It’s been two months since the NBA suspended play in the 2019-20 season, due to the global pandemic, and there’s still no timetable as to exactly when the league will resume in the future.
However, other leagues are already moving toward playing soon, and MLB has plans to likely have guys working out for a second spring training in just a few weeks. The NBA, as well, recently, has come off as optimistic that there will be some form of a postseason, and that a champion will be crowned. What we don’t know is whether or not the regular season — which still had roughly 20 games or so remaining — will be concluded. At this point, it’s hard to see the league making up all those games, despite the gripes from owners, who won’t be happy about giving up that potential revenue. Still, the issues with travel, and using multiple arenas — even if they’re closed off to fans — to be able to play games just seems unlikely at this time. The pandemic isn’t spreading at the rate it once was, but numbers continue to increase, and President Donald Trump and the CDC have made it clear that they want to see that trend continue, before getting comfortable resuming certain activities involving groups of people interacting together.
So, while things can change quickly, like legal sports betting in Colorado, it does appear that the NBA will have some form of a playoffs, but without a regular season leading up to it. That means that players will essentially have to “flip a switch” — going from a few weeks of practicing, to playing games at the highest level, full-speed. That’s something that we’ve never seen done before, and it’ll be extremely difficult on players.
The NBA Playoffs are simply a different tier of basketball. It’s already the best league in the world, but playoff games are high-intensity, fast-paced and every possession matters. Older veteran players may find it extremely difficult to get their bodies in shape to play at that level without some “warm up” games. That’s why the NBA and NFL have preseason games before the regular season, to help players get their bodies right. But now, not only will there be no exhibition games, but no regular-season ones, either.
That will likely give an advantage to younger, more athletic players, who are much more suited to “flip a switch.” Veteran players have made it clear that they need to ease into playing in order to eventually get into game shape, and that it takes time. Underdog, lower-seeded teams with younger players may actually hold an advantage over veteran ones. The three teams with the best records — Bucks, Lakers and Clippers — are among the oldest in the NBA, along with the Rockets, which could make for a very interesting postseason. No one really knows what to expect, so make sure to tune in to the action.
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