The NBA has approved a plan to resume play and the San Antonio Spurs are one of the 22 teams that made the cut. While we don’t know all the details yet, the season is expected to restart on July 31 at the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida. While the season getting cancelled completely might have been the optimal outcome for the Spurs, the NBA’s plan to restart the 2019-20 season looks to be really, really good from San Antonio’s perspective.
If the season had been cancelled, the Spurs could have continued their record-tying streak of 22 straight seasons without missing the playoffs while also getting a lottery pick in the 2020 NBA Draft. Although the plan being discussed by the NBA isn’t quite that appealing for Spurs fans, there’s a whole lot to like about it.
The Spurs Have a Real Chance of Extending the Playoff Streak
It won’t be easy but if San Antonio can get hot, they could advance to the postseason. Once the NBA season resumes, all teams will play eight regular season games. If the ninth seed in the Western Conference is within four games of the eighth seed, those two teams will battle for the last playoff spot. For the ninth seed to get the playoff nod, they would need to beat the eighth seed two games in a row after the end of the regular season.
As it stands, the Spurs at 27-36 are four games behind the eighth seeded Memphis Grizzlies. It will likely require the Spurs to win six of their regular season games in order to give themselves a shot at the playoffs. That’s obviously unlikely given how much the Spurs have struggled this season but it’s within the realm of possibilities.
How will the NBA determine the remaining regular season schedule for each team? The answer to that question could determine the fate of the teams at the bottom of the West. If the matchups are selected randomly, playoff hopes could be heavily influenced by the luck of the draw.
San Antonio’s Lottery Balls to Remain Intact
While the good guys still being alive for the postseason will help make things more interesting for fans of the team, Spurs fans should be really happy about San Antonio’s draft outlook. According to the NBA press release, lottery odds will be determined based on the March 11 standings.
As a result, the Spurs can safely go all out to try to make the playoffs without hurting their place in the lottery. Even if San Antonio leapfrogs a few teams in their quest to advance to the postseason, the standings will revert prior to the order of the draft being determined. That’s great news for Spurs fans.
As you can see, if the eight regular season games had counted when it came time for the draft lottery, the Spurs were much more likely to rise in the standing than to fall further. Even going 5-3 or 4-4 could have conceivably cost the Spurs a few spots in the draft.
Now, if the Spurs miss the playoffs, the worst pick they could end up with in the draft is 11th no matter what happens after NBA play resumes at the end of July. Thus, with no incentive to tank, Spurs fans can root for their team to win without worrying about how each win could damage the team’s future plans.