In this first episode, I discuss my opinions on the restart of the NBA and how the Coronavirus will affect the league. In addition to this, there is a guest interview with Michael Berman of the Philly Unite podcast. I hope you all enjoy the listen!
JONNY: Welcome to Jonny G’s Hot Take, where we take a deep dive into NBA league news, player updates and the polarizing topics of the day. I’m your host Jonny Goldstein, aka Jonny G. Today’s episode is a very interesting one, but short one as we cover the restart of the NBA and go over the new Coronavirus cases within the league. We also have a guest interview with Michael business Berman an NBA Insider. So the NBA announced a few weeks ago that it is restarting on July 31, in a playoff format with about 22 teams. These teams include the best teams in the league like the Bucks, the Lakers, the Miami Heat, as the NBA felt that the teams that were not doing as well during the season did not have to participate in the playoffs since they did not have a great amount of making a great chance of making the playoffs anyways, I believe that this is a pretty good idea since the NBA will allow experience to witness a playoff even if the NBA champion has an asterisk next to their name because of the whole Coronavirus situation which is an interesting facet to look at is will let’s say the Lakers win the championship which personally we will get into predictions later with Berman, the NBA insider but personally I think the Lakers win the championship. Let’s say they do. Is there an asterisk next to their name because of this whole Coronavirus pandemic? I don’t think there is but that’s a definitely a question to ask. So there will be 22 teams in attendance. As I said before it is in Disney World, Florida, which is an interesting location. As of recent Of course, because Florida has had an uptick in Coronavirus cases they are now at the most ever. And that is due to the reopening of bars restaurants so NBA players have not really shown their disapproval of it except for a few including Trevor Ariza and Davis Bertans, Trevor Ariza, a place for the Portland Trailblazers who they probably are not going to go far in the playoffs but it is possible in a reason decided to sit out over health concerns and he doesn’t want to get the virus It is possible that with everybody in such a closed short space out of reason, maybe exposed to the virus and he has had pre- existing health conditions. So Ariza stated that he will not be joining the league and it’s restart. Same with David’s Bertans of the Washington Wizards who feels the same way and Davis Bertans to send a contract here so he doesn’t want to get injured or be exposed to the virus so he has decided to sit out and possibly the biggest name who has decided to sit out of this restart is Avery Bradley at the Lakers. Bradley is really one of the Lakers main pieces in my opinion. I feel that they’re going to need to resign somebody to fill the void that he he leaves by leaving. And his main reason for leaving is same as for Bertans and Ariza. He’s scared that he will get the Coronavirus and I mean it is definitely a concern. As the players will be playing each other It will be very close quarters. They’re all living together in the same hotels. So I am with Avery Bradley Bertans and Ariza on this one personally if I think I was playing in the NBA and my team did not have a high chance at making playoffs or making it to the championship in this new playoff format. I don’t think I would come back. There’s really no reason to risk injury or risk possibly getting the Coronavirus. So this is definitely a smart move by these three. Even though for Bradley the Lakers are in a prime spot to possibly win the championship and the Lakers will need to find a replacement for him. Whether that be jr Smith, or Jamal Crawford, they’re definitely looking at options to replace Bradley, even though his spot is definitely a tough one to fill. And then the recent news coming from Denver, Nikola Jokic has gotten the Coronavirus. So Denver is one of the teams in the NBA that could possibly win the championship and Jokic is their best piece. He is their best player. So I don’t know how to enter plans on responding to this or how the league plans on responding to this but they did say that Jokic should be allowed to fly from Serbia, his home country where he contracted the virus back to Florida for the start of the league. within about two weeks we’ll be clear to the virus and hopefully that remains in the cards for the next few weeks since Denver really has no chance without him and I believe that They are a prime team and they need him to win the championship. So overall, I think the restart in the NBA is a good idea if for fans wanted to watch the season this is good for them. And for players wanting to cement their legacy as champions like with LeBron James, this is definitely the best they could have asked for. I don’t really have any current problems with it. I will try to think about something get back to you guys other than me being in agreement with the Ariza or Bertans and Avery Bradley as it is not really a safe environment. Everybody will be in close quarters, they’re all staying in the hotels. They’re exchanging sweat during games. So I really, that’s that would be my only problem with the restart of the NBA. So now I would like to bring in Michael Berman, our NBA insider aka business Berman, who has his own podcast that I will also be a guest on later this week. So Berman, how you doing today and I would like to hear what you think generally about this restart of the NBA.
