The NBA has not officially started its reboot in Orlando just yet, but it is already considering a second separate location for the eight teams that did not make the Florida cut. The plan is for those eight eliminated teams to meet in a separate location – tentatively Chicago.
The idea is for those eight teams – specifically the teams’ younger players – to get some work in similar to that of the 22 in Orlando. The biggest problem in bringing those eight teams together is the coronavirus. The league has no idea if the experiment in Orlando will work.
Will the virus spread among players and staff? In the past few weeks, there has been a number of players test positive for COVID-19 (seven percent of players since June 23). Limiting contact with the outside world will be a bit more difficult in Chicago than at the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando.
In Orlando, players and staff will have virtually no contact with anyone other than their teammates and other players, coaches, and staff members. That will be much harder to do in Chicago.
Detroit Pistons head coach Dwane Casey has said he and some of his colleagues would prefer to hold their own minicamps. Teams can essentially meet the goal of helping develop their young players, enjoy some healthy competition, and maintain their health and safety in their own environment.
One of the big reasons, of course, for some type of second bubble is the development of young players. There is historical evidence that shows that playing NBA games is not as crucial to player development as one might think.
There are a number of draft picks who have had to sit out their entire first seasons due to injuries. Missing that year did not delay their development. Players like Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons are both All-Star caliber players who both outplayed their projections as rookies.
Players can still get 5-on-5 experience in a mini-camp setting. The NBA may have to wait and see how Orlando goes before making a final decision on a second bubble.