So, while we spent most of Wednesday afternoon worrying about how the world would react to the Warriors and Nets (and NCAA Tournament) playing a game with no fans in the stands on Thursday, the NBA news cycle continued, per usual, in the afternoon (no Kristaps Porzingis, etc.). After our DFS lineups were set and our fantasy playoff hopes remained, the games started on Wednesday night. Christian Wood rewarded owners with a career-high 32 points, Devonte’ Graham scored 30 and hit eight 3-pointers and Vince Carter had the highlight of the night when he answered late chants to enter the game and then hit an uncontested 3-pointer in an overtime loss to the Knicks, for what might have been the final shot of his career (the Knicks finally did something right!). Trae Young scored 27 points in the fourth quarter of that loss, and Boban Marjanovic (Boban!) went berserk for a career-high 31 points, 17 rebounds and (somehow) zero blocks.
But before those games ended there were rumblings that something was amiss in Oklahoma City. Specifically, Twitter (Shams & Woj) would soon tell us that the Jazz @ Thunder game was postponed, followed up by the news that the NBA was shutting down indefinitely until they can figure out how to effectively contain the coronavirus (COVID-19) that Rudy Gobert tested positive for just before the Jazz and Thunder were set to tip off on Wednesday night. Gobert’s diagnosis (he was famously mocking the corona virus and messing with press microphones a few days ago) will change the landscape of the world as we know it, for at least the next few weeks, if not for the next year. It’s probably not fair that Gobert’s going to be forever known as the NBA face of the virus, but that’s what is going to happen. More positive tests are probably coming, and not necessarily related to Gobert. And I have no idea how long the NBA will be on hiatus. My best guess would be a month or two. With the NBA shutting things down, you have to think Major League Baseball, all forms of soccer, and the NCAA Tournament are now in jeopardy of shutting it down while following the NBA’s lead, not to mention The Masters. The Masters played in front of zero fans? Yeah, I’d still watch, but we’re talking about the worlds of LeBron James and Tiger Woods, who are possibly the most famous human beings on the planet. No one is untouchable and the NBA’s decision feels like it will be thought of as a wake-up call to the country, if not the world.
I don’t care one bit that my fantasy teams are now on hiatus just as the playoffs are getting started. I’m not sad that we won’t be able to watch hoops (or sports?) in the near future. I just don’t want people to be sick. I don’t want my wife, my kids, my friends, or yours, to be sick. I don’t want the elderly and really young children to be sick, as their lives may actually be in danger. This is horrible. I’m not sure there’s much more to even say.
I have no idea what Thursday may bring to my little Rotoworld world, but I’m guessing we will have meetings and talk about what we’re going to do going forward. This is like a movie. If Gobert has it, you have to think other players in the league have it, especially his teammates. I hope that Rotoworld doesn’t become a source that simply blurbs which athletes have tested positive for the virus or not, but it feels like that’s where we may be headed. I just want people to be safe, healthy and happy. I wouldn’t even be surprised if my son’s baseball travel-team games are going to be postponed. If the gigantic machine that is the NBA is closing its doors, then every other public gathering, sports or otherwise, is likely to be shut down as well. Schools, offices, concerts and everything else. I’m guessing that the normal Rotoworld column schedule will be altered significantly and that we’ll all be asked to stay at home and to wash our hands until this crisis is over.
My only advice to you is to stay home, wash your hands, don’t touch your face, and hope that this bad dream ends sooner than later. Fantasy commissioners should probably shut down waivers until further notice and I’m just thankful that this virus is generally not deadly. Maybe we all get sick and maybe we don’t. But this will go down as one of the most interesting and scary times in our nation’s (and the world’s) modern history. Honestly, I’ve never cared less about fantasy sports since 1988, when I didn’t even know what fantasy sports were. I just want it to be over. And having said all that, I’d like to put in a waiver request for Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson and Ben Simmons in all my leagues for when the NBA resumes in July. Just kidding. JK.
Lastly, I was asked in my Live Video Chat on Wednesday if I thought that LeBron refusing to play in empty arenas would cause a ripple effect and a stoppage in NBA play this season that would affect the NBA and fantasy playoffs. Of course, I said ‘no,’ and while it wasn't tied to LeBron's initial refusal to play, I was very, very wrong. More wrong than I even was about Anthony Randolph back in the day.
I love you all. Peace, love and good health to all of you and your families and friends.