We still don’t know when or even if the NBA season will resume, but if it does, the league won’t be short on ideas on how to proceed.
Ben Rohrbach of Yahoo! Sports proposed an idea that would allow each of the teams outside the top-8 a chance to advance to a play-in game.
Rohrbach points to the fact that each team in the league is contractually obligated to play at least 70 games that are televised with their local broadcast partner and this would be the fastest way for the league to honor their end of the bargain.
Here is what Rohrbach wrote:
“July 3-10: Each current lottery team plays a single game against the six others in their respective conferences (at a neutral site). That satisfies 70 games for all 14 teams, save for the Spurs, one of two franchises with only 63 games played. That also gives every team currently still in playoff contention an abbreviated chance to close the gap against its competitors for ninth and 10th place. (For example, the Spurs could move from 12th to 10th simply by beating the New Orleans Pelicans and Sacramento Kings head to head.)”
Under this proposal, the teams that finish No. 9 and No. 10 would play a single-elimination game for the right to square off against the loser of the game between the No. 7 and No. 8 seed.
The Kings are tied with the Portland Trail Blazers and New Orleans Pelicans for the ninth in the Western Conference, 3.5 games behind the No. 8 Memphis Grizzlies, so under Rohrbach’s system, they would have to simply beat out either the Blazers of Pelicans to get into the play-in game.
If the league does somehow resume sooner than expected and decides to finish out the regular season schedule as is, the Kings would have 18 games to make up the 3.5 games on Memphis
Sacramento has an easier strength of remaining schedule than the Grizzlies, but it is harder than both Portland and New Orleans, according to playoffstatus.com, which also gives the Kings a 12% chance to make the playoffs.
The Kings would play the Pelicans twice and the Spurs once over their final 18 games, if the NBA decides to proceed with no changes to the schedule.
The break came at an unfortunate time for Sacramento, because the Kings had won seven of their last 10 games to make up some ground on the teams surrounding them in the standings, putting Sacramento back into the thick of things.
What do you think of Rohrbach’s idea? Do you think that would be a better option for the Kings to end their playoff drought? Or would you rather the league play out the season, if possible?
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