The NBA season ended almost two weeks ago with uncertainty about the starting date for the 2020-21 season. On Friday, ESPN announced that the competition chairmanship starts before Christmas. The move means that the break between the end of the 2019-20 season and the start of the 2020-21 season will take about 10 weeks, which is about half the usual time.
Among the changes discussed were: a regular season with less than 82 games without waiting for permission from fans in all arenas of the league, and tournament and match scenarios.
Our NBA experts weighed up the initial impressions of the proposal and its implications and assessed what additional changes they would like to see.
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1. What was your first reaction to the news that the board was considering postponing the start date of the season to a later date?
Kevin Pelton: It is surprising that the competition, given the design program and the free agency of the NBA, which probably will not start until the 23rd minute of the season, can not continue. November, thinks so aggressively. A month later, before Christmas, would mean a reduced training camp, similar to the training camps of 1999 and 2011 after the lock-out.
Bobby marking: I’m not surprised. The goal of the NBA was to avoid the basketball play-offs in September and October. If the competition starts before Christmas and plays 72 seasons, this goal will be achieved. Even if the normal schedule of 82 games is respected, the regular season is expected to end in mid-June and the final at the end of August.
Kirk Goldsberry: Surprise. It seems that nowadays everything has been postponed or cancelled, and most of the people I’ve spoken to in the NBA were waiting for the start date to start from January to March, so it was a legitimate surprise when I heard it could start in December.
Tim Bontemps: That it would be very difficult for the competition. The Freie Agentur should start around one o’clock. December, so there is little time left to reverse the situation without major complications. But still, when it comes to money… If you avoid competition with the NFL during the NBA playoffs and enjoy a large crowd at Christmas, the NBA can make more money.
Eric Woodyard: Honestly, right now, in 2020, I wasn’t surprised. I expected the season to start just before Martin Luther King Jr. day, but Christmas is the best date, so it makes perfect sense. But in the near future it will be interesting to see the reaction of the actors who will have to accept such a proposal.
2. Who would benefit most from this decision?
Bonus: Teams maintaining the status quo. In a world where there is already so much uncertainty because of the pandemic, it becomes a big challenge for many teams to start a new season when a training camp is interrupted and free agents arrive. In this way, groups that are likely to return with minimal changes – such as the Boston Celtics, Denver Nuggets and Miami Heat – will have a big advantage.
Pelton: The teams that have the most advantage are those that ensure continuity. When I looked at the importance of continuity last season, I realized that it usually doesn’t help to get teams to start faster. After the lock-out of 2011, when teams with a strong continuity in the first 10 games played significantly better than in the rest of the season, the situation changed.
Character: Teams not invited to Orlando (especially the Golden State Warriors). While the Los Angeles Lakers and Denver Nuggets fought for a trip to the NBA finals at the end of September and the Los Angeles Clippers sacked Doc Rivers’ head coach in early October, the Warriors have been on the sidelines since mid-March. There will certainly be some Western conference fatigue at the beginning of the season, and the Golden State should be ready for capitalization.
Forest area: THE NBA. It’s a smart business move to play as fast as possible. Let’s not forget that the NBA is a company.
Goldberry: People who like to watch basketball. We plan to have tires all winter and playoffs in the spring. The date of the beginning of Christmas is a good basis for a possible return to a normal life in the calendar.
3. Who will suffer most from this decision?
Goldberry: A lot of people would complain about that, but as a former frontman I can’t imagine doing a recruitment internship, free time for the office and a training camp between now and Christmas. Usually the period between the play-offs and the summer division is the craziest time of the year for the front office – this year it can be crazy. If we make a start before Christmas, the fronts will be crossed.
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Pelton: Teams that want to fundamentally rethink their schedules by swapping in this off-season may need to think twice to give them time to practice their new line-up together. The accelerated training camp also seems to work against players returning from serious injuries – especially Kevin Durant and Clay Thompson.
Character: Actors. Agents take into account the possibility to hold up to 40% of the player’s deposit, the sources reported to ESPN. This money would compensate for the losses incurred due to the lack of income from gambling at home. And from a health point of view, 22 teams simply endured the exhausting pressure of basketball, both physically and morally. I think players who finished the playoffs in September or October are not happy that there are weeks, not months, left for the training camp.
Forest area: The teams that have had deep qualifications in the Orlando bubble because there isn’t much time to recover from the competition at such a high level. Especially the Lakers and the Heat should be back in the game immediately after the title fight.
Bonus: Free agents, like everyone else, but due to their constant contractual situation – especially for players who are not directly committed – certainly have a slow start to the 2020-21 season.
Fault! The file name is not specified. Yes Morant and Damien Lillard met in a Jesse D bubble game. Garrarbrant/NVAE/Getty Pictures
4. What would you change in the game scenario?
Subsidies: After I was in the sperm, I thought the game was a success. I might be interested to expand it, for example to teams 7 to 10 at each conference, but that would require more attention because it would take days.
Character: Reboot games sold me to a game scenario I was very skeptical about. In the regular season (82 games or one shortened game) I would like to see teams that are two games behind in the rankings and are eligible to play. Leaving aside the four games we’ve seen this summer, we’ll certainly dilute the regular season.
Pelton: Compared to what we saw last season, I think it’s a good idea to get more than 8 places. I would have kept the perspective we saw when candidates had to be in a number of games to start a gambling opportunity.
Goldberry: Games are for single use only. None of those nine seats can beat an eight-person twice. Just do it.
Forest area: The NBA playback scenario was a great idea, but it helped to set up the bubbles. If a team interferes with its own affairs during the regular season, it is not allowed to participate in the play-offs for a place it has already won.
5. What other formats or settings would you like to see the NBA experience?
Pelton: Aside from the play-offs, I think the standings have also shown how useful it is to be suspended at some point in a design tournament, so teams don’t have to worry about their chances deteriorating in a late race. It worked well this season because the top eight teams did not know in advance that the season would start in 11th place. The month of March would end. Randomly setting the date for freezing the tournament tables would improve the lottery system.
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Character: A heavy dose of conference games and a one-time East versus West match. If the goal is to get out of the bubble and go back to the teams’ home market, the typical NBA season should be shortened. I’m also into baseball, where a team like the Philadelphia team would play three out of four nights against Chicago.
Forest area: I would like the NBA to experiment with a shorter schedule and possibly shorten the season between 56 and 62 games. This format keeps players fresh and offers fans a much better product because the guys don’t have to worry so much about managing the cargo.
Bonus: For a long time I supported an interseasonal tournament similar to what happens in European football and basketball. I know it would take time for everyone – from fans to teams and players – to buy something, but in the long run it could be a very good thing for the sport because it would give the teams something else to defend. At a time when financing is a problem, it would also give the competition something else to sell.
Goldberry: I would like to organize a meaningful mid-season tournament. Basketball is best when individual players can improve or destroy a team’s chances. That’s why the marching madness can be so exciting. Imagine how you could complete a single elimination round in a league tournament – it would be incredible. It is also time to exclude the top 16 teams from the play-offs and let them participate in the play-offs, even if that means adjusting the schedule. I’m for the 58th regular season, where we play twice with each opponent, for the mid-season winner and for the rectangular playoffs, where the conferences play no role.
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