The Los Angeles Lakers may have just hoisted up the Larry O’Brien trophy, but the new season awaits.
Some players are surprised at how soon the 2020-21 season is beginning, while the NBA has allegedly already worked on a schedule for the season’s tip-off. NBA insider Woj recently tweeted out the working list of major events for the shortened (and accelerated) season, and it looks like the opening night will begin just in time for the holidays, on December 22.
Aside from the season being shortened to just 72 games, the one major difference is the addition of a play-in tournament– an option that looks promising but still needs to be approved by the Board of Governors. It’d be similar to the one-game contest between the Portland Trail Blazers and Memphis Grizzlies for the eighth seed in the Bubble playoffs.
The 7 and 8 seeds will need to win just once to make it to the postseason, while the 9 and 10 seeds have to win twice to stay in the playoffs, with a tentative start of May 17, before the playoffs begin a week later.
If you take a closer look at the leaked schedule, you’ll also notice that while there is an All-Star Break, an All-Star Game may be canceled, which would be another huge shakeup.
Last week, medical professionals around the league were worried that players in the bubble haven’t had an appropriate amount of rest before the rigorous season begins again.
“I’d be more worried about travel, because we saw in the bubble, not having travel really helped guys recover,” said one official intimately involved with player health told ABC. “So I don’t know if it’s actually the amount of games , but it’s just the fact that you’re getting to 2 a.m. in the morning and you’re traveling now — that becomes a bigger issue.”
However, the teams who didn’t qualify for the bubble haven’t touched the hardwood since March.