Yes, we are very excited for Orlando Magic basketball’s return. But the road through the seeding schedule will be difficult and difficult to predict.
Excuse the tongue-in-cheek title to this post. But like everyone else we are really excited to see basketball back.
There are still huge issues for the NBA to overcome and address. The coronavirus has not gone away and spread at least partially through players within the league — 16 of the 302 tests the league conducted came back positive.
The NBA will try to enter its Disney campus as clear as it can. But everyone understands the reality there are holes in the system and the protocols they created are designed to plug those holes before they get too big.
Additionally, the league is going to try to address issues of social injustice while they are in the campus setting. The NBPA and NBA have announced they will partner where they can to keep awareness up while teams are sequestered at their Disney hotels.
The cynical person — who is probably correct — will also acknowledge that all these gestures and overtures toward safety and social injustice might be genuine but it is also a front for the real motivation behind the end of the season. The league needs to save some financial face and recoup at least some of the lost revenue from the halted season and the incident with China in the preseason.
The Playoffs are the league’s biggest moneymaker with their TV partners. And so it is fair to say on some level that this return-to-play plan at Disney is a make-good for the television partners.
Players, teams and fans alike will have to keep all these things in mind as the games resume July 30. All the weighty and real issues do not go away.
But the excitement for basketball still is hard to suppress. Having basketball on TV — and possibly all day for nearly two weeks — is a hard thing not be eager for.
The Orlando Magic will still have a lot to play for when they hit the floor on July 31. They trail the Brooklyn Nets by a half-game for the seventh seed in the Eastern Conference and they have to stay 1.5 games clear of the Washington Wizards to avoid a play-in game.
Even though the Magic’s championship hopes are dim — if not nearly non-existent — these final eight games plus whatever the Playoffs look like will be vital for the team’s development.
So, yes, tongue planted firmly in cheek here are the eight games we are excited to see as the season gets set to resume.
We are excited for all eight games.