Ladies and gentlemen, the moment we’ve all been waiting for… the NBA is BACK!
Hearing this news from Adrian Wojnarowski is the equivalent to waking up on Christmas Day and finding the best gifts ever under your tree for basketball fans. It’s been 84 days since the last NBA game was played. On March 11, it all hit the fan when Rudy Gobert tested positive for the coronavirus, which gave the NBA no choice but to suspend the rest of the season.
Almost three months later, we have officially learned that the NBA intends to return by July 31, but things will be a little different. 22 teams will return; 13 from the Western Conference and 9 from the Eastern Conference. These teams will play out eight more regular-season games to determine playoff seeding. To make things more interesting, there will be a play-in tournament if the 9th seed is fewer than four games behind the 8th seed. If not, then the 8th seed makes the playoffs.
There hasn’t been clarity if the NBA will do the standard playoff format that we’re used to or changing it to a 1-16 seeding format. I’m sure we’ll get the answer to that after the vote is completed tomorrow. Regardless, just knowing that the NBA is officially coming back after so much uncertainty over the past few months is fantastic.
It’ll be strange having no fans in attendance, but this will bring a whole new aspect to the game. We’ll be able to hear players more clearly, and the intensity will be sky-high. This will be different, but a good different. If it means we get basketball back, then so be it.
The countdown officially begins. July 31 is the target date to return, and that’s the date that has a big circle around it on my calendar. I’m not just excited for the Celtics to come back, but I’m excited to just have NBA basketball back in my life. I know I’m speaking for basically every basketball fan when I say that.
…And of course, I have to say I CAN’T WAIT to see Jayson Tatum in the playoffs. He was on a tear before the season was suspended, and although he might not pick up where he left off right away, he’ll have eight regular-season games to shake the rust off.
Since January 11, Jayson Tatum is averaging 27.9 PPG (48.8 FG%, 45.5 3FG%), 7.3 RPG, 3.1 APG, 1.5 SPG, and 1.0 BPG. I’m not saying he’ll come back and start dropping 30 every night, but come playoff time, watch out.
The NBA is back, and I couldn’t be more excited, and you should be too. This is a big time for sports as a whole, and I applaud NBA Commissioner Adam Silver for all the work he’s put in the past few months and weeks especially, to make this all happen. Now that everything is (almost) set, it’s time to get back to work.
Photo: Stacy Revere/Getty Images