The NBA called off two more games because of COVID-related and contact tracing issues on Monday, and a person with knowledge of the situation said the Miami Heat were preparing to be without “at least five” players for the next several days because of possible exposure to the coronavirus.
Monday’s game in Dallas between the Mavericks and the New Orleans Pelicans was postponed by the league, as well as Tuesday’s matchup in Chicago between the Bulls and the Boston Celtics. The league’s general managers were meeting Monday to discuss the league’s current virus situation, with involvement from the National Basketball Players Association. The NBA’s board of governors will meet Tuesday on the topic.
[ad_1] Ja Rule — yes, Ja Rule — spoke for everyone who watched the Pelicans-Jazz matchup Thursday night (WARNING: BAD LANGUAGE BELOW). Why the fuck is Zion on minutes restrictions??? — Ja Rule (@jarule) July 31, 2020 NBA RESTART: Schedule | Playoff bracket | Bubble, explained After re-entering the NBA’s campus following an excused absence and being […]
After re-entering the NBA’s campus following an excused absence and being cleared to play in the restart opener, Pelicans rookie Zion Williamson scored 13 points in just 15 minutes as New Orleans fell to Utah in a tightly contested game. Williamson played the first five minutes of the fourth quarter but never returned after being subbed out with 7:19 left in regulation.
When asked about Williamson sitting on the bench as the Jazz took control of the game, Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry told reporters the 20-year-old was on a minutes restriction.
“Well, of course we wish we could’ve played him down the stretch, but we had used the minutes that were given to us. That’s the way it is. We weren’t going to stick him back out there,” Gentry said. “Our medical people said that we played in the minutes that were allowed [for] us to play him, and we’ll just move on.
“I thought he looked good. I thought he had some good moments, and obviously we’re a much better and a much different basketball team when he’s out on the floor.”
Gentry’s explanation is confusing for a few reasons. First, Yahoo Sports’ Chris Haynes reported prior to tipoff Williamson would play in “short bursts” but noted he wouldn’t necessarily be on a minutes restriction. So was Williamson on a burst plan, a minutes restriction or both?
Second, if Gentry did know Williamson couldn’t play more than approximately 15 minutes, did he not plan to save some of those minutes in case the Pelicans needed Williamson in crunch time? Every “seeding game” matters for the Pels because they are fighting against multiple Western Conference teams for the final playoff spot. If New Orleans’ coaching staff didn’t consider this scenario, then that’s a major error.
And third, what is Williamson’s status right now? Williamson said after the loss he hasn’t suffered any recent medical setbacks and denied he had to sit because of conditioning issues.
“Not even just conditioning, it’s just getting my flow to the game back,” Williamson said. “This is the NBA. These are the best players in the world. You want to feel comfortable. I don’t want to hurt my team more than I help them in a sense.”
Pelicans’ Zion Williamson, kept to 15 minutes in bubble opener, said he hasn’t suffered any medical setbacks & added that sitting during crunch time isn’t solely due to conditioning. “It’s just getting my flow to the game back… I don’t want to hurt my team more than I helped.” pic.twitter.com/uK7FROHrW7
Williamson is the future of the franchise. If there is any risk of him getting seriously hurt, then clearly he shouldn’t play. No reasonable person would question the Pelicans’ decision-making process in that situation.
However, this appears to be more of a communication issue. If the Pels want to make a playoff push, then everyone needs to be on the same page.
Otherwise, Ja Rule (and the rest of us) will keep asking the same question.
[ad_1] For the most part, the bubble situation in Orlando has gone well. There were a few minor hiccups at the start, with a couple of players breaking quarantine protocols for food delivery, but otherwise, the safety precautions put in place to protect the players and other league personnel seem to be working. Several players, […]
Matthew Hinton/Associated PressThe NBA is set to resume the 2019-20 season at the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida, on July 30, but New Orleans Pelicans star Brandon Ingram told reporters Monday he’s “not very confident” the league will actually be able to finish the season amid the COVID-19 pandemic.”This is something that’s never…
“This is something that’s never been done before, and there’s still a lot of question marks,” his teammate Lonzo Ball added, per Doug Mouton of WWL-TV.
There are major question marks heading into the NBA restart, given the recent spike in coronavirus cases around the United States and the complexities of gathering 22 teams to conclude the season, even with those teams quarantined in Orlando and subject to rigorous testing and safety protocols.
While some leagues around the world have had great success minimizing the threat of COVID-19—the English Premier League didn’t have a single positive test in its most recent round of testing—other leagues have already hit major complications.
Most notably, FC Dallasannounced Monday it had been withdrawn from the MLS is Back Tournament after 10 players and one coach tested positive for the coronavirus.
The NBA has had some players withdraw from the return to play, most notably Los Angeles Lakers guard Avery Bradley and Brooklyn Nets center DeAndre Jordan, but no major stars have chosen to sit out at this point.
If major stars do test positive for the coronavirus in Orlando and are forced to miss time, however—especially once the playoffs begin—it will be fascinating to see how the NBA reacts. Namely, will they want to proceed with a postseason devoid of some of the game’s biggest stars?
That’s a hypothetical for now. And for now, players like Ingram are planning to compete for a title in Orlando. But as players like Ingram and Ball demonstrated Monday, there are very real doubts within NBA circles about how—or if—the league’s restart will actually work.