and games anyhow.
Arena noise is a minor detail, though, and should not be too big of a problem once play officially resumes. The most important thing is that basketball is making its awaited return.