The NBA's War of Attrition in Orlando

Erik Gee

The NBA's grand experiment in Orlando beings in a few days, and to this point, the Oklahoma City Thunder is ready to go. But that doesn't mean there isn't some trepidation on theirs' and every other team's part.  

Thursday, Florida set another daily record for COVID-19 cases, and even with the NBA having health at the forefront of the upcoming restart, players are going to test positive. They are also going to get injured, and those two things combined are going to open the door for some less than desirable playoff matchups. 

Of course, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but does anyone outside of Memphis and Orlando want to see the Grizzlies and Magic in the Finals? The answer to that is a resounding no, but given the uncertainty of how players are going to behave and how hard they've worked over the last three months, lower-seeded teams are going to have a legitimate chance to make a run. 

Thunder Head coach Billy Donovan was asked about what could become a war of attrition. "If guys start testing positive  team can look totally different."

"It's totally unchartered territory for everybody."..."You could have some guys on a team that all of a sudden could test positive, and they gotta quarantine, and they're not playing." 

"Teams could look totally different; players could look totally different."... "I think everybody's working as hard as they can to create the safest way in Orlando to play." 

"But with all that's going on in the state of Florida with the virus, a lot of those things could end up taking a turn in a different direction." Donovan didn't mention how much of an advantage it could be for the Thunder to play a depleted Lakers or Clippers in the second round. 

Oklahoma City is 1-4 against the best two teams in the Western Conference, but if either the Lakers or the Clippers took a hit to their depth, the Thunder would have more than a fighting chance in a seven-game series. Donovan did say that if there were an unhealthy situation before teams get to Orlando or while they are there, play would have to be stopped. 

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