The NBA will be back in July, and the San Antonio Spurs will be one of 22 teams involved in the plan. They’ll get a bit of extra time to prepare and also some more regular-season games to help determine standings. There’s also the possibility of a mini play-in tournament for a playoff spot. That was the early word according to sources ahead of an official conference call and vote by teams on Thursday.
NBA Return Includes 22 Teams, Regular Season, and Playoffs
Based on ESPN’s report, basketball fans will see a total of 22 NBA teams heading to Orlando’s Walt Disney World Resort area to finish out the season. There will be nine teams from the Eastern Conference with the Washington Wizards, currently No. 9 in the standings, getting a chance at a playoff spot.
In the Western Conference, it will be the top eight teams and then five additional teams that all have a shot at getting a final playoff spot. Those teams are the Spurs, New Orleans Pelicans, Sacramento Kings, Portland Trail Blazers, and Phoenix Suns.
Right now, the Memphis Grizzlies are the No. 8 seed in terms of the standings, but only by 3.5 games over the Blazers, Pelicans, and Kings. The Spurs were four games back, while Phoenix was six behind Memphis.
The expectation is there will be eight regular-season games to help determine records. Per ESPN, there is a possible play-in tournament as part of the plan. It would involve the No. 8 and No. 9 teams if the ninth seed finishes within four games of the eighth seed in the regular season.
The Walt Disney World Resort plan will give a site where players and team staff are within a “bubble” to allow for coronavirus testing along with safety protocols.
Teams should begin training at team sites next month. A July 31 date was mentioned as a possible season restart date, with October 12 considered the latest possible date for playoffs to end.
Spurs Championship Odds: San Antonio Amongst Longshot Teams
Even though there is no official schedule for any games, there are updated NBA Championship odds as of Wednesday (June 3). As expected the Los Angeles Lakers remain odds on favorite to win it all at 5 to 2.
Fellow contenders the Milwaukee Bucks and LA Clippers follow at 3 to 1 odds. The Houston Rockets and Boston Celtics each have 16 to 1 odds to round out the top five.
The San Antonio Spurs find themselves amongst longshots. Along with the Washington Wizards and Sacramento Kings, San Antonio has 2000 to 1 odds to win the NBA title. Only the Phoenix Suns are lower with 10,000 to 1 odds.
The Spurs have the coaching experience in their favor, as well as All-Star caliber players DeMar DeRozan and LaMarcus Aldrige. Both players have been involved in multiple playoff battles, giving them veteran leadership with the younger guys.
That said, it should be interesting to see how coach Gregg Popovich and his staff will prepare for this sort of situation. There has already been speculative concern about Popovich, age 71, and Houston’s Mike D’Antoni, age 69. Both coaches are amongst the age group considered more at higher risk for COVID-19.
It’s possible that Popovich stays away from the season restart in Orlando, with assistants Tim Duncan and/or Becky Hammon taking over. That said, one has to think Pop will continue to lend his experience virtually and that can go a long way with his team’s chances. Visit our Spurs news page for more of the latest team and player updates.