Teams out of contention returning to action
The overwhelming belief has been that the season would resume in the playoffs, which makes sense considering how roughly 80 percent of the season is already over. So frankly, it’s quite possible that the current playoff standings would have been the same anyways.
But with the league having yet to formalize plans, the possibility exists that the NBA would want to play out the remainder of the games, especially from a profit standpoint, as they league has already lost significant revenue.
This would mean that the Houston Rockets would have 18 games remaining, as their season stopped at the 64-game mark, in which they went 40-24. If this happens, that would mean non-playoff teams such as the Atlanta Hawks and the Golden State Warriors would be forced to complete the duration of their schedule, which would certainly be pointless for those teams.
Van Gundy shared his thoughts on this potential scenario, stating the difficulty of getting non-contending teams to play their best players.
“I understand the plan but I would hate to see our playoffs cheapened by a gimmick to try to interest players who are getting paid huge money to play, to actually compete hard. It would be difficult, I’m not even sure teams would play their best players if they’re completely out of contention.
If you’re New Orleans and you don’t even have a mathematical chance, are you going to play Zion Williamson? I think that there’s a lot to try to decipher.”
The specific example JVG made is spot on, as it pertains to the New Orleans Pelicans and Zion Williamson. Zion has flashed his potential and lived up to the hype he had coming out of Duke, as many believe he should be the Rookie of the Year, although that’s an entirely different conversation.
But Zion has also been either injured or limited most of the year, so if the Pels are forced to play their remaining 18 games, would they even play Zion or would they simply rest him and let him get fully healthy for next season? After all, they’re currently 10th in the Western Conference, so would it be worth the risk for them?
Next: Superstar not wanting to play?