BERMAN: Well. I’m just trying to enjoy my summer again excited for basketball. It’s hopefully around the corner pretty soon.
JONNY: Yeah, I really appreciate you being here. We’ve had some great conversations in the past and I look forward to being on your podcast next week. I think that’ll be a great time, Phillly Unite for any Philly fans is Michael Berman’s podcast. So anyways, at the top this podcast I was discussing just the general reopening of the NBA and players who are sitting out and something that really interests me is Nicola Jokic, hard last name to pronounce. He recently got the Coronavirus and I really just want to wonder I’m wondering how that will factor into the Denver Nuggets playoff chances. Do you think that the nuggets have him play normal minutes, or do you think that they have him sit out for the season? Personally, I think that Jokic will be fine come July but it’s possible that he might not.
BERMAN: I think the nuggets are, I think the nuggets are an interesting position, because they’re obviously very deep. They’re a very deep roster. Nikola Jokic looks like a totally different player. He’s lost a ton of weight. Right? Um, you know, so I’m concerned with his long saying that Coronavirus is a respiratory issue. I think my biggest concern for Jokic is that, you know, he has lost so much weight. And he’s someone that you know, uses his body so well. And if he loses all that mass, that’s muscle that he’s losing, you know, you can’t just go into playoff basketball with a body that he’s never played with before. So I’ll be interested to see, you know how he’s going to be an adjustment period for him too, because he hasn’t been this skinny in probably his entire NBA career.
JONNY: So do you think it’ll cause him to learn how to play smaller ball and really rely on his mid-range and outside shot more than his normal play style, which is kind of a banger on the inside?
BERMAN: Yeah, I think I think it immediately takes him from a straight five, you know but he gets a center big man to you know, maybe you have to put him at the four spot next to Mason Plumlee because, you know, he’s just he’s a little too fragile and small for the Joel Embiid or maybe Hassan Whiteside, whoever those biggest NBA centers are.
JONNY: Yeah, I mean, I agree. I think that, especially in the playoffs in the high intensity battles, I don’t think Jokic’s health problems, which I would call Coronavirus a health problem, who knows if it could resurface and his new body type I don’t really think that he could do well against a team like the Lakers. I think that Dwight Howard has his number. I mean, go from Denver to LA. The news just came out today about Avery Bradley as I was also discussing at the top of my podcast. Who do you think would be the best replacement for Bradley? Would it be Jamal Crawford or Jr Smith, or possibly somebody that a name that has not surfaced?
BERMAN: I think Jamal Crawford is an interesting, interesting name. He’s obviously old, but he seems to be a player, even when he was when sixth man of the year every year that you know, age didn’t matter for him. I think JR. Smith, you can’t say the same. I think age has shown very much on him, and I think he can’t be trusted in the playoffs. Granted, if he’s earned the trust of LeBron James, then I guess I he’s earned my trust because LeBron trusts him. You know that’s enough validation and credibility. I wouldn’t say JR Smith is the option. I would say Jamal Crawford is probably the name that that gets me most excited right now for what they need, they need a creator.
JONNY: Yeah, I mean, I I’ve been very confused about why a team has not signed Jamal Crawford before this whole pandemic thing. He’s kind of just been sitting on the free agency as one of the best sixth men ever. Same with JR Smith, but he’s more justified as to why he hasn’t gotten a job. I hope the Lakers do sign Crawford, I think that they’re going to end up signing JR Smith just because of LeBron’s connection with him. I don’t think that that would be, you know, a good decision for them. I mean, we’ll really see what happens. I also wanted to get into some predictions here as who do you think comes out of the East? Also, who do you think wins the MVP? I mean, for me, MVP wise, I think it’s going to be be Giannis.
BERMAN: Yeah, I would agree. I think you know, he got injured before the before the Coronavirus break broke out, and there was a chant LeBron was playing really good basketball, but you know, due to unfortunate timing, LeBron didn’t really get a chance to prove himself while he honestly was injured. At this point, I think you just have to give it to Giannis. As for who I think is going to win the East, yeah, I would think it’s going to be the Bucks unfortunately. I have hope in my Sixers. I do, they’re too versatile and you know we got, we got Alec Burks and Glenn Robinson and then you got the development of Shake Milton, which you know you can’t help we get excited about what Shake was able to do.
