The status of the 2019-20 NBA season is extremely up in the air due to the constantly evolving situation surrounding the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
The NBA suspended operations for a minimum of 30 days on March 11, but it quickly became clear that it could be a few months before games could be played again safely.
The contingency plan that continues to be discussed is playing the remainder of the season in ‘a bubble’ in Las Vegas, Nevada. This way, all players remain isolated from the outside world. The only hurdle to clear in this plan is a rapid-response testing system that would ensure everybody’s health.
However, due to the length of the ongoing hiatus, teams believe they will need at least one month of preparation before returning to meaningful games, according to Baxter Holmes of ESPN:
In anticipation of this issue, many team officials said there needs to be at least a month-long period to help players physically acclimate and prepare after the layoff to avoid a potential spate of injuries that could follow, according to interviews with athletic training staffers and general managers across the league.
The way this month would likely work is a short training camp where teams can get back into shape and regain a basketball mindset. This could be followed by a short ‘preseason’ of sorts, then followed by a truncated regular season.
This way, playoff teams would have about a month of steadily increasing intensity before playing a game. Hopefully, this will help alleviate injuries while still providing good basketball as quickly as possible.
The NBA has said they want to crown a champion by Labor Day Weekend, which means the latest this month-long training period can start is around the beginning of July. Hopefully by then, the league has figured something out with health officials to bring basketball back to their fans.