Fitness and conditioning, that’s the name of the game as NBA players hit Orlando this week for an accelerated training camp just a few weeks before the season is set to begin.
But what of the eight teams left home? Will they be able to maintain their fitness and skill level by the time next season comes around, likely in early 2021, leaving them out of action for nearly a full year?
Teams will be able to practice together and train eventually, but will still lack competitive games to give their players experience and a more direct motivation to train.
With that in mind, buzz has begun to build around the thought of a second “bubble,” which would allow the eight teams not invited to the main restart to still compete against each other and stay fresh for 2021. The Jump crew tackled that topic this week and Paul Pierce pulled no punches.
“If I’m a veteran, and I’m chillin’ at home all this time, and you ask me to come to this bubble, to play a lot of meaningless games, I’d be like, ‘Man, y’all can have it,’” he said. “But it may be a good thing for the younger players. You’re trying to see who you’re going to develop, who you’re going to keep for next year. It’s going to be like a glorified summer league.”
Pierce believes a second bubble would not be worth the risk for most established players in that group, but it could be a chance for some young players to make a name for themselves. That risk also applies to the first bubble, which has seen more and more teams having to halt practice operations and close facilities just days before they’re set to depart for Orlando. It’s certainly a concerning trend according to The Truth.
“This is very concerning because not only are you shutting down because of the coronavirus, but it takes away valuable time that you need for all the months off to get the team back together, get chemistry, get back in shape. So, you know, this is significant for those ballclubs like Denver, like the Clippers, to lose time closing down their practice facilities. I think in the long run, this could hurt them.”
Watch below as The Truth, Rachel Nichols, and Chiney Ogwumike discuss the potential second bubble, virus-related closings, and more on The Jump.