It is still fairly unclear what form the rest of the 2019-20 NBA season will take once it returns from hiatus due to the novel coronavirus.
While the players on the 16 teams that held spots in the playoff standings prior to the shutdown are surely the most deserving to continue their seasons, there are some whispers about the league trying to manipulate the system in order to get rookie phenom Zion Williamson involved.
The thinking is apparently based on reports that the NBA is considering a scenario in which the top 20 teams return to the court regardless of conference.
“Let me just say how do you get to 20 though?” said Brian Windhorst of ESPN. “Because if you just go by the straight records, because to me, this is what I’ve already heard, alright. I’ve already heard people in this league say this is an elaborate game to get Zion Williamson into this bubble.”
Williamson and his New Orleans Pelicans currently sit at the No. 10 seed in the Western Conference. Windhorst elaborated by saying that the 20-team format would allow Williamson to continue his incredible rookie campaign.
“I’ll tell you one thing: that scenario gets Zion Williamson in,” added Windhorst. “Look, I’ve just heard. … I’m not saying the NBA is going this route, I’m just saying I’ve already heard this scenario that no matter what happens, the cutoff line will be the Pelicans. They’ll be in. It will be the first time in the history of the NBA that the league kicked the ball into the fairway for New Orleans.”
Williamson has only played in 19 games this season due to an injury that kept him out for several months. However, during those 19 games, he averaged a truly impressive 23.6 points, 6.8 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game.
Despite the intrigue, it seems like Williamson actually getting a chance to start his season back up remains less than certain.