NBA's Orlando Start Promising With Small Number Of Positive Tests
Just two NBA players out of 322 have "tested positive for COVID-19 during quarantine inside the bubble-like environment" at the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex in Orlando, according to Jeff Zillgitt of USA TODAY. A positive rate of less than 1% is a "promising start for the NBA, which is trying to complete its season while staying at Disney resorts and playing games nearby in three arenas" (USA TODAY, 7/14). The NBA said that since July 1, 19 players have "newly tested positive" for the coronavirus. YAHOO SPORTS' Chris Cwik wrote it is "unclear whether that figure will result in the NBA making adjustments to its restart plan" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 7/13).
DOING THE BEST THEY CAN: Raptors G Kyle Lowry said in regard to player safety inside the NBA-created bubble, "This thing will work perfectly. The league, the players, the players association, has done a phenomenal job of making sure that we're doing everything we can possibly do to make sure that we're healthy, we're safe and we're in an environment where we can be successful and do our job at a high level." In L.A., Dan Woike writes it is "promising that high-profile players such as Lowry" and Clippers F Kawhi Leonard are "on board" with the league's plans. Leonard said that it "didn't surprise him that there were positive tests in Orlando." Leonard: "You bring in so many people from different cities and states, and there's no control over it pretty much. But I think we're doing the best that we can" (L.A. TIMES, 7/14). Noting the recent positive test for Rockets G Russell Westbrook and quarantine for players, USA TODAY's Mark Medina asks, "At some point, someone would have raised the question. So it seems useful to answer it now. Should the NBA view these examples as inevitable growing pains? Or should the NBA conclude they have spotted red flags? The needed caveat to this answer: No one truly knows." Medina: "But the NBA has mostly put everyone in a position to succeed and safeguarded them from any potential failures" (USA TODAY, 7/14).
REPORTER MUSINGS: USA TODAY's Medina writes, "Who knows if the NBA can pull this off successfully. I became reaffirmed with the league's approach, however, with what I experienced on my first day here. The NBA has exhaustively prepared for the big things and shown enough flexibility to navigate through the smaller hiccups. Perhaps that Walt Disney World sign remains accurate. This still is the place where dreams come true" (USA TODAY, 7/14). THE ATHLETIC's Joe Vardon wrote of his experience inside the NBA bubble so far, "I signed up for this. My tour is expected to last through the end of the first round of the NBA playoffs, into September, when I'm to be relieved by a colleague. I won't be whining about the food, and the room is fine" (THEATHLETIC.com, 7/13).