Brian Windhorst: “One of the things I’ve been hearing as I’ve talked to people in the league is the league is going to set up this playoff plan to make sure Zion Williamson is involved… There are a number of different reasons why the league would want to have 20 or 24 teams, and a number of reason to get extra games, but most of those scenarios are having Zion in the postseason.” (Full Video Above)
ESPN NBA insider Brian Windhorst is reporting that the NBA’s postseason proposals are centering around adding additional teams to the playoff mix for a format that would be 20 or 24 teams in an effort to get Zion Williamson’s New Orleans Pelicans into the bracket.
The Pelicans are currently in 10th place in the Western Conference, and 8 games under .500, but boast one the league’s biggest stars in Zion, who besides LeBron James, is probably the NBA’s most influential driver of television ratings.
Despite the Pelicans being one of the NBA's losingest franchises of the decade, the 2019/2020 television calendar had Zion and the Pelicans slated to be on primetime TV 30 times this season.
New Orleans is 3.5 games back of the Memphis Grizzlies for the 8-seed, but the league could potentially be brainstorming ways to take the top 10 or 12 teams from each conference instead of the usual eight.
The most publicized proposal plans have been a 16-team bracket where every team, regardless of conference affiliation, is seeded together in the same bracket by their win/loss record, and even a scenario in which the NBA adopts a FIFA World Cup type playoff picture that includes a round-robin ‘Group Stage’ to then advance to a knockout round.
With Zion’s Pelicans becoming a media darling and national ratings dynamo, a potential scenario of Zion in the postseason could reinvigorate a 2019/2020 season sullied by the coronavirus pandemic.