JONNY: You think Shake will bring a lot to the Sixers playoff hopes?
BERMAN: There’s a hot take, it is a hot take for Jonny G’s hot takes. I agree with you. I think the Bucks are definitely going to end up coming out of the East. In terms of the West, my prediction will be the Lakers. It doesn’t really matter who they sign whether it be Crawford or Smith.
JONNY: I was hoping you disagree on that one. But it’s fine. Right? I think so too. And I think that this time off really have helped him rehab from his injury last year and just give him more time to work on his inside game and just the shooting. I think that we’re going to see a different LeBron this playoffs.
BERMAN: And who do you think gets the eight seed in the in the West.
JONNY: I like the Kings if I’m just gonna lay it out there, De’AAron Fox looks really good. I think that the Kings probably snag that 8 seed. They definitely don’t beat the Lakers in a playoff series if the Lakers do maintain the first seed, but last question I have for you here, is with Disney World being the new location of the NBA, all these players are going to be in close quarters and they will all be very close. All their sweat is going to be exchanged during games. Do you think that the Coronavirus will have an impact on whether games are played? Do you think that games are going to need to be rescheduled or will just go on as planned?
BERMAN: I think you know it’s a very interesting question, because if you’re if it’s Lakers versus the Clippers, and it’s LeBron James that that you know tests positive for the Coronavirus, now that totally changes the series. And you know, every player knows the risk. But even from an NBA rating standpoint, you know, there’s still business and losing, you know, someone like LeBron James and a playoff game, you know, will only brought in the Asteriks around this championship more than players and fans are already going to put an Asteriks about it, because of Coronavirus. The only way you can kind of validate the championship is if all the talent goes if certain players decide to sit out too many of the stars, if Paul George decide he wants to sit out, now there’s going to be players that that might not try as hard or might not be willing to go. Because they see it’s not a total, like, if there’s going to be an Asterix around it, no matter what players are not going to be, you know, validated to want it because, you know, there, people are saying it’s different from the rest and if you know they don’t want their championship to be different from the rest. So I think it’s complicated. I think that they’re gonna have to reschedule games if it’s the big stars that get injured.
JONNY:I think so too. And it’s interesting that you bring up Asterik because my last question I just wanted to expand because you brought this up. I was also speaking about will the winning team have an asterisk next to their name? Um, if they win the finals, will they have an asterisk next to their name? I’m speaking about that at the top of my podcast and you also brought it up. Ultimately, do you think that if a team like the Lakers or the Bucks when will they have an asterisk next to their name in the history books,
BERMAN: I think that they will to an extent but if all the talent. And I think that’s something that is easy to say that there’s an Asterik around this because of so and so reasons and all this and it’s different because of this and that but in order to as a coach and a player to be able to play through a totally different environment that you’re not used to a totally different time, that that we’re not used to when they’re also focusing on certain social justice movements, and so much off the court is happening right now, to be able to will yourself to win a championship and to bring your team together to win that championship. You know, it is arguably just as hard as it was as it’s ever been. I think to put an asteriks around, you’re doing the team, a disservice. And it’s a very, you know, short sighted way of looking at it, because you really see the amount that whatever team’s going to win the championship. They’re going have to have overcome a lot, in a way, that they’ve had no practice dealing,
JONNY: Maybe even more that any winning team has had to overcome in the past. But it’s definitely going to be interesting to see. You have had some, some great comments here. I really appreciate you taking the time out of your busy schedule because, I know how busy it is to come be on my podcast. I really look forward to being on yours next week and seeing what we have to talk about.
BERMAN: Thanks, Jonny. I look forward to having you on my podcast as well. We’ll talk a little bit more sixers. Please give Philly Unite a listen guys. Looking forward to it.
JONNY: I’ll speak to you soon, buddy. Thank you.
BERMAN: See you.
JONNY: Alright guys, I hope you enjoyed that interview. It will be definitely interesting to see what happens in the NBA season. But we’re going to keep coming out with episodes weekly and keep all of you guys updated. I hope that NBA season continues as planned. But as for now, there will be more updates next week. And as for now, you know, thanks, everybody, for tuning in. I’ll see you next week for Jonny G’s Hot Takes. Have a good one, everybody.