Tough day for the NBA

Erik Gee

If the NBA season continues, the Toronto Raptors won't be playing home games in front of fans. The City of Toronto is canceling all public events until June 30th. 

While the Raptors could still host games Scotiabank Arena, it's becoming more likely that they, along with the rest of the NBA, will house out of one central location when and if the season resumes. Today's news from the Great White North is just the latest setback for the league in less than 24 hours. 

Earlier on Tuesday, the Chinese Basketball Association announced another delay in the restart of its season. There is no timetable for the CBA to come back, and the NBA is watching closely to get an idea of how easy it's going to be to resume playing games. 

Stephon Marbury, who's been playing in China since 2010, tells Rachel Nichols, "Because of the severity of it, they don't want a resurgence of the virus to come back."... "So they're taking all precautions, making sure everyone gets tested. I've already been tested twice."      

I reached out to the Thunder to see if Sam Presti would be speaking on the NBA's future sometime in the next couple of days and so far have not heard back. The Lakers say that they are symptom-free after spending 14 days in quarantine. 

If you haven't been tested for COVID-19, Alex Caruso offers this description. "They just stuck a Q-tip through your nose to the back of your mouth."

The Thunder Take Zeke Naji From Arizona:

In his mock draft, Jeremy Woo of Sports Illustrated has the Thunder taking Arizona Forward/Center Zeke Naji. In one season with the Wildcats, Naji averaged 16 points 8.6 rebounds, shot 57 percent from the field and 29.4 percent from three. 

Woo Says:

 Nnaji helped himself a good bit after entering this season off the radar, showcasing some potential as an athletic stretch big who can legitimately rebound, two important skills that don't always come in concert.

 Defensively, he's not polished or physical yet, which is where most of the nitpicking comes from right now. His post-game is somewhat rudimentary, and he needs shots created for him. 

There's certainly enough here for a team to consider him in the first round, and he's a bit more modern than some of the other centers in this part of the draft. 

The Thunder stand to replenish their depth up front this summer and should be able to do that at this spot if they choose.

Naji wouldn't be a bad pickup for Oklahoma City, considering Nerlens Noel and Danilo  Gallinari are both free agents at the end of the season. Of course, their availability to other teams depends on the state of the salary cap for 2020-2021.

If the Thunder could retain Noel and Gallinari and slip under the luxury tax, fine, if not, you have to be willing to part with both. Also, the more Darius Bazley develops, Sam Presti has to like the idea of him in the starting lineup.  

  

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