A cautious start to NBA season, as camps open amid positives
THE FIRST day of NBA training camp is supposed to be accompanied by brimming optimism, a time for players and coaches all taking those first steps toward what they hope is a championship.
It was tempered this year.
The first preseason camps of the coronavirus era opened Tuesday, with teams limited for the first few days to individual sessions with one coach and one player at one basket, all of this starting to happen as the pandemic continues raging and more and more Americans are testing positive — including at least three NBA players in recent days.
“I’m very concerned if we can pull this off,” Philadelphia coach Doc Rivers said.
He probably isn’t alone.
Golden State general manager Bob Myers said two Warriors have tested positive, meaning that club won’t start individual workouts until Wednesday and won’t have a fullscale practice until Monday. Washington coach Scott Brooks said the Wizards have one player who tested positive. And Orlando coach Steve Clifford said Magic center Mo Bamba — who tested positive several months ago — is still “a ways away” from being ready to play again.
“I don’t think this is unexpected,” Myers said. “Kind of proves that the protocols and testing are working. ... That’s all per NBA protocols, which I’m learning a lot about.”
Rivers, noting how the virus is becoming a major issue for college football and the NFL in terms of getting games played, said the effect on an NBA team losing a key player or two for even a short period could essentially wreck a season.
“In football they play once a week and they have 1,000 players, so when you miss three or four players, you can still get away with it,” Rivers said. “If we miss three or four players, we’re in trouble, especially with the amount of games. We’re playing three and four games a week. So, if one of our guys or two of our key guys get the virus and they miss 10 days, 14 days, that can be eight games in a 72-game season.