The return of the NBA was supposed to symbolise America’s triumph over the coronavirus but as the virus shows no sign of slowing down in the U.S the NBA has made the decision to return regardless of the rising number of COVID-19 cases. 22 teams will quarantine themselves inside a Disney world bubble in order to restart and finish the season.
They will be electronically tagged and monitored to ensure they do not stray from the complex and adhere to the rules of the quarantine at all times. They will be tested often, undergo daily Covid-19 checks and social distancing rules will still apply inside the quarantine. Players will also have access to “smart rings” which are said to be able to detect the onset of coronavirus up to 72 hours before symptoms appear.
Anyone found to be breaking the rules faces banishment.
Inside the “bubble”
It’s not all bad though. Players will be staying in deluxe hotels for the duration of their stay. The championship contenders will stay at the Gran Destino Tower at Coronado Springs, the middle seeds will stay at the Grand Floridian and the playoff bubble teams will stay at the Yacht Club.
Players will be able to keep themselves entertained with various activities available including golf, fishing, boating and bike riding. They will also have access to yoga instructors, barbers, pedicurists and mental health experts.
Many experts are predicting mental health to be one of the biggest obstacles to players during their time in Disney World. They won’t be able to see their families until at least August 30th and whilst a stay in Disney World may be fun for a while the lack of freedom and daily grind may start to take its toll. It’s expected that many players will drop out before the end of the season.
8 Teams miss out
In order to keep things as safe as possible only the teams with a chance of making a playoff spot have been invited to play. 22 teams in total will enter Disney World, the 16 teams currently sat in play off spots and the 6 teams who are within 6 games of the 8th seed spot.
That leaves 8 NBA teams missing out on a chance to play. The Golden State Warriors, Cleveland Cavalier, Minnesota Timberwolves, Atlanta Hawks, Detroit Pistons, New York Knicks, Chicago Bulls, and the Charlotte Hornets will not be in action this summer. This potentially means these teams face the prospect of their players not playing a competitive game for at least 9 months.
Which players not taking part
Taking part was voluntary and a few players have decided not to go for various reasons. Some star players who won’t be joining their teams include:
- Avery Bradley (L.A Lakers) will not be going due to his six-year-old son’s past struggles with respiratory illnesses.
- Kevin Durant (Brooklyn Nets) was already expected to miss the entire 2019-20 season because of an Achilles injury.
- Kyrie Irving (Brooklyn Nets) has stated he is against restarting the season as it may be a distraction from the Black Lives Matter protests.
- Bojan Bogdanovic (Utah Jazz) underwent wrist surgery in May which ruled him out for the season.
Just like the Premier League and sport pretty much everywhere in the world, the NBA games will take part with no audiences. This will prove a challenge for many star players who feed off the crowd’s energy. NBA games usually have fantastic atmospheres with fans literally sat court side, at times just inches away from the players. So with no fans at all there will be an adjustment.
LeBron James recently stated he would never play unless it was in front of fans however he has since changed his tune and will be one of the players entering Disney World. He chases a 4th NBA championship and his Lakers team are one of the favorites to win at odds of 3.5
The bookies are only really giving three teams a shot at winning overall but with games taking place under such strange circumstances anything could happen.
|Team||Decimal Odds||Fractional Odds||Implied Probability||Player to watch|
|Milwaukee Bucks||3.4||12/5||29.4%||Giannis Antetokounmpo|
|Los Angeles Lakers||3.5||5/2||28.6%||LeBron James|
|Los Angeles Clippers||4.0||3.1||25%||Kawhi Leonard|
|Houston Rockets||12.0||11/1||8.3%||James Harden|
|Boston Celtics||18.0||17/1||5.6%||Jayson Tatum|
|Toronto Raptors||21.0||20/1||4.8%||Pascal Siakam|
The NBA will restart on 30th July.