ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Zach Lowe reported on Friday that the NBA is expected to share a draft of the second half of the 2020-21 schedule with clubs “as early as this weekend, or likely next week.”
The schedule release is currently delayed due to postponements impacting the Charlotte Hornets and San Antonio Spurs this week. Both of those teams and also the Washington Wizards and Memphis Grizzlies had multiple games called off over the past couple of months due to the Association’s health and safety protocols related to COVID-19.
According to Wojnarowski and Lowe, those postponements coupled with seemingly inevitable future schedule disruptions have resulted in team officials asking what happens if a club can’t finish all 72 planned regular-season games before the start of the playoffs. The league currently doesn’t intend to delay the postseason tournament, which suggests some clubs may fall short of completing 72 contests.
The harsh reality is that none of the four clubs mentioned above are winning the title in July, but the Hornets and Spurs would be playoff teams if the season ended on Friday afternoon. Major League Soccer adopted a points-per-game system to determine playoff places and seedings last fall, but the NBA can just rely on winning percentages.
Thus far, the NFL is the only league out of the North American so-called “top four” to complete a full and uninterrupted season on time amid the coronavirus pandemic.