How Will the NBA Return?

Dima Kulakov

Because of COVID-19, countless things I have taken for granted have been cancelled. Among those was the NBA. I, like many others, turned to the league for entertainment, and now that it is gone, can’t wait for a return.

Here are the possible ways in which the NBA season may resume:

  1. Return With no Fans:

A likely NBA return possibility is a return with no fans. As the number of infected people begins to decrease, the caps on social gatherings will likely also gradually be reduced. So, before full-scale sporting events are allowed to resume, the NBA is aiming to hold games without fans in attendance. Though this won’t allow spectators at games, it may actually be overall beneficial for fans, as ESPN is planning to test and add more camera angles and mic up players and coaches. In terms of when this may happen, Adam Silver, the league’s commissioner, claimed that the NBA would meet in May (at the earliest) to discuss a possible return in June (also at the earliest).

  1. March Madness Style Tournament:

NBA player, Spencer Dinwiddie proposed an interesting idea for an NBA return, just after the season was suspended. He posted a tweet reading the following:

This is an unprecedented, but extremely interesting idea. The tournament would certainly help the NBA, as it would bring in views, something the league has been lacking this year and would be a great test for their proposed mid-season tournament, next year. Not only that, but the tournament would be amazing for fans, as it would be sure to provide highly competitive and entertaining basketball – it would more than make up for the missed play. Though this is a stretch, it would be great to see!

  1. Las Vegas:

The NBA is exploring the possibility of holding its entire postseason in Las Vegas, the site of the ‘Summer League.’ A CNBC report speculated that the league would play best of five series’ in the first round and the Finals, with a single game tournament replacing the two rounds in between. Though the NBA is not close to formalizing anything, “nothing is off the table.”

  1. Straight to Playoffs:

A final possibility the NBA is exploring is to resume the season in the playoffs. This could be a problem, however, since teams had between 13 and 16 games left in their schedules. For teams on the brink of making the playoffs, this means that they would be eliminated from contention – the Pelicans, for instance. Sitting just outside of playoff position, the Pelicans have a great chance of qualifying, especially since Zion Williamson (the first overall pick in 2019, and the most promising young player since LeBron James) had just begun his season by averaging 24ppg (missing the beginning of the NBA year because of injury). They also have the league’s easiest schedule until the playoffs and were almost certainly going to secure some wins. For a team like this, those 16 games could drastically change the course of their season, and even franchise. Nevertheless, at this point, any return would be appreciated!

Overall, there are a lot of unique possibilities that fans should look forward to. For now, the NBA has offered a free league pass subscription to all fans, so everyone can catch up on the season, and be ready for the NBA’s return!