As the NBA looks to resume the 2019-20 season, the Toronto Raptors could benefit from an altered playoff format if the league gives the green light.
One thing we know so far about the NBA’s plan to get players back on the court is that it looks like the Toronto Raptors will have to travel south of the border to finish their season.
With the increasing likelihood of the NBA using Disney World in Orlando, Fla., as the hub to play the rest of its season, Toronto will probably look to take their training camp there too. According to Shams Charania, the Raptors would prefer to have their players travel in the U.S. rather than return to Toronto because of Canada’s COVID-19 travel restrictions.
Since any person who travels ti Canada has to self-quarantine for 14 days, the Raptors would essentially lose 14 days of preparation which isn’t an ideal scenario considering the NBA probably wants to start their return to play plan in June.
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Now the real question that still has to be answered is whether the NBA tries to play out the regular season or goes straight into the playoffs. ESPN’s Brian Windhorst reports that the league prefers to forgo the rest of the regular season for a couple of reasons.
An obvious one is having fewer players involved which lessen the risk of having the coronavirus spread and limits the cost for tests needed to be conducted. The other reason is to try to avoid any impact on next season by having this season end too late.
Now Windhorst says the NBA will also be looking to go with a 16-team playoff format where the two conferences get combined to create one large pool.
"“I really think there’s a good chance this is only going to be a 16-team playoff,” Windhorst said on ESPN’s Get Up. “If that is the case, it opens up the possibility for something that Adam Silver has long wanted, which is to seed one through 16 in the post-season and go that route.”"
What this essentially does is create some interesting playoff matchups that we normally wouldn’t see. Not only that but the league would also use a bracket system if they did not reseed after each round.
Getting the Memphis Grizzlies under this format wouldn’t be the worst thing for the Raptors considering they are the more experienced group. Also getting a team featuring former Raptor Jonas Valanciunas, Ja Morant, along with Canadians Dillon Brooks and Brandon Clarke would be a fun first-round series.
The real benefit comes in the second round and third rounds since the Raptors would avoid both the Milwaukee Bucks and Boston Celtics. The Raptors when fully healthy can go toe-to-toe against the Denver Nuggets or Indiana Pacers in the second round and while getting the Los Angeles Lakers in the third round would be no walk in the park, their only meeting this season, Toronto was able to get the win despite missing Kyle Lowry and Serge Ibaka.
There still a lot of work to be done before we can get too excited about any of these possibilities it will have to be agreed upon. Some teams might not like the idea of going with a bracket-style playoff format or have one large pool.
What do you think about the proposed playoff format? Do you think it benefits the Raptors? Let us know in the comments below.