The NBA Draft, usually in June, is tonight. Free agency, usually in July, starts later this week.
And while the season schedule usually is revealed in August, this vice grip of an NBA offseason continued today. The revised format for the 75th season schedule was announced, along with a new play-in tournament for the postseason.
A 72-game season, reduced by 10 games, will start on Dec. 22, with the NBA Finals ending by July 22, landing before the rescheduled Tokyo Summer Olympics.
If you enjoyed the start-up portion of the NBA Bubble, you’ll like the postseason restructure for next season. A play-in tournament capitalizes on the format that adjusted to an abrupt, uneven halt to last season, when teams that were in the playoff race met in the Bubble to finish the regular season and decide playoff spots.
This time, each conference’s teams in seventh through 10th place will meet May 18-21 after the regular season to vie for the East’s and the West’s final two playoff spots.
The winner of a No. 7 vs. No. 8 game will be awarded the seventh seed. That game’s loser will play the No. 9 vs. No. 10 game’s winner to decide the No. 8 seed.
When the NBA announces the schedule, it will only be for half the season to allow for any rescheduling that needs to be done for after the March 5-10 All-Star break. The league is literally calling it the “First Half” and the “Second Half.”
The term “All-Star break” takes on a different meaning this year because Yahoo! reported that the game will be not be played. So the NBA’s best players will just party like All-Stars.
All of this is done as an adjustment to the coronavirus pandemic, which begs the question: Why are Western Conference and Eastern Conference teams still having home and away series that create the longest travel?