The NBA bubble is coronavirus-free as of Monday, the 22 teams in Orlando are scrimmaging against each other this week, and seeding games are set to commence next week, as July gives way to August. All in all, then, basketball’s restart seems to be on track. But is there anything that could burst the Association’s bubble at Walt Disney World? Even if hoops returns without a hitch, are the Los Angeles Lakers and Clippers equipped to be among the last teams standing?
On this week’s episode of Hollywood Hoops, Eric Pincus and Josh Martin look closely at the successes of the NBA’s return-to-play protocols so far. How has the league managed to squash the threat of COVID-19 inside its “campus environment”? What threats might be posed by those who are just entering (Marcus Morris), will soon be entering (Markieff Morris, Landry Shamet) or will be returning after leaving to attend to family emergencies (Montrezl Harrell, Zion Williamson, Patrick Beverley)?
Our co-hosts also consider the good and the not-so-good repercussions from the NBA’s bubble so far. Could a fan-free enclosure be a utopia for superstars like LeBron James, who typically have to deal with the suffocating crowds and unrelenting attention that come with being celebrities? Might the league become a victim of its own initial success, with the likes of Dwight Howard openly defying mask mandates in the eye of a COVID hurricane?
Eric and Josh then look at how the rotations are shaping up for the Lakers and Clippers, in light of their respective absences. With Kentavious Caldwell-Pope all but slotted into Avery Bradley’s starting spot for the Purple and Gold, what roles might Frank Vogel carve out for newcomers like Dion Waiters and JR Smith? Could Ivica Zubac sitting out and Trezz leaving the bubble be blessings in disguise for the Clippers, who are looking to work Joakim Noah into their mix and get him back in shape?
Finally, our co-hosts consider Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s contribution to the recent discussion around anti-Semitism, and why the UCLA and Lakers legend is truly the GOAT.
00:00 – NBA Bubble COVID-Free
11:42 – LeBron, Dwight at Disney World
31:48 – Lakers, Clippers Rotations
44:21 – Kareem Talks Anti-Semitism