Undoubtedly you’ve heard about the postponement of the NBA and all other sporting leagues, professional and collegiate. The Milwaukee Bucks got two games in before the postponement. I also want to offer some insight to what the future holds.
Sunday @ Phoenix
The Bucks were playing without MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo who had an MRI on his knee stemming from an awkward landing in Friday’s game against the Lakers. While the MRI revealed nothing too serious, the Suns shooting was very serious. The Suns started the game by putting up 47 points in the 1st quarter and didn’t look back, winning the game 140-131. One of the lone bright spots for the Bucks was 39 points from Khris Middleton. Former Sun Eric Bledsoe added 28 in Giannis’ absence.
Monday @ Denver
Wesley Matthews was the only regular starter to play in Monday’s game in Denver. Coach Mike Budenholzer rested Eric Bledsoe, Khris Middleton and Brook Lopez in addition to Giannis being out with his knee sprain. With health taking the front seat to the game after back to back losses for the first time this season, the Bucks fell 109-95 to the Nuggets. Kyle Korver had 23 points, but the Bucks had trouble finding reliable scoring from others. The Nuggets had six players in double figures led by Jamal Muray with 21.
Now we get into the hard stuff. The NBA is postponed for at minimum 30 days, as confirmed by league commissioner Adam Silver, due to the coronavirus. But what does that mean exactly? Right now it means no organized practices, meetings, or workouts for teams. Players must check in with their team physicians/trainers daily and are strongly urged to stay in their homes within their teams market area. The league says the restart of the season will be delayed two further weeks after a player tests positive.
Two players from the Utah Jazz, Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell, tested positive for the coronavirus. Five teams recently facing Utah, the Cavaliers, Knicks, Raptors, Pistons and Celtics, are self quarantining. Unfortunately, if you look at teams that have recently played those five teams, you can see a tree of teams possibly coming in contact with players who have come into contact with the aforementioned Jazz players. That covers basically the entire league.
Where do we go from here?
Mavericks owner Mark Cuban has been one of the most active voices around the league since the postponement, offering both solutions to his employees and ideas for when the league is ready to restart. Cuban has a plan in place to help employees working around his team to help them with the impact that the postponement will have. We have to respect him for that.
Cuban has also been vocal about what he thinks should go into restarting the league when it’s ready again. The NBA and Commissioner Silver have been toying with ideas in regards to changing the NBA schedule for a couple years. Whether it be moving the season start back, shortening the season, or somehow incorporating in season tournaments. Mark Cuban has stated he could see the rest of the regular season trimmed to 7-10 games and the playoffs end sometime in August.
Lemonade out of lemons?
This is where I think the NBA has an opportunity to find out something potentially very valuable to its future. Discussions about pushing the season back to December-August instead of October-June fizzled due to less TV usage in summer months.
Right now the NBA overlaps with basically the entire NHL season, 2/3 of the NFL season and the first three months of the MLB season. Not to mention college football and basketball. If the NBA decided to move the season back just a couple months, it could cut down on a lot of that overlap. Holding this years playoffs in July and August could give the league some valuable insight into whether or not it would be a viable and lucrative option going forward. The league would be prepared to do so starting with the 2020-21 season by pushing everything back with the postponement.
Insider Brian Windhorst reported that the league is asking teams to look into arena availability July. I think when the league resumes, they should cancel the remaining regular season games and begin with playoffs. We’ll have to wait and see.
Unfortunately, we cant get to ahead of ourselves waiting for basketball to return. The most important thing right now is the health and safety of players, refs, owners, employees, fans and all others. Bucks MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo hit the nail on the head when he said “Basketball becomes secondary. Take care of yourselves and your family. Wash your hands often.” It sucks losing sports for the time being, I know, a lot of my favorite teams had promising short term futures. Be it the Bucks, Badgers, Admirals, Predators or Brewers getting ready to start. The important things to remember is we’re people first. Additionally, athletes are people before they’re entertainers.
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