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Go straight to playoffs? Play-in tournament? Regular season? NBA reportedly polls GMS

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Is the risk of bringing all 30 NBA teams into the “bubble”/campus to restart games worth the reward of five to 10 regular season games? Is it better to just admit this is an unprecedented situation, tell teams sorry, and jump straight to the playoffs? What about a play-in tournament that would give seeds nine and 10 (and maybe 11 and 12) a chance to make the playoffs?

The NBA still has all those options on the table as it moves toward a decision on restarting the season, which will take place in Orlando. Now the league has asked its GMs what they think in a survey, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic.

GMs then received the survey late Friday night, which included polling on whether the NBA should do a play-in tournament, the preferred number of teams to enter the playing site, the preferred numbers of scrimmage or regular-season games prior to the playoffs and considerations for expanded rosters, sources said.

The options for the GMs to choose from, according to the report:

• Go straight to the playoffs, 16 teams, seven-game series each round.
• A 72- or 76-game regular season, followed by the playoffs (GMs would vote on the number of games, teams have played between 63 and 67 so far).
• A “playoff plus” format of a play-in tournament for the final playoff seed or seeds. GMs were given several options for the number of teams (9 and 10 seeds, add 11 and 12 seeds?) and the format of the tournament.
• How late should the NBA be willing to go with this season, with the range of options being from Labor Day weekend in early September through Nov. 1?

This is a survey, not a vote — the majority do not automatically get their way. Other factors, including the availability of coronavirus testing and how states are doing in decreasing the number of cases, will play a role in determining what’s next, too.

While the league has seemed focused on playing at least a handful of regular season games — getting above 70 games for teams, meeting a requirement with a number of teams’ local broadcasters — it’s hard to see where that risk is worth the reward for the league. To bring all 14 non-playoff teams to Orlando adds about an extra 500 people for a few weeks, increasing the risk to the “bubble.” Plus, what is the motivation for the Warriors to play Stephen Curry and risk injury, or the Trail Blazers with Damian Lillard, or the Pelicans with Zion Williamson? If teams are not going to the playoffs, the costs and risks seem to outweigh the benefits.

If Adam Silver asks teams to come and play five regular season games for the good of the league, they will do it. However, you can be sure some GMs are letting the league know they don’t want to take on these risks.

Report: No second bubble, scrimmages or practices for other eight NBA teams

Bulls guard Coby White vs. Hawks
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The on-again, off-again idea of a second bubble? The on-again, off-again idea of the eight NBA teams not continuing at Disney World even scrimmaging or practicing?

It’s all looking unlikely.

Shams Charania and Sam Amick of The Athletic:

There is growing belief among the NBA’s eight franchises not in Orlando that a second bubble site being built for minicamps and intrasquad scrimmages will not happen, sources tell The Athletic. There is pessimism about in-market minicamps for group workouts happening as well.

“There’s nothing happening,” one GM told The Athletic after a Tuesday call between the eight GMs and league officials. “It’s a shame. It’s a huge detriment to these eight franchises that were left behind.”

I’m so sick of some of these eight teams whining. They’re not playing because they weren’t good enough to qualify for the resumption. Deal with it. Every year, some teams get eliminated before others. This is different in degree, not kind.

Besides, are these eight teams watching the high level of play in the bubble? After a long layoff, teams look energetic and fresh. Long offseasons could give the eight eliminated teams an advantage next season.

Playing basketball safely amid the coronavirus pandemic is costly – both in terms of operational expenses and lifestyle sacrifices for participants. It’s worthwhile for the continuing 22 teams because the revenue being produced by the resumption.

That wouldn’t necessarily be the case for the other eight teams. Maybe there’s value in fulfilling local TV contracts, but the remaining games are a poor product. Scrimmages and practices would be even less marketable. Impending free agents especially have little reason to care about continuing.

I understand why many of the eight teams want to do something. But it’s probably just not worth it.

Memphis’ Jaren Jackson Jr. out for season with torn left meniscus

Jaren Jackson torn meniscus
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Jaren Jackson Jr. scored 22 points and was the best Grizzlies player against the Pelicans on Monday night, showing off his athleticism and touch from three.

He also tore the meniscus in his left knee during the game, the Grizzlies announced Tuesday.

Even with the short offseason, Jackson should be ready to play at the start of next season.

This is a serious blow to the Grizzlies, who are 0-3 in the bubble and now just lost their best player through those three games. He has been the best source of offense for the Grizzlies in the bubble, feasting on defenders who cannot match his speed.

Jackson, a 6’11” big out of Michigan State, averaged 17.4 points and 4.6 rebounds a game this season, shooting 39.4% from three. He’s still developing, but he looks like a classic modern big — can protect the rim, can post up or make plays from the elbow, and can shoot the three — who is developing a strong chemistry with Ja Morant. They could be the cornerstones of the Grizzlies’ future.

First, Jackson has to get healthy.

Watch Devin Booker drain turnaround game-winner to beat Clippers

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Devin Booker is a serious problem.

The Suns All-Star guard scored his 34th and 35th points of the night on a turnaround game-winner at the buzzer= over Paul George — who defended him well. He called game.

Ivica Zubac opened the door for Booker to win it. The Suns had the ball with 31 seconds to go and the Clippers — Kawhi Leonard in particular — defended it well, forcing Ricky Rubio into a difficult, high-arcing shot he missed. Zubac did a good job grabbing the rebound, but then he hurried the outlet pass and Mikal Bridges tipped it, Deandre Ayton grabbed it, and the Suns got to reset and take one more shot.

Devin Booker took the final shot, a game-winner. That man is a problem.

The bubble Suns are now 3-0.

As 19-point underdogs, Nets top Bucks in biggest NBA upset since 1993

Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo and Nets big Donta Hall
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The Nets looked like one of NBA’s the worst continuing teams. They were underwhelming during the regular season, and their roster was decimated entering seeding games. Brooklyn had even more absences against the Bucks today.

No Caris LeVert. No Joe Harris. No Jarrett Allen.

But despite entering the game as 19-point underdogs, the Nets upset the Bucks, 119-116.

David Purdum of ESPN:

Obviously, Milwaukee is way better than Brooklyn overall. But the Bucks didn’t have much incentive to chase a victory. They’ve already all but clinched the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference. Starters Brook Lopez and Wesley Matthews didn’t play. Stars Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton didn’t play in the second half.

That created an opening for the Nets, who blew a 10-point fourth quarter lead then rallied to win.

What they lacked in talent, both teams made up for in effort – and feistiness.

Antetokounmpo was restrained from Brooklyn big Donta Hall after getting knocked down during a second-quarter tussle for a rebound:

That stood out in an eventful game for the Nets.

Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot led Brooklyn with 26 points. Jamal Crawford looked assertive early, but he left the game with a hamstring injury. And Jacque Vaughn got what could be considered a signature victory if the Nets were already favoring keeping him as coach.

Should anyone overreact to a game played under these conditions? No. But for a Brooklyn team overmatched in the bubble, this was at least a feel-good – and historic – moment.