The Pelicans Playoff Window Might Be Closed Very Soon

Pelicans, Grizzlies, Kings, and Spurs fans all go through the same process every morning. First, they take a glance at the standings. Then, they do a little arithmetic to calculate how many games their teams have left before going to their teams schedule page. After that, they head over to the schedule page of the team or teams that they feel threaten them most.

“Memphis is going to lose at least 10 more games,” they say, “So, if we can go 12-6, we will make the playoffs.” They count off the wins and losses, along with the maybe’s and start to get excited about their teams hopes. But I am here to tell you, that you and all the other fans might be doing it wrong. Because, there is a very high likelihood that the NBA won’t feature 82 games this season, and if that is the case, the window to make the top 8 is much smaller than we all think.

The way this is all heading, it is extremely likely that the league will eventually decide to suspend games due to the Coronavirus. Yes, they might try to play games without fans first, but as we have seen around the world, that is only a temporary solution. Eventually, they will decide to shut it down and suspend the season. And once that happens, I can not see a scenario in which they return to play regular season games.

When Kobe Bryant passed, the league decided not to cancel games on that Sunday, in small part because of the logistics of rescheduling all those games. Only one game was suspending – the Lakers vs Clippers matchup – and despite that being a game involving two teams in the same city, it was still a nightmare to reschedule. Three games had to be moved around just to accommodate that game being placed in the middle of a back to back to back for the Lakers.

Let’s say the NBA decides to suspend games ten days from now. Each team will have about 12 games left, meaning that 180 games would have to be rescheduled. 180 arena dates would have to be open. Nearly 500 new flights would have to be booked, hundreds of hotel dates and in city bus transportation. And so on and so on.

The schedule takes weeks, sometimes months, to make in the offseason. Then, teams have months to book their trips, hotels, and on ground transportation once they have those schedules. In a scenario in which the NBA suspends the season, how much notice would they be able to give schedule makers to remake the remaining schedule? And once that is done, how long would teams have to arrange all the transportation and hotels?

It would be a logistical nightmare. You know what wouldn’t be — Resuming by going directly to the playoffs, with the 8 seeds being whatever they were at the time of the suspension. Now, you have only 16 teams involved and they each are only traveling to one other city. Boom, logistics nightmare solved. And that is what I would bet on happening if, and when, the NBA decides to suspend the regular season.

And if that is the case, the Pelicans are racing against a clock that does not include 18 games. They might only have a week or two to catch Memphis. Maybe less. Who knows, this race might already be over. Because, logic states that if the NBA decides to suspend regular season games, the overwhelming likelihood is that is, in effect, ending the regular season.

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