NBA resumes games in July to determine playoff seeds
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NBA resumes games in July to determine playoff seeds

By Tommy Fradenburg

Contributing Writer for Telegraph Local | See @tommyfradenburg

It isn’t quite official, but it looks as if the NBA has decided on a game plan to finish out the 2019-20 season; with “regular season,” games to resume in July for a select group of teams.

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ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported on Wednesday that 22 total teams (13 Western Conference and nine eastern conference) will head to Orlando to play eight more games to determine playoff seeding.

The league Board of Governors is expected to virtually meet on Thursday at 12:30 EST to officially approve the proposal. They do need three-quarters approval for the movement to pass, but it is expected to be overwhelmingly approved.

In an effort to reduce unnecessary risks; the league elected to end the seasons of teams deemed non-contenders for the playoffs.

According to commissioner Adam Silver; a deal is in place for the Walt Disney World Resort to play host to the remainder of the COVID-19 shortened season.

Those teams invited to continue the battle for the title include the top eight teams in each conference; and a few squads on the cusp of a playoff spot.

The more competitive West has five teams on the outside looking in that will travel to Orlando compared to just one from the East.

How’s it going to work?

The return will begin with in early July, with players reporting to their respective facilities. After some training at home sites the remaining teams will then head to Orlando to complete their training camp.

Starting on July 31 teams are expected to start a slate of eight final games; and conclude the playoffs by early October.

The eight current playoff teams in each conference; along with the New Orleans Pelicans, Portland Trailblazers, Phoenix Suns, Sacramento Kings, San Antonio Spurs and Washington Wizards also joining the party.

There is also new twist to determine the winner of the final playoff spots in each conference. If there is a gap of more than four games between the eighth and ninth seed the eight seed is automatically in; but if the gap is four games or less the eighth and ninth seeds will play in a play-in tournament.

According to Woj if the team in the eight spot gets the advantage of double elimination while the ninth has single. This means the higher seed must win just once while the lower has to win back-to-back contests.

The league expects to implement stringent medical protocols; including daily tests of everyone on site and limiting of crowds among other measures. Players and coaches will however be permitted to do things like play golf and eat at restaurants.

The Phoenix Suns sat the furthest away from a playoff qualification; with the Blazers Pelicans and Kings all tied at 3.5 games behind the Memphis Grizzlies.

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With the new playoff format and the benefit of a couple months of rest; it is more likely than ever that the NBA could see rookie sensation Zion Williamson lead an improbable run to the postseason.

The NBA suspended its season on March 11 after Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert tested positive for COVID-19.

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