Adam Silver has long expressed his wish for the NBA to move to a playoff system free of conference restrictions. The restart plan in Orlando, which is growing in momentum, seems to have this idea in mind, and with the potential reseeding of the NBA's 16 playoff teams would come some incredibly exciting matchups.
Welp, time to get our hopes up and examine the most intriguing ones!
6. Lakers (2) vs Nets (15)
Slow your roll on hoping to see Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant make a triumphant return to push the 15th-seeded Nets past the Lakers. Multiple signs point to it not happening, but this would be a fun series nonetheless. The Nets are a playoff-worthy team, even without those two stars, but the firing of coach Kenny Atkinson, considering his successes, has put a microscope on this bizarre outfit. I highly doubt they will put up much of a fight against LeBron, AD and the Lakers, but this matchup has to make the list simply because of the possibility either Kyrie or Durant steps onto the court again.
5. Raptors (3) vs Grizzlies (14)
Am I the only one that has serious doubts about the Raptors? I know that they would enter the reseeded playoffs as a three seed with arguably the league's most improved player in Pascal Siakam leading the charge, but it still seems like there is a championship piece missing. Ja Morant, the clear Rookie of the Year, has also done incredible things in Memphis, and they will definitely compete against Toronto on a high level. This series won't be easy for the Raptors, and you can't rule out a few wins for Memphis, even if an upset may end up out of reach.
4. Heat (8) vs Thunder (9)
What a grudge match this would be. The Heat and Thunder are two teams that people have continually looked down upon this year, but they have become hot playoff contenders. Miami is a young, gritty team that could very well make a deep run in the postseason behind Jimmy Butler, while the Thunder have one of the most interesting rosters in the league that is somehow a perfect mixture with the veteran leadership of Chris Paul and Steven Adams. While I'd expect Miami to pull away in the end, this series is a test of which of these surprising teams is the real deal.
3. Jazz (7) vs Rockets (10)
How can you not love this matchup? Two of the West's best squaring off in the first round of the playoffs. It may be a bit surprising the Jazz sit in a far better seed than Houston, but for good reason. Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell are a dominant duo with some very talented accompanying pieces like floor general Ricky Rubio and sharpshooter Joe Ingles. Harden and Westbrook form a tall adversary, though, that will make this series a dogfight to the end. Not to mention it will be interesting to see how Gobert and Mitchell interact with each other following the rifts caused by the coronavirus, or if Harden is as strong as he used to be. Keep in mind, though, that Utah's 20-point scorer Bojan Bogdanovic has been lost for the season since the NBA paused.
2. Clippers (4) vs Mavericks (13)
Now this would be fun. Fans across the league cannot take their eyes off Luka Doncic, and this Mavericks team still has not proven whether they're a legitimate contender. They would get the perfect test in the first round against Kawhi Leonard, Paul George, and the Clippers. Do we see upset potential here? Not necessarily, but the Mavericks are too intriguing of a possibility to call this series a lopsided one. You know you'd be tuned into every minute of this matchup to see if the Mavs could make some noise in the playoffs.
1. Celtics (5) vs 76ers (12)
The most competitive matchup of the first round without question would be the Celtics vs the 76ers. First round? This could be a Conference Finals matchup. Philaldephia sitting as the 12 seed with so much talent is a bit shocking, and they would have a tough task in downing the Celtics. Kemba Walker has been a breath of fresh air for Boston, Jayson Tatum is budding into a star, and Gordon Hayward is healthy again. This hiatus may have been exactly what Philly needed, though, to get Embiid healthy and put behind their problems of this past, making this series a difficult one to predict, and the most intriguing of the league's possible reseeded playoff format.