Derrick Jones Jr.

Pacers guard Malcolm Brogdon and Kings guard Buddy Hield
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NBA announces positive coronavirus tests for 16 of 302 players (5.3%)

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The NBA is ramping up coronavirus testing as players report to their teams in advance of resuming at Disney World. Players who’ve reportedly tested positive so far.

That’s just the start, though.

NBA and NBPA release:

In tests conducted of 302 NBA players on June 23, 16 players have tested positive for the coronavirus.

Any player who tested positive will remain in self-isolation until he satisfies public health protocols for discontinuing isolation and has been cleared by a physician.

That’s 5.3%.

Don’t compare this to positive test rates for states or countries. Those tests tend to be done on people who show symptoms or came into contact with someone who tested positive. That skews the rate up. NBA players are tested simply because they’re showing up to work.

COVID-19 Projections estimates 0.47% of people in the United States are currently infected. Translated to 302 players, that rate would mean just one positive test.

But NBA players have different risk profiles than the overall population. There are reasons NBA players could have lower rates of infection (high salaries that allow them to live comfortably without needing to take risk). But there are stronger reasons NBA players could have higher rates:

  • NBA players are young. Young people tend to have less-severe symptoms. So, young people tend to engage in behavior that carries greater risk of contracting coronavirus.
  • NBA players tend to live in big cities, where teams are located. Many big cities have been hit hard.
  • NBA players train strenuously. Heavy breathing can spread coronavirus. There are plenty of videos of NBA players playing crowded gyms.

A good comparison? The NHL. Last week, the NHL announced 11 players of more than 200 tested multiple times were diagnosed with coronavirus (5.2% if that were 210 players).

Expect even more NBA players to test positive. For one, full rosters for the continuing 22 teams would be 374 players. That leaves many more players to be tested. There are also nearly two weeks before players travel to Orlando. That leaves more time for players to contract coronavirus in their own communities.

It wouldn’t be surprising if 20-30 NBA players test positive for coronavirus as testing ramps up before teams reach Disney World.

These numbers already are certainly shocking people. That response is a massive PR blunder by the NBA, which should have better set expectations for the public.

But it’s not an indication the NBA’s safety plan is failing.

NBA players testing positive now shows the dangers of the larger world, where NBA players have been living and coronavirus is a very-real threat. The bubble in Disney World will be a FAR more controlled environment with tight restrictions and frequent testing. The idea is to detect coronavirus now, before players it into Disney World.

Positive tests in later phases would have different meanings.

Dr. Zachary Binney, an epidemiologist:

There are plenty of reasons to be concerned about the NBA’s plan:

  • Rising infection rates in Florida, which increases risk if the NBA’s bubble is infiltrated
  • A short initial quarantine when players arrive in Disney World (two negative tests spaced 24 hours apart), which risks players contracting coronavirus shortly before arriving and not having it show up on tests before they enter the larger bubble
  • Players – especially players sidelined by coronavirus – having a tight window to train after a long layoff, which increases risk of injury

But these results? This is the system working.

Report: More NBA players have tested positive for coronavirus than reported so far

Nuggets center Nikola Jokic and Jazz center Rudy Gobert
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At least 19 NBA players have reportedly tested positive for coronavirus:

Zach Lowe of ESPN:

I can tell you for a hundred percent fact: There are more players that have tested positive than have been reported or revealed.

To some degree, I understand players wanting to maintain their privacy – especially once they stopped interacting with masses of fans who’d benefit from being alerted.

But that’s generally not how the NBA works. Player injuries are announced, and we have repeatedly been told – as the NBA tries to resume its season – to treat coronavirus like an injury for players. The NBA’s push to draw revenue from gambling has been bolstered by promoting transparency, at least on paper. This violates that spirit.

It’s especially troubling as the league launches an ambitious plan for playing amid the pandemic. There are reasons to believe the plan is sound. There are reasons to believe the plan has shortcomings. But the NBA should be open with the underlying data.

As of mid-May, all the diagnosed players reportedly recovered in short order. Hopefully, the fact that other players have kept their diagnoses secret suggests they also recovered without complications.

