Kirk Herbstreit sent waves through college football when he predicted the upcoming season will be canceled due to coronavirus.
Now, NBA analyst Jeff Van Gundy is sharing a similar assessment of the sport he covers.
Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe:
He doesn’t believe the 2019-20 season will resume.
“I understand how you can start again, but what’s the plan if the next person gets sick, like another Rudy Gobert-type of situation, we’re going to play through it? We’re going to cancel it again? That to me is why I don’t see any of these things taking place.
“I have no idea how they can pull off the season, and I have no idea what’s going to happen, and I hope next season isn’t impacted.”
Van Gundy is spot-on with his warning about another sick person. Can the NBA effectively test players, coaches, referees, etc. then keep them isolated? Until a vaccine is available, that’s practically essential. A single case of coronavirus would undermine the entire operation.
Holding games in one location would reduce risk. It wouldn’t eliminate risk.
Remember, the NBA planned to continue games (without fans present) until Gobert’s positive test necessitated a shutdown. Controlling coronavirus is far easier said than done.
I don’t share Van Gundy’s concern about next being impacted, though.
Next season will likely be impacted. Multiple future seasons could be impacted.
That’s worth the tradeoff.
The NBA is approaching its playoffs – the most lucrative and compelling portion of the season. It’d be a mistake to throw away the postseason just to keep future regular seasons on track.
After all, haven’t we spent the last year discussing declining interest in the regular season? A shorter regular season next season would be a perfectly acceptable tradeoff in order to hold this season’s playoffs. Heck, the NBA could shorten multiple upcoming regular seasons as it phases back toward a normal calendar.
Van Gundy is right to express caution about resuming play. The NBA shouldn’t restart anytime soon. But no matter when it’s safe to hold games again, the league should finish the season. Figure out future seasons from there.