Daryl Morey Jokes Conference-Less Playoffs 'Huge Advantage' for RocketsMay 28, 2020
The NBA is reportedly working out protocols to restart the 2019-20 season during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic:
The Ringer's Kevin O'Connor dove into what a "conference-less" bracket a la the World Cup would look like after the league restarts, and Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey joked he was "in favor" of the idea and sees it as "a HUGE advantage" for the Rockets:
The 40-24 Rockets were seeded sixth in the Western Conference when the COVID-19 hiatus was enacted March 12. The 53-12 Milwaukee Bucks, 49-14 Los Angeles Lakers, 46-18 Toronto Raptors and 43-21 Boston Celtics were the only teams to have clinched a playoff berth.
However, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski and Ramona Shelburne, the league "has yet to formally rule out" the possibility of all 30 teams returning under a play-in tournament structure:
"There is a playoffs-plus idea that includes 20 to 24 teams, with the NBA including more teams from the Western Conference than the Eastern Conference, sources said. The NBA is considering play-in possibilities with teams like New Orleans, Portland, San Antonio and Sacramento vying for the postseason, sources said."
While the league appears to be nearing a return to play plan, there is not expected to be a resolution by the end of this week:
Adrian Wojnarowski @wojespn
While NBA’s Board of Governors meet with Adam Silver on Friday, there’s no current expectation for a decision on a finalized return-to-play plan to emerge from the session, sources tell ESPN. Talks on incorporating the three most serious plans remain ongoing with NBPA and teams.
If and when the NBA returns, the Rockets will take any advantage they can get given how the last few campaigns have ended. Houston has made the postseason every year since 2013 but has lost twice each in the Western Conference Finals (2015, 2018) and conference semifinals ('17, '19).