Not only has the NBA suspended play, but also teams’ practice facilities have been closed in an effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus (so far, 14 players or people in basketball operations have tested positive for the virus).
No games, no team facilities to work out in, even local gyms are closed, which leaves players to work out and stay in shape on their own. Maybe they can do workouts at home or in a facility they can access, but even with that a lot of players are going to lose their conditioning (and eat more, just sitting around the house).
That could mean out of shape players and a really rough playoffs — not the rested, elite playoffs Matt Barnes predicted — Anthony Tolliver told Bleacher Report.
“They actually might be the worst,” said Memphis Grizzlies veteran forward Anthony Tolliver of potential playoffs this season. “If it was just two weeks and we’re back, yes. But if it’s two-and-a-half, three months, which is what it’s looking like, it’s going to be like the start of the season. This is all assuming we play again this season. How it goes in the world and the country will decide that.”
Out of shape players returning for the playoffs also increases the risk of injury.
“Once I heard the news of no more practice facilities, if that goes for a month or month-and-a-half to two months, I find it almost impossible to then have a season because now you’re telling a professional athlete, ‘For 60-to-80 days you’ve done no training,’” Dudley said.
There is a growing pessimism in some quarters of the league that there will be a season, but for the league finding a way to crown a champion — and get those games televised — remains a priority.
Everything remains up in the air as the number of cases of coronavirus in the United States continues to climb and we wait to see if the measures taken in the past week can slow the spread (and how fast).
Until then, players are left to keep themselves in shape, and we know that will have mixed results.