NBA fans have been waiting all of quarantine for the league to announce its return. There have been several rumors circulating saying the league would only play the playoffs, or that the season wouldn’t occur at all. However, on June 3rd, the league announced its official return, and the details of it.
The return of the NBA is unlike anything we’ve ever seen before. There are a total of 22 teams playing, 13 from the Western Conference, and 9 from the Eastern Conference. There are going to be a total of 8 regular season games played, and then the playoffs will begin. The reason behind so many western teams being invited back is because of how tight the playoff race is in that conference. The west is known for being a more competitive conference, and this decision solidified its stature.
After the regular season ends, the top 8 teams from each respective conference will be in the playoffs. While the playoffs will occur normally as usual, it is weird to see this 22-team format be played. “I think it’s better than having no season at all,” said Mason Paulen (’20). “Although, I am in fact upset that the Hornets didn’t make it.”
The teams returning for the east are the Bucks, Raptors, Celtics, Heat, Pacers, Nets, 76ers, Magic, and the Wizards. The teams returning for the west are the Lakers, Clippers, Nuggets, Jazz, Thunder, Rockets, Mavericks, Grizzlies, Blazers, Pelicans, Kings, Spurs, and the Suns. Top teams such as the Lakers, Clippers, and Bucks have ambitions to win the championship, while smaller teams such as the Grizzlies, Wizards, and Pelicans just want to make the playoffs. The west has many more teams because the battle for the final seed in that conference is much closer than that in the east. That race will be much more intense than the East’s, since there’s only a couple teams battling for the 8th seed.
With all of this being said, this year’s playoffs will be crazier than ever before. It’ll be interesting to see which players improved over this four month period, as well as those that get worse. All in all, the return of the NBA will help the world feel like a normal place, and it will give sports fans something to look forward to.