It goes without saying that everyone is excited to see the NBA finally generate a plan to return. Now that the basics have been finalized, it’s time to get down to business on some of the specifics.
First up – seeding the 22 teams still left in play. As it turns out, the NBA will be deciding each teams’ seeding based on winning percentage.
If that sounds like a “duh” moment, don’t be so quick to judge. Not every team has played the same amount of games, so this makes things on somewhat of an even level.
Teams like the New Orleans Pelicans, Portland Trail Blazers and Sacramento Kings will certainly have a lot invested in how the standings shake out. After all, these teams will be fighting for the last spot in the Western Conference Playoffs.
The NBA will do away with the typical tie-breaking scenarios, according to league sources. All of the remaining teams were notified of the league’s latest move in a memo on Friday night.
In total, there are 22 teams heading to Orlando for a shot at the NBA title. However, the number of games played by those teams range anywhere from 63 to 67. Because the NBA is having all 22 teams play eight “seeding games” in Orlando, the imbalance in the schedule won’t be there after the eight games.
The final draw of teams won’t be concluded on how many games above or below .500. Instead, it’ll be determined by the team’s winning percentage.
In the season’s current scenario, the Trail Blazers, Pelicans and Kings are all tied for ninth place in the Western Conference – each team is eight games under .500 this season. However, the Trail Blazers have played 66 games while the Kings and Pelicans have only played 64. With that being the case, Portland is slightly ahead of Sacramento and New Orleans when play resumes.
Since the NBA chose to have winning percentage break the ties, there are some interesting outcomes that can happen. If the Trail Blazers have the same record as the Kings or Pelicans down in Orlando, they will finish ahead – all of this despite being swept by New Orleans and tying Sacramento during the season.
The eighth-place Memphis Grizzlies have played 65 games so far this season. This means they cannot finish in a tie with any of those three closest teams under any circumstances.
Using this format, the only potential play-in game would be between the eighth- and ninth-place teams after the eight seeding games, assuming the ninth-place team is within four games of the eighth-place team. If the Kings and Pelicans tie for ninth place, there will not be a play-in game to see who is officially the ninth-place team.
Still To Be Decided
There are still several things the NBA needs to address before taking the court in Orlando. For one, the schedule for all 22 teams hasn’t been announced, but it is expected to be loosely based on the remaining schedule before the COVID-19 pandemic.
Also, there is a litany of health and safety protocols for what the Orlando campus environment will be like. Not to mention, no final decision has been made on roster expansion or the ability to sign other players.
Hopefully, all of these decisions are finalized soon, and we can get one step closer to talking about these matchups. After all, when the matchups are set, we can finally start doing our research to bet on these teams – and that’s what we really miss most of all.