If and when the NBA resumes, it’s expected to happen at Walt Disney World in Orlando, at neutral sites without fans in attendance. As such, the idea of a playoff series featuring a traditional home and road team will essentially be out the window — besides the home team not benefiting from having its fans in the arena, that team also won’t experience the comfort of being in its home locker room and shooting on familiar rims.
Although the teams at or near the top of each conference will no longer have a traditional home-court advantage in postseason series, those clubs are exploring possible alternatives to getting that extra game on their respective home courts, writes Dave McMenamin of ESPN. According to McMenamin, some of the ideas those teams have discussed are as follows:
- The higher seed being awarded the first possession in the second, third, and fourth quarters.
- The higher seed receiving an extra coach’s challenge.
- The higher seed being able to designate one player who fouls out after seven fouls instead of six.
- The higher seed having the opportunity to transport its actual hardwood home court to Orlando.
According to McMenamin, one of the more off-the-wall ideas discussed would even see the 16 playoff teams conduct a “draft” of Walt Disney World hotels, so the top teams get first choice at where they’ll be staying. Allowing the higher seeds to pick their opponents has also been broached, but is considered unlikely.
As McMenamin details, there are concerns within the NBA that any tweaks could come off as gimmicky or too radical. Additionally, if any plan requires two-thirds approval from the league’s Board of Governors, it may not even get the votes necessary for approval anyway. McMenamin describes those top teams’ efforts to create a home-court advantage as something of a “Hail Mary.”
“I do think the NBA cares about it,” one Eastern Conference executive told ESPN. “(But) I do not think it’s a top priority for them.”