NBA Transitions to MLB-Style Series

To combat the spread of Covid-19 the NBA has implemented MLB-style series for the 2020-2021 regular series.



The San Antonio Spurs play the Chicago Bulls at the AT&T Center in San Antonio.

After a year of compromises caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the NBA has stumbled onto structural changes that may be here to stay. Similar to the play-in playoff game introduced last spring during the NBA bubble, this season’s MLB-style series has quickly gained popularity.

To combat the spread of COVID-19, the NBA set out to limit travel by having mini-series where teams play each other in back-to-back games in one team’s home arena. This is a drastic change from previous seasons, in which back-to-back games against the same team, let alone in the same arena, were extremely rare.

While the change may be drastic, it is one for the better. Team travel will be reduced by 25%, which allows players more time to rest. The less time spent traveling, the more time players can spend recuperating after physically demanding games.

The change is also beneficial from a competitive perspective. Players will be seeing each other in back-to-back games, giving some the chance to rebound if they had a poor performance in the first matchup. This extends to teams overall, giving them another crack at their opponent if they lost the previous night.

This creates exhilarating storylines for the media and fans watching at home. Take the Golden State Warriors and the Dallas Mavericks back-to-back matchup, for example. In their first meeting, the Mavericks suffered their worst blowout loss of the season, losing by 31 points. This was largely due to a strong performance by the Warriors supporting cast, capped off by Kelly Oubre Jr.’s career-high 40 point game. In the second game of the back-to-back series, the Mavericks pulled off a nail-biting victory, winning by only two points. This bounce-back win featured dueling stars Stephen Curry of the Warriors and Luka Doncic of the Mavericks scoring 57 and 42 points respectively.

This gave Dallas fans the chance to watch their team immediately right the wrongs of the previous outing. Watching your team win a nail-biter after suffering the worst loss of the season to the same team is great entertainment. Fans can look forward to an exciting second matchup immediately after watching a close game a few days prior. The storylines that will be produced will captivate NBA fans while they wait for the next game to begin.

The NBA’s MLB-style series’ future in the league is uncertain, yet it may be the next step in the NBA’s evolution.