It’s almost the end of April, which means basketball fans have been without their favorite sport for a little less than seven weeks – a lifetime by some accounts. COVID-19 still continues to call the shots, but its power might be beginning to wane and that is leading to some discussion in the NBA about workouts. There is talk that the virus that took down the international sports industry in a matter of minutes could see a resurgence, but everyone is hopeful that this won’t happen.
Tests are now available, a vaccine is said to be in the works and the world is simply smarter, for the most part, at dealing with the pandemic. With MLB brass already exploring ways to get back on the field, other sports leagues are following suit. The NBA is apparently working on a plan that might see some action beginning as early as next week with workouts. We can only be so lucky.
NBA Workouts May Start May 8
According to a statement the NBA sent out to league teams and players yesterday, a plan is in the works that could – strong emphasis needed – see players on the courts by the end of next week. This doesn’t mean that all the hoops action will be back, but it’s at least a step in the right direction. What could be coming would be limited workouts practices that would allow as many as four NBA players in a practice facility at any given time.
That’s about all that would be authorized, for now. No coaches, no assistants, no one but players, practicing their shooting and dribbling, with no practices or scrimmages. When not active on the court, the players will be forced to wear face masks. Medical and physical therapy personnel will be allowed – a good thing, given the amount of downtime that has elapsed – to be around the players, but will have to wear gloves and keep at least 12 feet away from the players. Hopefully, no one ends up needing CPR.
There’s Always A Catch
Of course, the thought of having players back at the game is a wonderful idea. However, there’s a catch. The NBA, for all the power and money it has, doesn’t make all the rules. It is forced to comply with state and local laws regarding shelter-in-place orders and would only authorize activity in those areas where the orders are not active. That sounds good at first, until someone points out CNN’s analysis of the situation. Over 97% of the country falls under those orders. There’s a chance that officials could begin to back away from their lockdown restrictions in the next couple of weeks, but that doesn’t mean that the percentage will suddenly drop to an acceptable level.
With no clear picture emerging about how to complete the current season, the impact could be felt on future NBA action. There’s a chance that at least one or two seasons may need to be shifted in order to make up for lost time, and ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski explains, “They are more willing than ever to delay the start of next season. And part of that reason is that might give them more time next year to be able to have fans in the building. But, next season, the fear of having to start the year in empty arenas. And if they were going to start in their normal time – mid-, late-October – it’s hard to imagine that there would be fans in the stands.”
The NBA Draft Takes Cue From NFL
The NFL Draft was highly successful this year, despite the fact that it was held remotely, with hundreds of connections joining together to carry out the picks. The NBA will hold its draft on June 25, and will follow in the NFL’s footsteps. The event will be held virtually, and sportsbooks will start to prepare more lines soon. There is already some activity up, with Anthony Edwards out of Georgia looking at odds of +100 to be the first pick.
Given that he previously sat at -150, the shift is indicative of an entire change in the rankings. Sports betting fans need to stay tuned and get ready to gamble on one of the few sports activities currently available.