It is hard to believe, but the 2020-21 season has officially begun as training camp for all 30 teams opened Tuesday.
The Los Angeles Lakers and Miami Heat, fresh off their exciting 2020 NBA Finals matchup, returned to workouts and practices only seven weeks removed from last being on the court. Meanwhile teams such as the Golden State Warriors will soon see live action for the first time in nearly nine months.
However, the start of the season does not take away from the fact that the ongoing COVID-19 (coronavirus) crisis has only gotten worse since the end of the 2019-20 campaign. The NBA worked with healthcare professionals to implement protocols and safety guidelines for the upcoming season, including training camp.
According to Tim Reynolds of Associated Press, the beginning of camp will be limited with group workouts to follow later in the week:
Training camps open around the league Tuesday, though on-court sessions will be limited to individual workouts and only for those players who have gotten three negative coronavirus test results back in the last few days. Mandatory “group training activities,” another way to describe what would otherwise be called practice, will begin in some cities Friday and for most clubs Sunday, the league said.
The safety measures are reminiscent of the ones set by the league prior to the Orlando bubble where players were asked to test every other day and had to submit consecutive negative results before being allowed to practice. The spread of coronavirus is a looming threat to the 2020-21 season, but the protocols in place seem to be a good place to start to ensure player and staff health
However, the lack of on-court and group sessions could severely impact the level of play especially since preseason action begins in just 10 days. Athletic trainers previously expressed concern that the ramp up period would not be enough to sufficiently get the athletes ready to play a 72-game schedule, so this will also be something to monitor in the coming months.
LeBron James should be load managed to begin 2020-21 season
The Lakers are poised to repeat as champions after their successful offseason, but their title hopes hinge on LeBron James’ health.
Head coach Frank Vogel and the coaching staff need to monitor James’ minutes to ensure he is fresh come playoff time. Vogel was able to play James under 35 minutes a game during the 2019-20 season, so hopefully he will be able to find more rest for the superstar through the upcoming season.
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