NBA trainers and strength staffs are talking about a month of work to get NBA players back into game shape once restrictions are lifted and the league gets back to work (in whatever form). Would 25 days be enough?
Whatever the return timeline ends up being, Rockets GM Daryl Morey thinks it will be a “tighter window than people are going to be comfortable with.” Monda Morey was part of an Instagram Live session with Cayleigh Griffin and television partner AT&T SportsNet Southwest (hat tip Rockets Wire) and said:
“People aren’t going to be back in NBA shape. My guess — and this is up to the commissioner and the plans they’re putting together — is we’re going to have to shorten any plans to a tighter window than people are going to be comfortable with.
“The reality is, it’s not going to make that big of a difference. You want to get the quality [of play] high enough, but because everyone’s going to be dealing the same ramp up, there won’t be any relative advantage developed between the teams. Maybe even the first couple of games aren’t perfect, but both teams are going to be dealing with the same thing… We’re all going to have to do our best in a probably shortened time period.”
Morey is right, both that the time allotted to get back in game shape will be less than trainers wanted to see, and that the first few games are going to be ugly. It’s why the league wants some games — ideally regular season games — before the playoffs start. That just may not be possible.
The return timeline, and how condensed the playoffs end up being, will be a balance between the league’s need to allow time for players to work back into game shape and shake off the rust, and getting games started and done before it starts to dramatically alter next season (early September seems to be that cutoff date). Right now it’s impossible to say if the league can pull that off, but it would mean getting players back on the court (likely inside a “bubble” in Las Vegas or somewhere) in June.
For now, all we can do is wait. And speculate. That includes Morey.