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NBA Teasing the Idea of Immediate Playoff Upon Return

Written by: Christian Jope
Updated October 14, 2022
8 min read
  • With the NBA season suspended since mid-March, the league has entertained many possibilities for return.
  • All eyes are on Disney World as a host site for the resumed NBA season/playoffs.
  • A possibility of a playoffs only setup and new seeding format is in the cards.

The suspension of all major league sports in the USA was kick-started when the NBA canceled a number of games upon the positive coronavirus test of Utah Jazz All-Star Rudy Gobert. Since mid-March the NBA has been complying with stay-at-home orders, but has also been working with the CDC and NBPA in order to bring their season back.

After reports of Disney World being a possible host location for the return of the NBA season, in a “bubble”, ESPN correspondent Brian Windhorst stated that there are positive talks of a return to play.

The more people I talk to, the more people in the league think that it’s going to end up being a playoffs-only scenario. And to spice it up, this is something I think Adam Silver is going to bring to the table.

NBA commissioner Adam Silver has said before that he would entertain the idea of a 1-16 playoff seeding, even before the NBA’s suspension was put in place. In a bid to make the NBA regular season more competitive, and the post-season more equal in difficulty route, Silver’s 1-16 seeding idea came to fruition.

How Can A Format Change Occur?

In order for the playoff format to change there will have to be five Eastern Conference owners that will need to vote in favor of the alteration. The concerns of playoff positioning and qualification would be at the forefront of voting parties’ minds.

With the possibility that only some NBA teams would return to play, owners would more than likely vote in favor of the plan that looks to generate the most revenue. Should the league only return under the pretense that the playoffs are all that would occur, it would certainly increase the chance that non-playoff bound ownership would vote impartially.

What Would a 1-16 Seeding Look Like?

In the past, the NBA playoffs have been seeded based on team ranks in their respective conferences. The best eight teams in the East and West are matched up with each other based on the record. Seed 1 versus Seed 8, Seed 2 versus Seed 7, and so on.

In a new 1-16 format, teams would match up from Seed 1 to Seed 16, regardless of the conference position. This was never possible in the past due to travel limitations, but hosting the playoffs at one site resolves that issue.

If an NBA Playoff were to occur without further regular-season matches to affect seeding, matchups would look like this:

(1) Milwaukee Bucks vs. (16) Orlando Magic (3) Toronto Raptors vs. (14) Memphis Grizzlies
(9) Oklahoma City Thunder vs. (8) Miami Heat Winner of (1 vs 16) vs Winner of (9 vs 8)  Winner of (3 vs 14) vs Winner of (11 vs 6) (11) Indiana Pacers vs. (6) Denver Nuggets
Bracket 1 Finals 2020 NBA Finals

(Winner of Bracket 1 Finals vs Winner of Bracket 2 Finals)

Bracket 2 Finals
(5) Boston Celtics vs. (12) Philadelphia 76ers Winner of (5 vs 12) vs Winner of (13 vs 4)  Winner of  (7 vs 10) vs Winner of (15 vs 2) (7) Utah Jazz vs. (10) Houston Rockets
(13) Dallas Mavericks vs. (4) LA Clippers (15) Brooklyn Nets vs. (2) Los Angeles Lakers

Who Has the Best Odds to Win the NBA Championship?

Luckily for sports bettors and fans, the top eight teams in each conference hold the leagues 16 best records. The odds for these teams to win the NBA Championship are as follows:

Odds taken from DraftKings Sportsbook

Los Angeles Lakers (+250) Milwaukee Bucks (+250) LA Clippers (+333) Houston Rockets (+1300)
Toronto Raptors (+1800) Boston Celtics (+2000) Miami Heat (+2000) Philadelphia 76ers (+2200)
Denver Nuggets (+3000) Utah Jazz (+3000) Dallas Mavericks (+4000) Brooklyn Nets (+6000)
Oklahoma City Thunder (+8000) Indiana Pacers (+10000) Memphis Grizzlies (+20000) Orlando Magic (+30000)


Who is the reigning NBA Champion?
Who are the top teams in the NBA?
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Christian Jope

1438 Articles

Christian Jope is a writer, social media strategist, and data analyst. A Queen’s University Alumni, Christian is an author and social media strategist with Raptors Cage, while also working closely with MLSE and Canada Basketball through community-driven events.

Email: [email protected]

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