Gregg Popovich and the San Antonio Spurs are in Orlando preparing for the resumption of the 2019-20 NBA season after a four month-plus hiatus. It’s a time that Popovich should have been spending preparing for the 2020 Summer Olympics in Japan. Unfortunately, that event was postponed until next year due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
The future Hall of Fame head coach had some encouraging words about the Olympics taking place next summer while sounding a bit more cautious about who might make up the Team USA roster.
Gregg Popovich – the coach of the USA Basketball men’s team – says he’s been checking the coronavirus response in Japan, and is optimistic when it comes to the hope for an Olympics in Tokyo next summer. Filling a roster around the NBA schedule, he concedes “will be trickier.”— Tim Reynolds (@ByTimReynolds) July 11, 2020
Indeed, Japan has done a tremendous job flattening the curve. The country has had just 21,100-plus cases of COVID-19 since the pandemic started this past spring. For comparison’s sake, the United States had almost 67,000 new cases in the past 24 hours as of Saturday afternoon.
This makes things a lot trickier when it comes to the 2020-21 NBA season and the Summer Olympics next year. With this season not slated to end until October, the expectation is that the 2020-21 campaign won’t start until sometime in September. That would push the season into the summer to coincide with the Olympics. The NBA is said to want to play a full 82-game slate in 2020-21. All of this is obviously dependent on the trajectory of the virus.
San Antonio is one of 22 teams set to resume the season at Walt Disney World in Orlando. The Spurs find themselves at 27-36 on the season and as the 12th seed in the Western Conference.
Popovich and Co. have eight regular-season games remaining. They have to be within four games of the eighth seed once those games are finished in order to take part in a play-in tournament. As of right now, the Spurs are four games behind the Memphis Grizzlies for the eighth seed. There’s a chance.