Suns reset: What’s next after NBA suspends season due to coronavirus
The NBA and sports as a whole are in uncharted waters. They have been forced to concede to letting coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, dictate what comes next.
For now, the NBA’s season has been suspended for a minimum of 30 days, per the Toronto Star’s Bruce Arthur.
After that, though, we simply don’t know a concrete timeline on waiting out the coronavirus as it spreads. Will it be safe and smart enough to come back in mid-April? More like late June?
This is going to get logistically more difficult for the league by the day in terms of scheduling arenas, television time and more. In this writer’s lone opinion, the safest bet for any chance of the season still happening is cutting out that last six weeks of the regular season and going straight to the playoffs, with those games taking place in front of no fans.
That’s just one thought exercise that, believe me, we are going to have plenty more time to sift through as we wait together for sports to return to our lives.
Everything has been moving at a million miles per hour over the last day, so it has been difficult to even remember where everything stood for the Phoenix Suns and the league as a whole. Here’s a reminder of that, starting with the latest on what’s next before looking back.
What do teams do now?
Players and teams have an interesting choice ahead of them as far as how they treat this, uh, intermission we’ll call it?
Obviously, the likes of Giannis Antetokounmpo and LeBron James are not going to treat the season like it’s over until they are directly told so and will continue to train for a championship. But do they do so individually? Will teams still practice together?
Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said Wednesday night the league was still going to allow teams to practice. But everything remains fluid for now as more information trickles in and teams make a gameplan for how to approach this situation.
For the Suns, as of early Thursday afternoon, they did not have any practices scheduled. Office employees were back in the building on Thursday, while the team, staff, etc. all stayed at home. The entire building will be without employees on Friday as it is sanitized.
That’s the short, short term. Expect more information to arrive in the coming days when it comes to the long term.
Suns’ lottery and conference standings
If the season is curtains, the Suns are currently 10th in the reverse standings, courtesy of our old friends (SIGH!) at Tankathon.
That gives Phoenix a 13.9% chance at a top-four pick and 3% odds for the No. 1 selection in the 2020 NBA Draft.
For some clarity on a timeline, the 2020 NBA Draft Lottery was previously scheduled for May 19.
If the season is not curtains, Phoenix is six games out of the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference. Four teams (San Antonio, Portland, Sacramento and New Orleans) are ahead of them.
The Suns have 17 games remaining on the old schedule and are 26-39.
Time to get healthy
If we truly aren’t done here and will proceed at a later date, this time off gives the Suns a chance to get healthy. That will assumedly have Deandre Ayton ready to return from a left ankle sprain while the team’s three other long-term injuries get a break to recoup.
Cam Johnson was set to be re-evaluated on March 23 for mononucleosis. Monty Williams told Arizona Sports’ Doug & Wolf that he was hopeful Kelly Oubre Jr. could return before the end of the season after having surgery for a torn right meniscus.
Oubre’s injury timeline of being re-evaluated four weeks after having the surgery on March 3 means he would be checked before the minimum 30 days the NBA is reportedly going to have off.
Lastly, Frank Kaminsky hasn’t played since Dec. 28 for a right patella stress fracture. The last update from the team earlier this month was that he was set to receive a follow-up consultation and was viewed as being out indefinitely. The team, however, not ruling him out the rest of the season would point toward a chance of him returning by April.