Adrian Wojnarowski announced today that the NBA and NBAPA have agreed to the revised CBA and finalized agreements, and the NBA is now on set to return to play in the Orlando bubble. That means, barring any unforeseen complications we will have NBA basketball again this year.
As excited as I am for the league to come back, it won’t necessarily be an easy return. The league and its payers are facing an unprecedented set of circumstances to overcome to be able to make the season finish. Covid-19, the novel virus that has shut down, not only the NBA but at one point the entire world is still alive and well in the United States. And unfortunately, it seems as if Florida is the new hot spot for coronavirus cases. With this massive hurdle, how is the NBA going to overcome and continue the season?
Here is what we know so far:
- Players will return to home cities and begin ramp-up, training camp like practices prior to going to Florida.
- Teams will travel to Orlando mid-July
- Once in the “bubble” players will be quarantined to their rooms for up to 2 days, until they register 2 negative test.
- Once in the bubble, no one should leave
- all personnel will be tested daily
As far as playing in concern:
- 3 scrimmages/preseason games
- each team will play 8 regular season games
- at the end of the 8 games if the 9 seed is within 4 games of the 8 seed there will be a play in game for the final playoff spot
- if a player test positive while in the bubble he will be quarantined and teams will have the ability to replace the player
Note: players may opt-out of entering the bubble. Two players have already said they won’t play Davis Bertans and Trevor Ariza have already announced they will not be playing.
What does this all mean for the 76ers?
Honestly, this is the hardest question I have answering. It’s a well-documented fact they Sixers are awful on the road, and great at home. Why are they bad on the road? Why are they so good at home? Is it simply crowd reactions or is it being comfortable on their home floor? There are really too many unknowns for us to answer.
If you ask me, neutral court means no home-court advantage and no away court disadvantage, which means the most talented team should have the advantage, in my humble opinion. Say what you want about the team, they have a ton of talent. The layoff and restart should fair well for the 76ers and their defensive identity they touted that they were at the beginning of the season. The defense should come back strong and not take as much time to gel as offensive-minded teams.
The lay off allowed for guys to get healthy, included Ben Simmons, who by all accounts will be ready to go when the season resumes. The rest should benefit guys who were dealing with some nagging injuries coming back one hundred percent, geared up and ready to go. Could this mean we see the Al Horford we saw at the beginning of the season?
The ramp-up before going to Orlando, and the practice time and scrimmage games there, plus the 8 games, which are otherwise meaningless to the Sixers, should provide ample time for guys to get into game shape and be ready to go come playoff time. The skill the Sixers have, plus a healthy Ben Simmons, and in-shape, motivated Joel Embiid should cause concern for the rest of the East. Adding in the emergence of Shake Milton, we saw prior to the shut-down, the 76ers are primed to make a deep playoff run to end, what may be the weirdest ending to a season the NBA has ever had.
There would be nothing more Sixer than for them to win a championship with no fans, on a neutral court, locked down at Walt Disney World. Of all the weird and unusual stuff that this team has had happened to them over the past 6 or so years, it just makes too much sense. It isn’t the ideal way to finish, but if the end of the season brings us to see Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons hoisting the Larry O’Brien trophy at the end count me in! Maybe they’ll have Mickey Mouse hand it to them.