Las Vegas Save The 2020 NBA Season

Will Las Vegas Save the 2020 NBA Season?


At this point, everyone is desperate for a return to normalcy.

A big part of life for most of us is being able to watch live sports on television. Usually, when times are tough, it’s the sports world that provides a much-needed distraction from the rigors and realities of our lives. Unfortunately, with COVID-19, that simple comfort has been denied, along with so many other things.
Monday Morning Beef - #StayAtHome
Courtesy The Washington Post
The NBA had, by far, the most public and scary shut down due to the Coronavirus.
We’re all very familiar with the imagery of the Oklahoma City Thunder and Utah Jazz on March 11th, where Rudy Gobert became the NBA’s patient zero on live television. When Gobert and teammate Donovan Mitchell became the first NBA players diagnosed with the coronavirus, the two teams were quarantined for a short time. Then shortly thereafter, the League suspended operations indefinitely.

That was about a month ago.

Since then, everything from the NCAA Tournament, to Major League Baseball, to the NHL, and even the UFC has been either canceled or suspended indefinitely. The void that this has caused within avid sports fans couldn’t be more evident. So much so that ESPN has resorted to scrambling for ideas like an NBA 2K tournament between quarantined NBA stars, or broadcasting E-Sports videogame spectacles like Rocket League.
WWJD #12 - The New Las Vegas Raiders Mock Draft v2.0
That sort of improvising has us either watching the myriad of replays of sports that have popped up on broadcast networks or resorting to a kind of endless perusal of social media in hopes for a nugget of information about anything sports-related. The NCAA transfer portal for collegiate basketball has been rampant per usual, and the NFL’s draft coverage is about all you will find these days. While those topics can be a pleasant diversion, it’s still not the real thing.
So when will we see sports return?
The NBA has been as proactive as anyone in trying to get back to business as usual. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has been a consummate voice of reason, while also keeping the general public as up to date as possible. He went on record saying, “Essentially what I’ve told folks over the last week is that we should accept that at least for April we won’t be able to make any decisions. I don’t think that necessarily means on May 1st; we will be.”
Though his stance is a reasonable one, and most definitely politically correct in context, that hasn’t stopped groundbreaking ideas from being bandied about. The most innovative solution being proposed is using Las Vegas as the NBA epicenter for finishing the regular season, as well as playing the entire postseason.

How would this be done exactly?

For one, quarantining in a singular place is the only solution. Las Vegas is uniquely qualified in that the city can house thousands of people in a bubble for as long as it would be required. The Strip and all of its hotels are shut down currently, and those open rooms could house the NBA and its players and staff no problem. The proximity from those hotel rooms to the UNLV campus is just a handful of miles apart. The Thomas and Mack Center, as well as the connected Cox Arena, is home to the NBA’s Summer League, and they are already used to hosting a similar event that has multiple teams participating in a tournament setting. More than one game can be played concurrently.

So for those venues, it would be very doable.

As for keeping players separated from the general public, that wouldn’t be an overly complicated task. The teams would be ushered from an empty hotel/casino to a waiting team bus that only they have access to, and then driven a few minutes to a set of arenas that has the bare minimum amount of support staff and zero fans in attendance. The risk would be nominal at best.
The format of such an event is as up in the air as the actual idea itself. The NBA still doesn’t know if they would let the regular season to play itself out as scheduled, or whether they would have a single game elimination tournament to round out the playoff seedings. There’s also talk that the first round of the playoffs would temporarily return to a best-of-five format to expedite the process.
Monday Morning Beef - #StayAtHome - TQ's Blog
Courtesy: Odessa American
As exciting as this conjecture is, the reality of what the world is facing has to take precedent. Safety takes top priority over entertainment and business dealings. Right now, testing for COVID-19 in America is woefully limited. On top of that, a vaccine is in the works, but won’t be available for months. A grim possibility that we cannot forget is if a player were to test positive for the virus while the teams were quarantining together, the League would once again be forced to shut down, and all of this would be for naught. For a league that’s already hemorrhaging money, that would be a costly mistake. It’s a double-edged sword.

Could the NBA use Vegas as its means to salvage its season?

The short answer is yes. As of today, it’s the best solution. That being said, a decision isn’t going to be made about this eminently. An NBA source I spoke to said it’s just as likely that the season is canceled, though that would be an extreme last resort. When the Chinese Basketball Association shut down its season 6 days ago, the NBA was paying very close attention.
The compromise was a televised game of H-O-R-S-E. Some NBA stars like Zach LaVine and Trae Young participated alongside WNBA players and NBA veterans like Chauncey Billups. They took shots from private gyms, streaming their flashy attempts from webcams.
It was another attempt by ESPN to grab viewers in an age where there’s little to no content to be had. Until the sports world returns to normal, we can expect more of this kind of straw grasping. On the other hand, if the NBA does decide to resume, it will be Las Vegas that plays the role of hero, saves our sanity, and kills this incessant boredom we’ve all been forced into living.

Las Vegas save the 2020 NBA Season     Las Vegas save the 2020 NBA Season     Las Vegas save the 2020 NBA Season

Las Vegas save the 2020 NBA Season     Las Vegas save the 2020 NBA Season     Las Vegas save the 2020 NBA Season


-Jeff Waddilove – Franchise Sports Media




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