As the NBA approaches a return to play by mid-to-late June, the league is still unclear on determining what stage of the season they plan to resume in.
In fact, ESPN reporter Brian Windhorst stated that the NBA has three proposals in mind when it comes to commencing play:
“They [NBA] have three different working plans right now,” said Windhorst. “One plan for if all 30 teams comeback, one plan for if it’s just the playoff teams, and one plan for it something in between, some sort of idea where there could be a play-in structure for teams outside the playoffs right now.”
Regardless of whichever plan moves on, I’m sure basketball fans are happy to once again watch the NBA. However, each method contains a positive and negative for every team in the league, including the Miami Heat.
I decided to determine both the advantages and disadvantages the three plans grasp.
Plan 1: All 30 Teams Return
Sitting 2.5 games behind the Boston Celtics, Miami has the opportunity to jump one or two spots in the Eastern Conference standings, setting them up to face the Orlando Magic or Brooklyn Nets. At the same time, Meyers Leonard and Tyler Herro will both get a chance to return with no pressure from their sustained injuries. Andre Iguodala, Jae Crowder and Solomon Hill can continue to adapt to the Heat culture, and both the staff and players will be given reasonable time to regroup after not playing together since March.
Plan one opens the gate for a refresh for the entire NBA. After not playing together for over three months, the Heat have the chance to regroup a healthy rotation in quest for a championship run. This idea will create better basketball as a whole come playoff time.
At the same time, all teams get to regather, instituting the opportunity for teams who were once not healthy or fatigued the chance to make an electric turnaround. This includes the Indiana Pacers, who is projected to face the Miami Heat in a first round series. Victor Oladipo got more time to rest his season-ending quad injury he suffered last year, and so does Malcolm Brogdon, who sustained a hip injury before the leagues hiatus which would have kept him out indefinitely.
While Miami is just one win away from clinching a playoff berth, resuming the season could drop their seeding, depending on how their performance is for the remaining regular season games. We could see a Heat team possibly drop to sixth place if Indiana and the Philadelphia 76ers get settled quicker then Miami.
Plan 2: Start The Playoffs
Under Plan 2, Miami wont suffer from possibly dropping from their respective seed. Instead, they play a Pacers squad that they’ve defeated twice and haven’t lost to this season. Although Leonard and Herro wont get time to play in the regular season, they both are healthy to compete, meaning that the Heat are still all in for a title run.
As for the fans, there’s no more watching mediocre teams compete, it’s just the top 16 squads with one goal in mind: NBA championship.
Experience will take a toll for this young Heat squad. With key players like Bam Adebayo, Tyler Herro, Kendrick Nunn, and Duncan Robinson holding little to no playoff experience on their resume, pressure will be on them to succeed.
Even scarier, Miami won’t have home-court advantage on their, as the NBA is expected to resume at Disney’s ESPN World of Sports Complex. For a team with a 27-5 record at home and 14-19 record on the road, this structure could create a tense scenario for the Heat.
Plan 3: Play-In Structure For Non Playoff Teams
NBA fans will have the chance to watch even more competitive basketball, as teams who haven’t clinched a spot in the playoffs will be forced to treat those games as if it were a win-or-go-home battle.
Although full details of the plan have yet to released, this would be a great opening for the resuming of the 2019-20 season.
This a total disadvantage for the Miami Heat and other teams who were nearing a playoff berth before the season was put on hold. For Miami to be forced to compete in a play-in structure because they were one game away from being a playoff squad won’t receive great reviews from Heat fans.
Along with that, Miami will have to treat those games as must-wins, meaning that they could potentially suffer from injury or fatigue before the playoffs even start. Although its a great idea for seven to eight seeds, the Heat have done enough of a job this season to be forced into a scenario like this.
Time will tell what the future of this season holds. The league looks to arrange a plan to display for next Friday’s Board of Governor’s meeting, a call that’ll provide franchise owners additional details on a timetable and plan to continue the season.