Euro 2020 Special

NBA Coronavirus Update: Positive Cases Reach Double Digits

It’s now been a couple of weeks since the coronavirus sent the NBA into uncharted territory as the 2019-20 season came to a crashing halt. Things have only gotten worse since, with the coronavirus turning into a full-blown pandemic, with a number of NBA players also contracting the virus.

Unfortunately for SBOTOP NBA fans and people around the globe, it remains unclear how long this health crisis will continue to keep everyone’s favourite basketball league from resuming.

But in the meantime, here are the latest updates from around the league on the coronavirus, from all the players who have tested positive to the league’s options on how to go about playing games once again.


Number of confirmed NBA player COVID-19 cases up to 10

Utah Jazz big man Rudy Gobert’s positive test got the NBA to act quickly on the coronavirus, as the season was suspended shortly thereafter. Since Gobert and team-mate Donovan Mitchell’s positive tests, eight more NBA players have also been hit with the virus.

Detroit Pistons forward Christian Wood was the next player who tested positive. Then, it was revealed that Kevin Durant was one of four Brooklyn Nets players to test positive. The identities of the other three have yet to be disclosed.

And the most recent round of NBA coronavirus cases came out last week, with Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart announcing on social media that he had tested positive. That same day, the Lakers also announced that two unidentified players also had the COVID-19 virus.

NBA legend Charles Barkley thankfully tested negative for the virus after he had come down with an illness.

Gobert recently shared his experiences with the illness, revealing that he’s lost his sense of smell and taste over the last few days.

Among those 10 confirmed cases, the news of Durant — a multiple-time NBA champion as well as NBA and Finals MVP — testing positive was by far the biggest piece of NBA 2020 news. Although, the Brooklyn superstar is out for the entire season after tearing his Achilles tendon in last year’s Finals. And with Kyrie Irving also out, the Nets weren’t going to be much of a factor in the playoffs anyway.

In terms of the importance of the COVID-19-positive players on the court, Gobert, Mitchell, and Smart are clearly the most relevant ones. As things stand right now, both the Jazz and the Celtics would be high seeds in the playoffs, and those three are integral players on their respective teams.

Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert's positive test prompted the suspension of the NBA season
Rudy Gobert in conversation with teammate Donovan Mitchell during the second half of an NBA match between Utah Jazz and Detroit Pistons

Since they are young, world-class athletes, chances are high that they will eventually recover from the coronavirus. Although, it remains to be seen what sort of effects the illness will have on their bodies, particularly their respiratory systems, moving forward.

Gobert and Mitchell are the two All-Stars on the Jazz. And with the Western Conference as competitive as it is, they could risk a first-round upset if either one is not completely 100 per cent after the illness. Their first-round opponents if the playoffs began today would be the Oklahoma City Thunder, and the NBA 2020 prediction on that series figure to be quite close.


NBA season remains uncertain

Speaking of the playoffs, we might not get to see the tight race for the eighth seed in the Western Conference if the regular season comes to a premature end. Four teams — the Blazers, Pelicans, Kings, and Spurs — are separated by just half a game and are all within three games of the current eighth-placed team, the Grizzlies.

With rookie phenom Zion Williamson leading the up-and-coming Pelicans, a first-round series with the No. 1 seed Lakers would be quite the spectacle even though their NBA 2020 chance of springing an upset would’ve been very low. Although, that potential matchup is looking unlikely as things stand.

Granted, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver remains unsure what the NBA schedule will look like when it does resume and says the league is still exploring the different scenarios for when and how the season can continue.

One of the options they are considering is a charity competition that would serve as much-needed entertainment for people still stuck in their homes.

Clearly, Silver has some massive decisions ahead of him. The league has already taken a significant hit financially with all the cancelled games, and not having revenue from lucrative playoff games would be even more damaging.

But given the severity of the COVID-19 pandemic not just in the United States but around the world, it’s just too soon to tell just how sports leagues like the NBA will have to react to the situation.




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