The return of the 2019-2020 NBA season is potentially coming this summer. After spending nearly three months on a hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Philadelphia 76ers could be back in action as early as July. After a Board of Governors call that took place on Friday afternoon, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver is reportedly eyeing July 31st as the date of a potential restart.
Now, if and when the restart happens, which direction will the NBA go? Will the league attempt to finish as much of the regular season as possible? Or is the reboot going to skip straight to playoffs? While none of the above options is a sure thing just yet, it seems that teams are leaning more towards the latter, which is no surprise.
Based on a league-wide vote, 16 of 30 NBA General Managers prefer to skip straight to playoffs, and have eight teams from each conference compete in a standard NBA Playoff format, according to Tim Bontemps of ESPN. If that's the case, the sixth-seeded 76ers will open the playoffs against the third-seeded Boston Celtics.
While the league discussed attempting to salvage as much of the regular season as possible, a late July return makes it difficult to conclude the season and have the NBA draft and free agency period all before October 1st. According to a report on Friday afternoon, many teams preferred the season to conclude before then.
If the NBA does decide to add an additional handful of regular-season games before skipping straight to the playoffs, the 76ers could have the opportunity to move up in the Eastern Conference rankings. However, they might be better off facing the Boston Celtics in the first round, considering the Sixers defeated them three out of four times this year.
Justin Grasso covers the Philadelphia 76ers for Sports Illustrated. You can follow him on Twitter: @JGrasso_