How Should the NBA Bounce Back from the Coronavirus?

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Wilson Irvin, Staff Writer

Wilson Irvin, Staff Writer

With Coronavirus taking the world by storm, literally, Americans are itching for their major sports to return to television.

One of the headlines with Coronavirus was its involvement in the NBA. Players would joke around with each other saying “they won’t get it.”

Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert, joked with the virus after a post-game interview, touching all of the microphones, spreading his “germs.” In the next two days, March 11, Rudy Gobert was diagnosed with Coronavirus. Gobert would end up spreading it to his team, including star player Donovan Mitchell. Although these players were from the Utah Jazz, the NBA shut down all contact and suspended the season indefinitely, the first spark in an explosive wave of cancellations that has spiraled into to the complete shutdown we are currently facing.

People now wonder what is next for the NBA. Will they finish the regular season? How far into the summer would the season go?

I have found the most popular options for the return of the NBA that are being considered by the NBA themselves, and will evaluate how I feel about the effects that they have on the players, league, and fans.

 

Resume Play ASAP Without Fans

Seen as a way to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus before the pandemic, this was a possible and highly considered option for the NBA. Now, this seems to be the front-running option for their return.

Teams would go about the games as if it was normal, just without attendance the engagement of fans. The season would end with 82 games played and enter the playoffs how they’ve done every year.

Commissioner Adam Silver appeared on an episode of SportsCenter, saying “the first step isn’t games with thousands of people in the arenas, but maybe it is just games,” Silver said. “Something I’ve always said is 99% of people consume our game through some sort of media platform. It’s only a tiny percentage of fans who get to see our games in arenas.”

Silver brings up a good point. There is only a small fraction of fans that go to the games. If the majority of fans watch the games via social networks, there isn’t a reason to get permission to have fans at the games.

The earlier the NBA and other major professional sports start, it helps out the population in quarantine.

Moreover, the NBA has such a large audience, including a large amount of its money coming from China–the country most affected by the virus. 

One problem I guess one could say is that the season would probably run into July, shortening the offseason and overlapping more with the MLB.

I personally believe that this is the most logical, the best option for the NBA. They will still be able to make money throughout the extended season, and won’t lose as much revenue.

 

End the Regular Season, Playoffs Follow

With every NBA team playing at least 75% of the regular season games already, I think it’s safe to say that the league has seen every team at full potential.

With cutting the regular season short, the NBA would lose some of its profits. However, I really like this choice of action.

If the NBA were to start up with the playoffs, I believe it would be some of the best basketball US fans will have seen in a long time.

Could you imagine a well rested LeBron James, Giannis, and all the stars so eager to play? The games would be even more intense then they already are. There would be better defense, players continuously pushing themselves harder because they have been working this whole quarantine.

While this will give us the best basketball, it is unsure how the NBA will handle its social aspect and attendance. 

The NBA wants the best for its players and viewers, but the most safe option as well. This plan sees more involvement of the fans because they want the intensity and life that they bring to the playoffs.

 

Las Vegas

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has discussed with the media the possible scenario of the playoffs held in one arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. This would prevent the constant travel for each game that normally occurs. This includes fans as well. 

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The NBA would use the UNLV Thomas and Mack Center, as it uses it for its Summer League games.

It would use the standings as is right now, the lower-seeded teams would have a play in game to secure the place in the playoffs.

Regularly, the NBA Playoffs are best-of-7 series each round. This, however, would be a one and done game each round leading up to the Finals which would be a best-of-5 series.

I do enjoy this idea, and keeping attendance to the games limited. However, I feel as if this should not be the main option for the playoffs. While it is a good idea, my question is simple: why wouldn’t they place in their home arena? Whoever is the higher seed should have home-court advantage. 

To me, this seems like a backup plan if a larger plan falls through. I think there is more freedom than they think.

 

Overview

As the NBA struggles to find out what is the best plan of the action to return, fans are eager for basketball. 

Just last week, ESPN televised an NBA2K tournament with the players to try and give the fans some form of basketball entertainment. 

To me, the best option for the NBA is the plan to end the regular season now, and enter the playoffs as soon as they are cleared to play.

Continuing the regular season seems like the season would be going on for way too long. The plan for Las Vegas seems similar to the MLB’s Arizona plan, and more of a last resort.

By ending the season now and starting the playoffs, the players will be rested and have more energy than ever. More rest will bring more intense games and will be great for the fans.

Attendance to those playoff games should either be zero, or minimal, or the NBA could wait for clearance and have packed arenas for the best game of the year.

Either way, we basketball fans just want the game back, and can’t wait to see the NBA back in action no matter the format.