IS IT safe to resume the NBA season? Word from the grapevine is that the teams could be asking players to come back to practice sometime in June and thereafter look to resume the season at some point in July.
How? By playing in specific locations---rumored to be Las Vegas or Florida, with no fans in attendance. Orlando’s Walt Disney World Resort has emerged as one of the frontrunners as the venue host if the season is resumed. Of course, that presupposes that testing protocols have been followed stringently.
It seems that the consensus is that majority of the players, coaches and team owners are eager to resume the season, assuming it is safe, but there have been quite a few who have registered their doubts.
Australian NBA star Joe Ingles, who plays for the Utah Jazz, wants to take a wait-and-see approach and has opined that he is not willing to risk his family’s health just so he could go play basketball, while NBA Hall of Famer Shaquille O’Neal has said it would be better to just cancel the whole season and start anew.
Season. Speaking of the season, one of the proposed measures would be to let the teams ranked No. 7 to No. 15 in their conference play for the last playoff spot through an elimination-type mini-tournament. Now this early, we can see how this complicates matters and how this can be characterized as being unfair.
For example, in the Western conference, with Steph Curry and Klay Thompson out, the Golden State Warriors have been horrendous and currently bring up the rear with a record of 15-50. At Nos. 7 and 8 are the Dallas Mavericks and Memphis Grizzlies, with records of 32-33 and 29-37 respectively.
Imagine what would happen if both Klay and Curry are healthy enough to come back by July? The Warriors could potentially win that tournament and qualify for a playoff spot. Take it a step further and imagine if they won the NBA title?
Those teams who had been busting their butts during the regular season would be left shaking their heads because of the aberration that just happened. Whatever happened to basketball meritocracy? Consider also how “tainted” that NBA title would seem to some pundits and fans.
However, if you factor in that the NBA is all about entertainment, then this format rocks.
Teams on the bottom rung would be rejuvenated with the second lease on life which would clearly bring us compelling, action-packed games.
Another element in the equation is how the games will be affected by the fact that no fans are in attendance. This might seem trivial to some but to me this is quite important. Some players thrive in the limelight and just perform better in front of thousands of screaming fans as compared to an empty arena akin to a practice game.
After all, isn’t basketball immortality all about taking that big shot when it matters?
Will Lebron James--who is known for seeking attention and adulation--perform just as well if he nails that last second shot only to be met by a hushed silence?
Last Round. It’s on my niece, Yanna Isabeli Chanco Quijano, who recently celebrated her birthday. Cheers!