NBA fans should get ready for more delayed games after the league postponed its sixth matchup of the season, this time between the Washington Wizards and Utah Jazz.
As expected, coronavirus is beginning to run rampant through the NBA as it pushes through its 2020-21 campaign without a bubble. It only took three weeks for this growing outbreak to materialize, but even as the league updates its health and safety protocols, the only responsible course seems to be a one- or two-week pause on the season to give everyone time to regroup.
Unfortunately, that doesn’t seem to be on the NBA’s current agenda at the moment, and in the meantime, we continue to look at an increasing pile of delays that’s becoming more and more ridiculous with each passing day.
Earlier on Tuesday, the NBA was forced to postpone Wednesday’s upcoming game between the Boston Celtics and Orlando Magic, as the Celtics didn’t have enough players to meet the minimum requirement of eight due to injuries and two positive COVID-19 cases (Jayson Tatum and Robert Williams). This, of course, came after Monday’s game between the Dallas Mavericks and New Orleans Pelicans was postponed because Dallas didn’t have enough players to compete.
NBA fans should brace for more postponed games in the near future
The Wizards have basically become a walking coronavirus case. They’ve faced the Brooklyn Nets, Philadelphia 76ers, Boston Celtics and Miami Heat in the last week or so, and all four of those teams have had to hold players out or postpone games due to health and safety protocols. Washington’s latest opponent, the Phoenix Suns, has yet to submit an injury report for the team’s upcoming game on Wednesday, but it’d hardly be surprising to see more names added to the list.
This is not only an irresponsible way to push through a global pandemic that continues to rage through the United States, but it also puts players in danger — either due to COVID-19 or a higher risk of injury as teams are forced to compete with severely shortened rosters. A bubble for a full 72-game season and postseason is just unrealistic, and the players themselves opposed such an idea, but most of the expanded protocols the league is discussing now should’ve been in place from the start, and the situation has already gotten out of hand.
Expanding teams’ rosters would help a bit in that regard, but as coronavirus spreads like wildfire through the league, only a temporary stoppage of play makes any sense in conjunction with the league’s stricter guidelines for its players. Until the NBA wakes up and realizes it cannot continue like this, the new rules will just feel like putting a Bandaid on a gaping wound.
How much longer until the NBA’s hand is forced to push pause on the season? Will it literally take a full slate of games being postponed for a night, or does a player have to start showing symptoms or even die for the league to change course? As long as this current trajectory holds, basketball fans can expect more postponements as the NBA delays the inevitable.