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Memphis Grizzlies and The Return of the NBA: Part 1 - Postseason bound

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What would a season return look like for Memphis?

Los Angeles Lakers v Memphis Grizzlies Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images

It has been two months since the Memphis Grizzlies last took the court. Jared Dudley stirred NBA twitter recently hinting at a possible return window for the league:

Who has any idea if Jared Dudley knows what he is talking about, but the window for return may also coincide with the rumor that Adam Silver is considering pushing the start of the 2021-22 season to December. Were Silver to decide on a December start date for the next season, it may mean that the 2019-2020 season may be finished out in it’s entirety without fans in attendance.

Here is why that matters - 40% of league revenue comes from nightly games across the Association. The NBA, the owners, and the players all want and need this season to be finished out for mostly financial purposes, but also from a competitive standpoint. The current CBAs for all major sports are not constructed with a clause to cover a hiatus such as this.

The decision on when the league returns may come any day now, but the decision to follow will be how to return the league. Should the playoffs start immediately to allow for a normal 7 game series schedule? Should the league finish out the final 15 or 16 games for each team? Should there be a play in tournament for the 8 seed in each conference for all teams 8-15? Should there be a play in tournament for the 8 seed for just the teams within a certain amount of games of that spot? Or, as Kenny Smith suggest on the All The Smoke podcast, have a March Madness style tournament for all 30 teams.

The other remaining question is where? It’s widely believed that the NBA will most likely look to Las Vegas and/or Disney in Orlando, FL to resume play. The issue is the out of conference match ups if the season resumes as-is. It makes more sense to host the Western Conference Playoffs in Vegas and Eastern Conference at Disney, borderline AAU style.

Through this series of Memphis Grizzlies and the return of the NBA, we will explore the different scenarios of basketball being played again and how it effects the Memphis Grizzlies.

NBA STARTS WITH PLAYOFFS AS IS

Coming from an Memphis Grizzlies-based blog site, this option is as biased as they come, but this may also be the most logical and realistic option. It is merely a coincidence that is also the best option for the Memphis Grizzlies as well. Tanking for this extremely poor draft class is ill-advised and really out of the picture at this point. Memphis can finally give Boston that draft pick for Chris Wallace All-Star Jeff Green and this new front office can do their thing the following year.

From a safety standpoint for the league and it’s players, starting with game 1 of the first round of the playoffs makes the most sense. All 8 Western Conference teams would be in Las Vegas and stay at select hotels, only being allowed to go to the arena and back.

This would mean that the Memphis Grizzlies would face the one seed Los Angeles Lakers, in which most people have just said that the Grizzlies would get swept. {Insert Lee Corso gif} NOT SO FAST MY FRIENDS.

The Grizzlies made light work of a fully healthy Lakers team in March, 105-88. Now, would Memphis upset the Lakers in round 1? Probably not. Anthony Davis has proven too much for Jaren Jackson Jr. and LeBron would be in playoff mode, which does include poor free throw shooting, but he is still LeBron.

The season resuming this way does a couple things for Memphis and the league:

1. Playoff revenue is always a great thing, although there will be no fans, the tv revenue is still something.

2. The Rookie of the Year race would be completely over leaving no doubt Ja Morant is the winner.

3. The Grizzlies as a whole would get some needed and deserved national attention. The start of a new dynasty would get it’s share of TV time alongside the former king soon to be out of the league.

Everyone in Memphis would love for this to be the scenario that takes place. However, over the next few days, we will look at less favorable options for Memphis that could see them on the outside looking in.

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