The NBA is set to resume play this Friday starting with some preseason matchups. It will be the first time teams play in their home arenas since the league was shut down last March. While the NBA’s bubble went pretty much without a hitch to finish out last season, there is clearly some concern about what results we will see outside of a bubble atmosphere. The league has given teams and players comprehensive protocol to minimize the risk and spread of COVID-19 as they prepare for a 72-game regular season.
So far into training camp, the Los Angeles Lakers have not reported any positive cases for the virus and things seem to be going well. Head coach Frank Vogel made it clear to reporters at media day that the team are putting a “heavy emphasis on playing by the rules” to keep everyone safe. Vogel also called this training camp “drastically different” from others due to the rules being handed down by the league office.
Many of the Lakers players, including Wesley Matthews, Montrezl Harrell, and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope echoed Vogel’s sentiments and put the focus on personal accountability by everyone to ensure that the team continues its clean streak.
Wesley Matthews says everything he's seen from the Lakers has been "top notch" in regards to COVID protocols, but he said it's on the players to be smart and hold each other accountable. Montrezl Harrell said something similar today.
— Christian Rivas (@RadRivas) December 6, 2020
Wesley Matthews said it’s hard to know what to expect this season given all the unique elements (shortened offseason, the pandemic, etc.).
He did make this point: “A lot of it comes down to personal accountability."
— Mike Trudell (@LakersReporter) December 6, 2020
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope on one of secondary safety precautions players have to pay attention to as they manage COVID-19 as the season begins: “Having conversations with your wife about her friends … that’s more stress”
— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) December 8, 2020
So far in camp, the only missing players seen to be Quinn Cook (who was re-signed late and therefore has not met quarantine requirements yet) and Alfonzo McKinnie. It’s not clear what has kept McKinnie out of the practice facility at this time.
We can only hope that the Lakers due take all the requirements seriously and that we get through this season without anyone testing positive.