Portland Trailblazers point guard Damian Lillard expressed his doubts about NBA restart and the bubble in Orlando. When the rumors about NBA’s resumption were going around, Damian Lillard came out with the statement “I don’t want to play meaningless games if Trailblazers don’t have a real shot at winning”. However, he believes the current plan in action for deciding the 8th seed is fair and he is willing to compete in the 8-game series.
Trailblazers were crippled with injuries right before COVID-19 put a stop to the regular-season. Centre Jusuf Nurkic has been in rehab for a year, Damian Lillard came fresh off of an injury before the suspension and Zach Collins missed 3 months due to shoulder injury. The last playoff spot in the western conference is one to fight for. Six non-playoff teams are invited to the bubble for deciding the 8th seed.
The NBA has taken several steps to ensure safety and a risk-free environment. Regular testing, trackers for generic health metrics, complete isolation from the outside world to state a few. However, soaring positive cases in Florida may pose as a hindrance to the bubble plan. While there may be a divide in the NBPA about the resumption plan, it’s mostly because of the prevailing social conditions in America. Although some players have expressed their concerns over the ‘supposed’ infection-free and safe environment in Orlando.
Los Angeles Lakers guard Avery Bradley has withdrawn himself from the 2020 season while Dwight Howard and Lou Williams are still unsure. Several players who were invited to Orlando tested positive for coronavirus the past week, which puts the bubble plan in jeopardy. On top of that, it is highly restrictive for players as well, not allowing them to meet their family until the second round of playoffs. Damian Lillard opines it’s impossible to keep all the players under control.
“Basketball and Chill” will be Damian Lillard ‘s motto in Orlando Bubble
In conversation with ESPN, Damian Lillard extensively talked about the Bubble plan and how it may not be completely exposure free. He even questioned if NBA had players’ “best interest” in their mind before devising all these protocols. He feels it is not possible to keep 100+ players in complete isolation when there are all sorts of recreational activities mentioned in the 113-page document which gives detailed instructions about the bubble.
“My confidence ain’t great because you’re telling me you’re gonna have 22 teams full of players following all the rules? When we have 100 percent freedom, everybody don’t follow all the rules. I don’t have much confidence. But hopefully it’ll be handled to a point where we’re not putting everybody at risk or in a dangerous position.”
When asked if he’d participate in any of the recreational activities like playing video games with the players, one on one golf he refused.
“I know there’re going to activities for us and all that stuff, but I mean, I’m gonna be chilling. I’m gonna be in the room. I’m gonna have my PS3, my PS4, I’m gonna have my studio equipment, my mic, my laptop, I’m gonna have all my books. That’s it, man. I’m gonna be in the room, chilling.”
He believes the Portland Trailblazers have a real shot at making it to the playoffs despite several injured players. Moreover, he is excited about the NBA restart, the opportunity they have, and to make the most out of it.