NBA May Be Starting To Crack Down More On PED Violators
Hawks F John Collins became the "third NBA player in less than three months to receive a first strike for violating the antidrug policy" when the league announced his 25-game suspension, according to Dan Devine of THE RINGER. PED suspensions have been "relatively rare in the NBA." ESPN's Bobby Marks said Collins, Nets F Wilson Chandler and Suns C Deandre Ayton all getting caught within three months is "unprecedented." The possibility of a "new precedent in drug testing in a league that has avoided PED scandals like the ones that rocked baseball, but where there's always been some whispering about who might be taking what, is noteworthy." Nobody "notices all that much when a fringe rotation player" or an "aging player" tests positive. But it is a "little harder to frame PED use as the province of also-rans trying to keep up with the Joneses when the last two violators are last year's no. 1 overall draft pick and a player tipped by some as a potential first-time All-Star this season." That is "going to arch some more eyebrows." Those suspensions are "enough to make you wonder whether the sound you're hearing is a blip on the radar or an alarm bell just starting to ring" (THERINGER.com, 11/5).
BUMPY START? In N.Y., Marc Stein wrote even some of the NBA's "feel-good stories in the season's first two weeks have been blemished by downbeat disclaimers." The Suns, for example, are "off to a surprising 3-2 start, but they have also lost ... their cornerstone center" in Ayton. This is "supposed to be a season of bountiful promise and intrigue after the most frantic off-season in NBA history in terms of marquee players switching teams." Instead, fans have been "treated to a succession of somber headlines and dour debate topics that, for #thisleague, turned Halloween into a celebration of October's passing as much as anything." Other issues include the NBA's "ongoing China conflict" and Pelicans rookie F Zion Williamson's knee surgery "before his first official game." There also was a "shocking 0-5 start" for the Kings, after they "played in the league's first-ever exhibitions in faraway India" (N.Y. TIMES, 11/3).