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NBA Reopening Takeaways: ‘Tell them to watch out for Florida Man.’

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‘Florida Man is responsible for a large percentage of abnormal incidents that occur in Florida.’

NBA: Utah Jazz at Oklahoma City Thunder Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports

The NBA released their Seeding Schedule yesterday with the Utah Jazz kicking off the festivities with the very first game. Many Jazz fans have wanted the Utah Jazz to kick off the regular season, but not like this. On July 30 at 4:30PM MT, the Utah Jazz will reopen the season as they take on the New Orleans Pelicans on TNT. With the schedule released, here’s some of the things that immediately caught my eye on the first review.

Morning AND Afternoon Games

Get ready for the productivity of your remote workers to go down at the beginning of August. For those of us who are fortunate enough to be able to work from home, there may be some background noise added to our homes starting on July 30th. Here’s the start times for those of us in the Mountain Time zone:

  • 4:30PM
  • 1:30PM
  • 7:00PM
  • 12:30PM
  • 11:00AM
  • 1:30PM
  • 1:00PM
  • 10:00AM

With more people working from home than ever, the NBA is going to be having some interesting ratings here. On one hand, there is NOTHING on tv right now. On the other hand, not everyone is working remote. In many states, workers are returning back to work and that will limit participation. How will NBA League Pass work for those of us who paid for it? Is the NBA going to enforce ridiculous Blackout Areas while everyone is in Orlando?

8 Games in 15 Days

Buckle up because this should get interesting. The Utah Jazz play eight games in fifteen days. It includes one back to back in which they open against the Spurs then play the Nuggets the next day. There is no travel which is helpful, but the Jazz probably would have loved for the opponent order to be reversed on that one.

As far as strength of opponent, the Jazz face all Western Conference opponents. It’s not the worst seeding schedule. Only the Nuggets and Lakers are above Utah in the standings so Utah has a chance to cement a good seed in the playoffs.

Out of the teams they play, two are not currently in the Top 8: New Orleans Pelicans and San Antonio Spurs. The San Antonio Spurs are currently 0.5 games out of the ninth spot. The hope is the Spurs get waxed in the four games before Utah plays them so they’re in full mail it in mode playing their development projects. Which brings me to my next point...

OF COURSE IT HAD TO BE THE SPURS TWICE

If there is any team that Jazz fans fear no matter if they’re winless or undefeated, it’s a Popovich coached San Antonio Spurs team. The San Antonio Spurs had already beaten the Utah Jazz twice, once in January and once in February. The Utah Jazz now don’t have Bojan Bogdanovic and will be learning how to play as a new team during these eight games. If the Spurs build momentum toward the 8th seed—two of their first four games are against the Kings and Grizzlies—the game against the Utah Jazz could be a must win for San Antonio to stay in the hunt for the play in game for 8th.

What I’m saying is I’m getting REALLY tired of seeing the Spurs stand in the way of the Utah Jazz’s potential success.

Tamperpalooza

All-Star Weekend is usually seen as a big tampering weekend for the NBA due to how many star players, front office employees, and staff are in the same place at the same time. But it’s not quite as opportune due to the speed, schedule, and hectic nature of the weekend. Orlando is a whole other beast. Teams and staffs are sharing hotels. They’ll be talking.

While it’s easy to see how this can really hurt a team like Utah with big market teams there, there’s another way to look at it. Usually the aspects that really draw a player to a franchise like Front Office expertise, Player-Coach relationship, and Development Focus stay behind closed doors. The glitz and glamour of the large market are sold but the real championship winning aspects of the organization’s talent are lost. Opposing players will get to see the way Quin Snyder works with his team, the way Johnnie Bryant teaches young and older players, and how Utah’s organization runs. If anything, for a small market franchise it’s a real equalizer if you’re run right.

On the other hand, if Utah has internal strife like they did right after Rudy Gobert tested positive, there is no chance it stays a secret. It should be interesting come NBA Draft time to see if any Draft Day or Free Agency trades had their beginnings at the Orlando Reopening.

Better make sure to tell them to watch out for Florida Man

Darius : Oh, Florida, huh? Better make sure to tell them to watch out for Florida Man.

Earnest ‘Earn’ Marks : What’s Florida man?

Darius : Florida Man is responsible for a large percentage of abnormal incidents that occur in Florida.

It wouldn’t be fully prudent to focus on the schedule while dismissing the VERY LARGE elephant in the room. The reason the NBA selected Orlando as the restart was due to the Disney World campus having the potential to function as a bubble. Beyond that bubble there were other conditions that made it feel like the safest option: Florida’s then low COVID19 case count, summer months hopefully providing a suppression on the virus spreading, and the prediction/expectation that most of the United States would have crushed the curve like other 1st world countries.

Other than Disney World still being in Orlando, none of the previous conditions hold up. Even Disney World’s bubble is not going to be a true bubble as Disney World employees will be traveling to and from the campus. That last one may not sound like a big issue, but there are other “bubbles” that have been the sites of terrible outbreaks.

Here is the most updated look at Orange County (Orlando’s county) COVID19 cases.

They’ve been rising exponentially. Even worse the Governor of Florida yesterday was accused by a “former Health Dept. employee says she was fired because she wanted transparency in coronavirus numbers.”

Rebekah Jones was the fired employee who refused to “juice” the numbers. She ended up leaving and building her own COVID19 Tracking Dashboard while sifting through the data. She had built the original one for Florida. Here’s how Florida’s Orange County looks on hers.

She also tracks influenza like hospital admissions which have increased by 110% in that same county. It doesn’t look good over there and that’s the exact place the NBA is going to be. They will be in the “bubble,” but Disney workers will be going to and from this community breaking the bubble.

Adam Silver said he’s moving forward, but it is a Day by Day decision. The NBA has almost done everything right in their effort to reopen their business. The problem is they do not control all the variables that will allow themselves to reopen. Florida Man (and Woman) still control the biggest variable which is the outbreak in the state. Right now, Florida Man is doing what Florida Man can to prevent the NBA’s plan from safely moving forward.