Former Suns GM: 20-Team Proposal "Makes The Most Sense"

As the NBA ponders return-to-play proposals, NBA analyst Ryan McDonough believes one plan stands above the rest

June 01, 2020 - 9:51 am
Adam Silver NBA Commissioner

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As the NBA ponders return-to-play proposals amidst the coronavirus pandemic, former Suns GM and current NBA analyst Ryan McDonough believes one plan stands above the rest.

“I think the 20-team proposal makes the most sense,” McDonough told JR SportBrief. “If you look at the standings in the Eastern Conference, there were eight teams in the 15-team conference that were clearly better than the rest.”

Indeed, the Washington Wizards (24-40) trail the Orlando Magic (30-35) by 5.5 games for the final playoff spot in the East.

“Keep in mind that one of their best players, John Wall, has not played all year,” McDonough said. “Everything I’m hearing is that John Wall would not play if the season were resumed and the Wizards were included in the resumption of the season.”

The Western Conference, meanwhile, was much more congested, as the Trail Blazers (29-37), Pelicans (28-36), Kings (28-36) and Spurs (27-36) were all within striking distance of Memphis (32-33) for the final playoff spot.

“Portland, New Orleans, Sacramento, San Antonio, if they had between 15 and 19 games left in the regular season – all four of those teams were within four games of the 8-spot,” McDonough said. “Some of the teams, especially New Orleans, had a much easier [remaining] schedule. And keep in mind that the Pelicans returned Zion Williamson to play in January and played a lot better since Zion got back in the lineup.”

A 22-team proposal would reportedly include any team within six games of a playoff spot, meaning Washington and Phoenix (26-39) would also be included. McDonough, however, prefers the 20-team plan.

“That one makes the most sense to me,” he said. “Twenty out of 30 teams go: the top eight in the East, the top 12 in the West. My guess is they play enough games so every team finishes at 72 games, and then they can see who the best eight teams are in each playoffs and play a playoff format with seven-game series played out over four rounds.”