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Should the NBA Adopt a World Cup Playing Format?

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The NBA seems poised to resume its season, likely in Orlando, at Disney World. But what will play look like when it begins again? Sports Illustrated host Robin Lundberg talked with SI writer Ben Pickman and "The Fantasy Exec" Corey Parson about what they want to see from the NBA when games resume. Could the league actually consider a World Cup-style group stage format? Check out their thoughts.

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Robin Lundberg:  It appears the NBA will be resuming play in a bubble site in Orlando. But what Will said play look like? For more, I'm joined by our Ben Pickman and the fantasy exact Corey Parson. Corey, we'll start with you. What do you want to see from the format when the NBA resumes play? 

Corey Parson: Well, listen, I'm kind of open to anything. Obviously, I think the NBA and Adam Silver do a great job of entertaining. But from a basketball standpoint, from a fairness standpoint, I still think there was something to be determined at the back end of the Western Conference, particularly with that eighth seed. The Memphis Grizzlies currently had a three and a half-game lead, but it had a brutal schedule coming up. As a matter of fact, starting on March 12th, the day the game was paused, they would have been in Portland, one of those teams that are chasing them. Then they would have gone to Utah and San Antonio. 

nba season resume coronavirus adam silver

So you see where they could have actually slipped a little bit. Still a very young team. I think teams like the Sacramento Kings Trail Blazers, Grizzlies, the Pelicans, and the Spurs should be in some type of pool to play for those final two play-in spots right there. I also think you can include the 30-win Orlando Magic and Brooklyn Nets in that as well. So I want to see fairness in that. And this way we don't have an asterisk at the end of this season. 

Robin Lundberg: Now, Ben, there are other factors that come into play to the lack of fans, the atmosphere. 

Ben Pickman: Yeah, I mean, I think that's what interests me most about this bubble format is one, the camera angles, and the broadcast angles that we see the games on. I mean, maybe they use more virtual reality technology, which they've used sporadically throughout this regular season, in recent seasons, to help us bring us closer to the action and actually see a different angle of the court. And I'm also interested in the off the court component. What are players doing on their off time and on their off nights? Will we get Instagram live streams of the Denver Nuggets and the Brooklyn Nets playing poker one night? Or will there be karaoke nights where we see two teams facing off and those kinds of escapades? And I'm interested to see the fun in the conversations and the stories we hear of their ofttimes, the kind of reality TV show component of the bubble tournament.

A decision on the NBA's return-to-play plan is not expected this week.

Robin Lundberg: I'm warming up to the World Cup Group stage type of play because if you're ever going to try something new. Why not now? And how exciting would that be? Games all day stakes at play. I mean, maybe it would mess up the regular season a little bit, but we are dealing with unprecedented times here.

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