NBA teams and fans are very familiar with the concept of home court advantage in the postseason. Now, in this crazy COVID-19 pandemic world we live in, the league is introducing the idea of just plain home advantage. Per a report from The Athletic’s Shams Charania, the league will be housing teams at Disney hotels in Orlando based upon current seeding (note the typo on “Gran” Destino):
Sources: NBA teams Disney hotels based on seeding:— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) June 16, 2020
-Grand Destino: Bucks, Lakers, Raptors, Clippers, Celtics, Nuggets, Jazz, Heat
-Grand Floridian: Thunder, 76ers, Rockets, Pacers, Mavericks, Nets, Grizzlies, Magic
-Yacht Club: Blazers, Kings, Pelicans, Spurs, Suns, Wizards
I certainly understand the thinking behind grouping the teams most likely to stick around for the longest period of time at what is considered the main location, but that hasn’t stopped the jokes from flying around the best rooming accommodations going to the best teams. The Knicks will be staying in the pool shed behind the skimmers and bins of MAXBlue tablets. These groupings will also be relevant in that teams will play their exhibition games leading up to the resumption of the regular season against opponents from the same hotel. Give me another chapter in the Embiid vs. Westbrook beef, please.
Regardless of hotel, the NBA is doing its level best to ensure all of these folks will be treated well across the board. Here’s a sampling of the amenities afforded to players within the bubble environment:
In NBA's ORL campus:— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) June 16, 2020
- Hotel amenities: players-only lounge (NBA 2K, TVs, gaming), pool/trails, barbers, manicurists, pedicurists
- 24-hour VIP concierge
- Daily entertainment: Movie screenings, DJ sets, video games, ping pong, pool, lawn games
- Players can attend other games
More: "We're also committed to offering exclusive golfing and fishing access. We're open to offering private dining experiences at our many restaurants, or bringing those dining experiences to the NBA directly at their resorts. It will all be done with safety as the #1 priority." https://t.co/zfkBcf0rvA— Keith Smith (@KeithSmithNBA) June 17, 2020
My favorite part is the idea of players attending other games where no fans are in attendance and just mercilessly heckling guys for all to hear. The second is the wheeling and dealing bound to take place to determine which barbers, etc. are allowed to attend, as those will be selected jointly with the NBPA. You know LeBron is bringing his guy from The Shop into the bubble. The third is Marvel superfans being extra salty that NBA players will get to see new releases ahead of the general public. Finally, players have to dispose of playing cards after use in one session and “sufficient packs of cards will be available.” Knowing how much hoopers play cards, I can only imagine a room looking like the Cave of Wonders in Aladdin filled to the ceiling with playing cards.
Still, for all the great things available to players at the campus, man’s best friend will not be one of them. Poor Klaus Hinkie.
Also, the handbook specifies: "We are not currently contemplating allowing pets on campus." So, no pets. https://t.co/qHefWXV5AL— Zach Lowe (@ZachLowe_NBA) June 16, 2020
Let’s quickly run down some of the other key points from the handbook, much of which is covered by Shams in his article on The Athletic, so I would suggest you give that a full perusal.
- NBA teams will be limited to a 35-person traveling party. As stated in the pets tweet above by Zach Lowe, players can bring a personal security guard, massage therapist, or trainer, but that person will count toward the 35-person limit.
- Aside from during workouts, players will be required to wear MagicBands for room access, security checkpoints, etc.
- Players will be sent to “Isolation Housing” following a positive coronavirus test result. (This sounds like a nightmate scenario for a season of The Challenge.)
- There will be an anonymous hotline to report potential protocol violations. (Chris Paul will have the hotline as #1 on his speed dial.)
The NBA’s handbook was 113 pages long so there’s plenty of other information, but it sounds like the league will have its hands full to bring pro basketball back into our lives.