The NBA is hitting a real rough patch right now.
After postponing Wednesday’s matchup between the Phoenix Suns and Atlanta Hawks, the NBA was also forced to push Phoenix’s matchup with the Golden State Warriors and Washington’s date with the Pistons to later dates, both of which were scheduled for Friday night.
This latest wave of postponements due to COVID health and safety protocols brings the league’s total to nine on the season—eight of which have come since Sunday.
This trio of postponements stems from the Wizards vs. Suns game on Monday night. Because there were positive COVID tests within the Wizards roster, contact-tracing became a factor for the Suns, which is why their contest with the Hawks was postponed on Wednesday along with Washington’s tilt with the Utah Jazz.
The positive tests and contact-tracing left both the Wiz and the Suns unable to reach the required eight players to play their games on either Wednesday or Friday. The Warriors and their leader Steph Curry—who is a very attractive dark horse to win this year’s MVP award at +1000 odds right now on 10Bet—will surely welcome the extra day off after taking on the Denver Nuggets just the night before on Thursday.
The NBA announced Wednesday that of the 497 players tested for COVID since January 6th, only 16 have returned positive tests. Despite those seemingly encouraging numbers, the Suns, Hawks, and Wizards along with the Philadelphia 76ers and the Miami Heat have all been dealing with serious roster depletion over the past week, with several teams being forced to play games with the minimum eight players, and more often than not so far, those players are not at the top of the team’s rotation.
In some rare good news related to COVID and the NBA, the Boston Celtics are expected to make their long-awaited return to the court on Friday night to host the Orlando Magic after a full week off due to COVID-induced postponements.
These games will most likely be pushed into the season’s forthcoming second-half schedule, but it seems like it would be difficult to get all of these games played in the latter half of the season if this pace of postponements continues.
On Tuesday, the NBA and NBPA jointly released updated rules for the health and safety protocols that players and coaches must adhere to. Some of these new rules, which will be in effect for at least the next two weeks, state that players and coaches must remain at home at all times when in their home market, and at the team hotel when on the road, except, of course, for basketball-related activities.