Washington Wizards basketball will return on Friday, July 31, at 4 p.m. The ninth-ranked squad in the East will face the Phoenix Suns at the HP Field House in Orlando, Florida, in the first of its eight seeding games.
Washington will also take on the Brooklyn Nets, Indiana Pacers, Philadelphia 76ers, New Orleans Pelicans, Oklahoma City Thunder, Milwaukee Bucks and Boston Celtics — some of the teams they would have faced just after the season was suspended on March 11.
The Wizards hold the worst record of teams invited to the 22-team event. The top eight teams in each conference were selected, followed by teams that were within six games of the eighth seed in their respective conference. Washington is the only extra team that was selected in the East. After every team plays its eight seeding games, a traditional 16-team playoff tournament will ensue on Aug. 17 and culminate in October. But if the No. 9 seed in either conference finishes within four games of the No. 8 seed, the No. 9 seed will have a chance to steal the No. 8 team’s playoff spot by beating them twice in a row on Aug. 15 and 16.
There will be a maximum of seven games per day in Orlando. Tip-offs will range from noon ET to 9 p.m. ET. Many of these games will be broadcast on national television across ABC, ESPN, TNT and NBATV. The Wizards’ game against Philadelphia on Aug. 5 at 4 p.m. will air on NBATV.
The NBA season will resume with a doubleheader on TNT on the evening of Thursday, July 30. At 6:30 p.m., Zion Williamson and the Pelicans will take on the Utah Jazz before Kawhi Leonard, Paul George and the LA Clippers battle LeBron James, Anthony Davis and the Los Angeles Lakers at 9 p.m.
However, the spread of COVID-19 continues to be a problem all over the country. Many NCAA football teams that have reported to training camp have reported outbreaks of the virus on their campuses. Of 302 NBA players who were tested by their teams on Tuesday, 16 tested positive, according to Marc Stein of the New York Times.
The NBA will be housing players in three resort hotels at Walt Disney World: The Gran Destino Tower, The Grand Floridian and the Yacht Club, per Shams Charania. Teams were placed in each hotel based on seeding. The Wizards will be staying at the Yacht Club along with the Pelicans, Suns, Portland Trail Blazers, Sacramento Kings and San Antonio Spurs.
All games will be played at ESPN Wide World of Sports, a sprawling 220-acre complex with a plethora of facilities for basketball, baseball, competitive cheer, soccer and more. It has three arenas where games will be played: HP Field House, The Arena and Visa Center. The latter of the three will be used primarily as a practice facility.
“My ultimate conclusion is that we can’t outrun the virus, and that this is what we’re going to be living with for the foreseeable future, which is why we designed the campus the way we did,” NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said on a conference call with reporters on Friday afternoon, according to Stein. “While it’s not impermeable, we are in essence protected from cases around us — at least that’s the model. For those reasons, we’re still very comfortable being in Orlando.”
On July 7, NBA players will begin arriving at the Walt Disney World complex for the return of a season like no other in its history.