It is Monday, Mar. 16, 2020, and we are four days into the indefinite suspension of the NBA season, along with seemingly every other sporting event or league in the entire world. I think I speak for all of us when I say, “this is garbage.”
That’s not to say all of it wasn’t the correct decision, because it probably was in order to limit the amount of people who become infected with coronavirus. But regardless, it doesn’t matter what I, we, or any non-upper-class non-federal-government employee thinks, because everything has already been postponed or cancelled.
Our Hornets being pulled right out from under our feet hurts, especially with such short notice. We all love them, but that isn’t even the half of it. March Madness being cancelled is a shot through the heart. Unless you’re a nerd like myself, that month-long stretch of games is where people familiarize themselves with draft prospects. Now, that has been relegated to YouTube videos. No more G-League games, either. We won't see Ray Spalding or Kobi Simmons in Charlotte this season. The trickle-down effect is significant and it is profoundly sad.
Site manager and fearless leader Jonathan DeLong has an article with running updates regarding the NBA season suspension already. Check that periodically between now and June to make sure you’re up-to-date. Here’s a tweet from former New Jersey/Brooklyn Nets assistant general manager Bobby Marks that lays out the (potential) course of action the NBA could undertake once they resume play:
Interesting when you lay it out:— Bobby Marks (@BobbyMarks42) March 16, 2020
Mid-June- start of the NBA playoffs
Early August- NBA Finals
End of August- Draft
Sept. 1- Start of FA
Sept. 10- Summer/fall league
Dec. 10- training camp opens
Dec. 25- regular season opens (82 games)
Mid-June- NBA season ends
Personally, I think that’s the ideal timeline. Late-May and early-June can be used as a de facto preseason, so teams can get their legs back under them without worrying about going down 2-0 in a playoff series. The playoffs and The Finals would only be competing with the MLB for TV ratings in July and Aug. (implying they resume in June, too, which isn’t a guarantee), so that’s not an issue. The draft process could easily be sped up so that the combine, interviews, and team workouts all happen within the span of a week or two, perhaps during the playoffs. The NBA could also choose to eliminate Summer League in favor of starting the 2020-2021 season earlier than Christmas Day. This timeline gives plenty of time for the pandemic to wind down, while also having a proper finish to the 2019-2020 season and giving 2020 draft picks and free agents enough time to adjust to their new lives. I highly doubt the NBA plays all 82 games next season, because they don't want teams playing five games per week, nor do they want to push back another season due to a late finish.
The NBA also announced this morning that they won't be drug testing players during the league’s hiatus:
Sounds fair to me. One can imagine that this rule has to do with a certain herb that can be used medically in some states and recreationally in others and is widely used among men ages 18-35. I’ll let your imagination determine what that herb may be, but hopefully by now the pieces have been put together. I don’t think the NBA wants to be handing out an inordinate number of five-game suspensions because the players were bored sitting in their houses for 30-90 days.
Just in case someone asks; this likely has no bearing on Malik Monk’s suspension. I’m sure he’ll still be “suspended indefinitely” once the hiatus is removed, and the NBA will determine what to do about his situation from there.
At the Hive will be rolling out an abundance of prospect profiles (everyone except Obi Toppin), post-season reports, and free-agency primers in this premature offseason. Do not fret, there will be no shortage of Hornets-related content for everyone to consume. But for now, all we have to do is discuss. What are you guys doing to stay entertained with no basketball on at night? I’ve tried watching “movies” and “television,” but they don’t do much for me. Honestly, I don’t even need the Hornets back, though I certainly want it. I would take a low-level high school game being played in central Idaho right now. Just give me 10 people throwing an orange leather ball into an orange hoop on my TV screen, and I’d be happy. I’ll never take nightly basketball (or sports as a whole) for granted again. This is not a fun time. At least I don’t have to go to work.
You truly never know what you have until it’s gone. Please stay inside and wash your hands, everyone. The sooner we isolate this virus, the sooner things get back to normal.