Both the NBA and NHL have announced that they will aim to return to action and play their end of season playoffs this summer. There has been much debate around them, the format, the use of neutral venues and much more.
However, what about the winners? Will this season’s playoffs have the same prestige as those in days gone by, and those that we will see for years to come?
Should teams be thought less of because they have been unlucky enough to peak during the coronavirus pandemic, or should we be praising the winners for their ability to get on with the job and win?
These are all fascinating questions, and form what is likely to be a long discussion for many years which will surround the winners of the 2019/20 playoffs in both the NBA and NHL.
Why are These Playoffs Harder?
Teams are going to have to do things that no other playoff winner has ever done before. Firstly, they are going to have to play every game away from their home arena. Not only that but they will be away from family for many weeks playing in the playoffs.
These are tough times that players will not enjoy. The comfort of home and the ability to return to family after a hard game is what keeps players going. They won’t have any of that.
Then there is the fitness issue. While players will be fitter than they usually are come playoff time, there will be rust and a weird feeling, this is a time when players are on the beach or playing golf.
The process of the playoffs, and what the players are going to be like is new, and certainly much tougher on the players mentally than anything before.
What Makes These Playoffs Easier?
The number of games is certainly a factor here. NHL clubs know that they need to win 16 games to win the playoffs, though that is not going to be needed this season if rounds are curtailed.
The NBA is hoping to play a full playoff schedule, so this won’t affect them.
Something that will affect them, and the NHL, is the break. Players were gearing up for the playoffs back in March, but that is on the back of a long hard season.
It is very common for players to play injured in the playoffs, even if it is just a small niggle. That will still affect some, but those who had injuries prior to the break have had many weeks to recover and get their bodies back up to speed for the playoffs.
There are many factors that make these playoffs different and that is probably the best way to describe them. The games are going to be great, and there will be a real hunger to see action being played out by those all over the world.
You can also expect to see a lot of betting on the games, with a dry period before this for gamblers. Expect the bookmakers to want custom too, so they will be offering things such as free bets and other betting offers for players to use.
Whether it is a best of five or best of seven, neutral venue or anything else, people will be glad that hockey and basketball are back. The days of watching, betting on and enjoying sport are back.
Yes, there are reasons why this season’s playoffs will be a little easier, but many negatives that make them harder too. Perhaps the best way to address the winners in years to come is say they did it under different circumstances, rather than easier or harder ones.
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