The Deets is a weekday morning dose of commentary — delivered at 7 a.m. — from sports columnist Dieter Kurtenbach that wraps up everything important in the world of sports and looks forward to another crazy day ahead.
The Warriors haven’t played since March, and it’s been more than a year since the team’s Big Three were on the court together, playing in a competitive game.
And it might be another quarter of a year before any of that changes. We can blame COVID-19 for that.
What will the Warriors look like when they return? That’s anyone’s guess because it’s anyone’s guess on when regular-season NBA basketball will return.
But when it does — and it will — expect there to be significant changes to the structure of that season.
In my life, long before passion became a profession, the seasons have been tied to the sports schedule. The fall is for football. Spring is when baseball starts. Basketball season precedes baseball season and picks up the slack when baseball starts to drag, and the NHL is always a month ahead of the NBA.
Do those time frames make any sense? Hardly.
But that’s when the seasons were played and we’ve all gotten used to it.
Then the world stopped for 100-something days — and you could argue that it’s still spinning slowly — and now I have no idea what month it is.
The NBA Finals are in October. Baseball started in July. The Pac-12 is going to kick off in November. The only league that isn’t messing around with dates is the NFL, and we see how well that’s working out for them, as injuries are rampant and COVID-19 is messing up the schedule.
I would like the schedules to return to the way they were because I crave normalcy right now, but I did appreciate NBA players association president Michelle Roberts telling The Athletic this week that she “wouldn’t bet on returning to the old normal.”
Roberts is not someone who holds her tongue and he’s not someone who spouts off anything that pops into her head. So yeah, I’m going to take that as gospel.
And truth be told, the old normal — a season that stretches between the end of September (when training camps open) to June (the NBA Finals) doesn’t make much sense upon inspection.
After all, no one really cares about the NBA until around Christmas. Don’t lie, there’s no shame in admitting you don’t care about November hoops.
And what’s special about June for the NBA Finals?
Nothing. It’s just really hard to change things like that.
The goals are the same.
“An 82-game season, in-market play, reduced travel and potentially a set amount of fans,” Roberts told The Athletic.
But this is the first time the NBA has been given the latitude to change. They’re going to take it.
The 2020-2021 NBA season was supposed to be starting right about now. Instead, it will end as soon as Friday. There won’t be November hoops.
And there probably won’t be December hoops, either. This year, that is.
But moving forward, as we inch closer to the world we inhabited before the calendar flipped to 2020, it seems inevitable that the NBA will do the smart thing and adopt a calendar that already aligns with the fans’ calendar.
Would a shorter schedule make more sense? Of course. But that means less money, and every sports league has money problems as is. The season’s not getting shorter.
But they can shift that schedule. Start the season the Thursday before Christmas — opening night is an event itself and you don’t want to lose that by starting games on the holiday. Keep the Christmas bonanza — the NBA owns that day now — and Martin Luther King Jr. Day, too.
That’s three holidays the NBA owns — opening day, Christmas, MLK day — in less than a month. If you can’t hook folks with that, you weren’t going to get them anyway.
Then run the season until August. The games are inside, anyway, and you’re only competing with baseball for eyeballs — say what you will about NBA ratings, but that’s a game they should win.
My bet is that this upcoming season starts on MLK day 2021. The symbolism is too strong and it’s ultimately a one-off.
That would be 586 days off for Thompson.
That might be enough time to ensure the Warriors are playing in August next season.
If you know me, you know that this is not all. For my full breakdown of everything that happened Wednesday (including my full thoughts on the A’s win), previews of what will happen next, and my best bet of the day, subscribe to The Deets to be delivered to your inbox every weekday morning.