Who Will Be The No. 8 Seed In The NBA East Playoffs?
The NBA season is scheduled to resume on July 31 in Orlando with 22 teams gathered in one area to finish the regular season and then move into the playoffs. The teams will play out eight regular season games and then go to the traditional playoffs.
The eighth seed is up for grabs in both conferences. Which team is likely to sneak and claim the final spot in the East?
The Nets are currently in seventh place at 30-34. They are half a game ahead of the eight-place Orlando Magic. Why are the Nets favored to fall from seven to eight? It’s really very simple: Kyrie Irving will not play when the season resumes and any thoughts of Kevin Durant returning are off the table too. Irving will rehabilitate and try to prepare for the 2021 season, which is tentatively scheduled to begin on December 1, 2020. The fact that the NBA wants to start the 2021 season very shortly after the end of the 2020 season – in early October – likely played a role in helping Kyrie to shut everything down now and make certain he can be ready by December.
Given that the Nets would have to play the Milwaukee Bucks or the Toronto Raptors in the first round, Kyrie probably does have a point: There is no sense in overextending his body for a very low-percentage bid at a title. Better to gear up for next season, when Kevin Durant should also be healthy in Brooklyn, and the Nets can make a real run. The Nets, without Kyrie and KD, should fall to No. 8.
The Magic are in eighth place at 30-35, half a game behind the Nets. Obviously, with Kyrie out, Orlando should feel very good about its chances of rising to seventh place and avoiding the Bucks in the first round. It would be a surprise if Orlando did not rise to seventh.
The Wizards are 24-40, six games behind the Nets for seventh and 5.5 games behind the Magic for eighth. Here is what Wizard fans need to know about their team’s situation:
There will be eight games played before the playoffs. Teams will wind up playing fewer than 82 games, the normal length of a regular season. They will also play unequal numbers of games.
If the team with the eighth-best record in a conference is behind by five or more games, four games ahead of the team with the ninth-best record, then we’re not going to see a play-in tournament. The final playoff berth would simply go to the team with the eighth-best record in the conference.
If the team with the eighth-best record in its conference is four games or fewer ahead of the team with the ninth-best record in the same conference, there would be a play-in tournament. It would be a best-of-two series: In that case, the team that is ninth in the standings would have to win two head-to-head matchups to take over the No. 8 spot.
Therefore, Washington has to make up at least two games in the eight upcoming provisional games. The Wizards would need to force that two-game playoff and win both games to advance. The odds are low but it’s the East, so who knows what happens at the bottom of the standings here.