The NBA bubble concept is working. So far.
The league and the NBPA announced that there were no positive tests among the 344 players tested for COVID-19 on the NBA campus since test results were last announced on July 20. That continues the streak of no players testing positive inside the bubble — the NBA was aggressive with testing players in their home markets and when they arrived with the idea of keeping the virus out of the NBA’s campus on the Walt Disney World Resort property. So far, it’s worked.
In the short term that means games will start — the NBA tips off in 24 hours when the Jazz and Pelicans play, followed by a showdown between the Lakers and Clippers (both games will be shown on TNT). Those games tip-off the eight seeding games for each team.
The testing results also validate the NBA and players’ union’s approach to forming a bubble and the intense protocols it set up to create a virus-free environment. There were players (a fair amount of them) pushing for a restart system that looked more like what Major League Baseball has done, with teams playing in home markets and flying city-to-city. Players, understandably, didn’t like the idea of being away from family and friends for months, being confined to a “bubble” (or being in quarantine for 10 days because of where they picked up dinner outside the bubble). But seeing what has happened in the MLB has validated the league’s approach.
At least so far. While all the news is positive, there are two-and-a-half months left of the NBA’s campus experiment, family members have yet to be let in, and there are still questions and concerns. The NBA and NBPA — and fans everywhere — should celebrate that the bubble has worked and games will start, but any success has to be tempered with “so far.” This could still all fall apart.
However, for now, let the games begin.