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5 Ways the NBA Can Finish the 2020 Season

Written by:
Don Shapiro
Published on:
Mar/30/2020

Nearly all sportsbooks were offering future bets on the 2020 NBA Championship despite the season being postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

ScoresAndStats offered five possible scenarios for how the NBA season could conclude.

Scenario 1 – Begin Playoffs

No need to finish off the regular season, let's just dive right into the Playoffs based on the current standings.

“Most teams played 65 games anyway, which is plenty to determine the Top 8 in each conference. The playoffs would run as they do normally. All series are best-of-seven.

“This would be great if the NBA can get back to playing sooner rather than later.”

Scenario 2 - Play Entire Regular Season

"With roughly 17 games remaining in the regular season, teams simply finish it out. Then, the playoffs begin. The problem in this scenario, of course, is time."

US President Donald Trump announced the extension of the CDC Social Distancing Guidelines to April 30.  This means the earliest the NBA would consider restarting the season is going to be early May.  But that probably would not have happened anyway.  A summer launch that includes regular season play would probably take the Finals right up to October.  This is when the 2020-21 regular season is set to begin.  Whether this scenario is feasible remains to be seen.

Scenario 3 - The NBA Tournament?

"How about this? Since the NCAA tournament was cancelled, let’s finish the NBA season with its own tournament.

"Each conference holds a 15 team, single-elimination tournament to determine its champion.

"We’ll declare the regular season over and give first-round byes to the top seed in each conference – Milwaukee in the East and the Los Angeles Lakers in the West.

"The remaining 14 teams in each conference play in the following fashion. No. 2 faces No. 15. No. 3 plays No. 14, and so on. It’s similar to play within a region in the NCAA tournament.

"When the winners of each conference tournament are determined, they play the top seed in a best-of-five series to determine the conference champ. The conference champs play a best-of-seven series for the Championship.

"This scenario makes a ton of sense if the league is pressed for time. The single-elimination part of the tournament could finish within two weeks and the conference and NBA Finals could be done in 2 weeks."

Scenario 4 - The Play-In Tournament

Simply take the current Playoff bound teams and offer the bottom seven teams in each conference a chance to compete

Scenario 5 - The 40 Wins or More Your In

Any team that hasn't won at least 40 games can continue to stay home.  “With the end of the regular season, seven teams from the West and four teams from the East are in. For all the Philly fans of the world…guess what? Your Sixers probably shouldn’t have gone 3-7 from Dec. 15 to Jan. 3 and then lost four of their last seven before the end of the season. Too bad. You’re out.”

Of course there is the unthinkable scenario: The 2019-20 season is cancelled altogether.

There is some good news in that a number of NBA players initially tested positive for Covid-19 including Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell of the Utah Jazz have been cleared by the Utah Department of Health, and now pose no risk to others.  The Boston Celtics Marcus Smart has also announced his full recovery. 

Detroit Pistons forward Christian Wood, who faced the Jazz on March 7 and guarded Gobert, has also recovered.

- Don Shapiro, Gambling911.com

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