It’s no secret that life is much more difficult for the NBA’s smaller market teams. Free agents are much more likely to sign in larger markets, such as LA, with more opportunities for sponsor deals, warmer weather, and richer nightlife. This puts teams in smaller, more rural cities in tougher situations. Without access to the league’s top free agents, success comes through smart trades, the draft, and player development. This is much harder work and has been a topic of discussion in the league for years.
For the first time ever, however, small market teams might have the upper hand.
The global pandemic of COVID-19 has shut down most of the world, including all sporting events for an indefinite period of time. People are anxious to get sports started up again, especially those surrounding the NBA hoping to resume the regular season. There have even been rumors that as soon as NBA basketball was to return, the playoffs would begin immediately to avoid overlap with the 2020-2021 season, whose start date may be pushed back until December. Details are still foggy as NBA executives work carefully to make the safest decision.
Players and fans alike hope to get basketball going again as quickly and as safely as possible. There are concerns, however, such as this one brought up by Lakers forward Jared Dudley:
This is where small markets teams might get their first real advantage. Smaller cities and less populated states are more likely to ease quarantine orders sooner than larger cities such as New York and LA. This could allow teams in smaller markets to gain access to their practice facilities much sooner, giving them a physical and mental advantage for when the season resumes. If the league opted to go straight to the playoffs, this could be the difference maker in a seven-game series.
While not a benefit exclusive to small market teams, the extra time off gives injured players a chance to recover and possibly return to play. The idea that Kevin Durant could possibly return to the Nets for the postseason is terrifying.
This could all be speculation, and we at Game Changer Sports Network will keep you informed of any news that comes up concerning the end of the 2019-2020 NBA season. Until we know for sure, share your thoughts and concerns with us as we navigate through COVID-19 together.
Featured Photo: Sports Illustrated
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