If you’ve been anxiously awaiting the official NBA plans to get back into action, today is your day.

The NBA today announced plans to return to the game, with an unprecedented format and schedule.

They will invite 22 teams to the Disney Resort in Orlando, Florida: 13 from the Western Conference and 9 from the Eastern Conference, based on the overall team records.

The top 16 teams from the Eastern and Western conferences will be joined by teams currently within six games of eighth place in both conferences – New Orleans, Portland, San Antonio, Sacramento, Phoenix and Washington, sources said.

There will be 8 regular season games played in Orlando, which will be played based on each team’s original remaining games on the schedule, skipping all games against a team that is not in the “top 22”. Once all 8 regular season games have been played, a play-in tournament will be held for the final seed of each conference, as long as the late team is within four games.

The play-in tournament will feature the No.8 and No.9 teams – if the ninth seed ends the regular season in all four of the eighth games, sources said. In this case, the No.8 seed enters a double elimination tournament and the No.9 seed enters a knockout tournament, sources said.

So where does that put things for Utah Jazz?

Well, first of all, they’ll be without their sniper and international heartbreaker in Bojan Bogdanovic, who is out for the rest of the season after wrist surgery a few weeks ago. It is therefore obviously far from ideal. But here’s how their remaining 8 games go and will play out in Orlando:

OKC – NOP – MEM – LAL – LAL- SAS – SAS – DAL

It’s obviously a tough schedule, but when you take out the worst teams in the league, everyone’s schedules get a little tougher. The Jazz SOS for its new calendar is within the average of the other teams in the group of 22.

Keep in mind that all games will be played at a neutral site at the Disney Resort in Orlando, so there won’t be a field advantage, or will there be?

According to Dave McMenamin, several executives of the top teams in the NBA have told ESPN they are trying to push other types of “home advantages” to reward teams that get it.

Some of the scenarios discussed, sources told ESPN, include:

The highest ranked team is awarded first possession in the second, third and fourth quarters, after the traditional jump ball to start the match.

The highest ranked team being allowed to nominate a player to be able to be whistled for seven fouls instead of six before committing a foul.

The highest ranked team receives an additional coaching challenge.

Top-ranked teams can haul their own hardwood court from their arenas in Orlando to try and preserve the feel of their home playing experience.

An off-court feature in which playoff teams, in order of ranking 1 through 16, are given the top pick to choose the hotel they will stay in at the ESPN Wide World of Sports and Disney World Resort. ESPN is owned by Walt Disney Co.

Pretty crazy stuff to imagine happening in a real NBA basketball game, but in 2020 nothing really seems out of the ordinary, does it?

The return to basketball is finally underway. Given the insane implications of COVID-19 and the recent movements, protests and events surrounding the murder of George Floyd, this season’s finale will be very different. It will be interesting to see how NBA players react to this modified end of the season, and who emerges as the winner of the 2019-2020 NBA season.


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