Report: Heat forward Derrick Jones Jr. tests positive for COVID-19

Heat forward Derrick Jones Jr.
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Living in a world with coronavirus, NBA players are contracting coronavirus. The league has ramped up testing in advance of resuming at Disney World, with several players testing positive:

Add Heat forward Derrick Jones Jr. to the list.

Barry Jackson and Anthony Chiang of the Miami Herald:

Miami Heat forward Derrick Jones Jr. tested positive for COVID-19, a league source told the Miami Herald.

Jones, 23, has been asymptomatic and still expects to participate in the resumption of the 2019-20 NBA season at Disney’s ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. He was tested Tuesday, when mandatory COVID-19 testing for NBA players and staff began to be issued on a regular basis.

Hopefully, Jones recovers as quickly as he desires.

The reigning dunk-contest champion, Jones is a helpful member of Miami’s rotation. He’d be a notable loss for a team with a chance to make a deep playoff run.

At least the Heat loaded up at forward just before the trade deadline, acquiring Andre Iguodala, Jae Crowder and Solomon Hill.

Jones faces far more uncertainty. Approaching unrestricted free agency this offseason, the undrafted player has a chance at his first relatively lucrative contract.

Aaron Gordon: Only Derrick Jones Jr. and Dwyane Wade think I should’ve lost dunk contest

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Aaron Gordon sung about losing the dunk contest.

Now, he’s talking about it.

Gordon on Instagram with Dwyane Wade, whose controversial judging helped hand the victory to Heat forward Derrick Jones Jr.:

There was only a couple of people that think D Jones should have won, though. It’s you and D Jones.

It depends how you look at it.

Was Gordon’s final-round dunk (dunking over 7-foot-5 Tacko Fall) better than Jones’ final-round dunk? Yes.

But Jones dunked better throughout the contest. He should’ve clinched victory sooner.

Wade denied violating a judges’ agreement to keep the dunk contest tied, instead casting blame toward Scottie Pippen. In fact, Wade said he wanted the contest to remain tied.

Though Wade was backward in his explanation – that Gordon performed better throughout and Jones’ last dunk was better – Wade got to an important point: The dunk-contest format is broke. Five judges (maybe individually, maybe conspiring) scoring each dunk on a 6-10 scale is a poor way to do it.

My suggestion: The dunks should be rated relative to each other, not on isolated voting. It’s too common for a judge to give a 10 then see an even better dunk. At that point, the scale no longer works.

Two Clippers, two Suns left standing in NBA 2K Players Tournament

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The champion is coming out of the Pacific Division.

That may be true of which team will hoist the Larry O’Brien trophy and have a parade through the streets when (or, maybe if) the NBA season and playoffs return.

It absolutely is true of the NBA 2K Players Tournament.

After Thursday night’s quarterfinal rounds we are down to four players: Patrick Beverley and Montrezl Harrell of the Los Angeles Clippers, and Devin Booker and Deandre Ayton of the Phoenix Suns.

The semi-finals and finals will take place Saturday on ESPN (3-7 p.m. ET on ESPN). Booker will face Harrell in one semi while the trash-talking Beverley will take on Ayton in the other. The winners will then square off.

In the first matchup on Thursday night, Rui Hachimura raced out to an early lead on Booker, but once the Suns’ guard, playing as the Mavericks, got Luka Doncic going it was all over. Booker won handily, 71-55.

Harrell, playing with Damian Lillard and the Trail Blazers, led most of the way over Derrick Jones Jr. in the second game of the night, and while Jones made it close a couple of times, Harrell held on for the 71-66 win.

Then the games got tighter.

Ayton, playing as the Clippers, upset No. 2 seed Trae Young of the Hawks (playing as the Lakers). Ayton raced out to a double-digit first-quarter lead, held that through the half, but in the third quarter Young stormed back thanks to one LeBron James. It set up a dramatic, back-and-forth fourth quarter, with Ayton using Paul George to get the win.

In the nightcap, Andre Drummond (playing as the Bucks) took an early lead over Beverley, but in the fourth Beverley stormed back with the Sixers — and this was the most entertaining matchup of the night because Beverley would not stop trash talking.

We should all be rooting for Beverley to advance on Sunday just for the entertainment factor.