Basketball is almost back.
We think. We hope.
And that means that players are back at their team’s facility working out, getting ready for the resumed season in Orlando come July 31st.
Several teams have dealt with players testing positive with Covid-19, as 25 of the 351 players league-wide have tested positive, yet the Mavericks have remained safe of the virus, General Manager Donnie Nelson told the media on Wednesday.
Though the threat of Coronavirus has hit the Mavericks in other ways, as noted last week that Willie Cauley-Stein would be opting out of Orlando due to he and his partner expecting a baby this month. Real life situations certainly come into play when it comes to deciding if playing during the pandemic is a smart thing to do. Every player has different circumstances that they must weigh.
For Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis, there was no hesitation when deciding whether they would play or not in Orlando. “No, I never hesitated. I always wanted to play,” Doncic told the media on Thursday via Zoom. “I miss basketball a lot so I just want to play. There was no question about me.”
Porzingis shared the same sentiment as his counterpart on Friday when speaking to the media. “That was never really in my mind. I knew if we had the opportunity to play and the NBA was able to put it all together where it was safe for everybody, there was no doubt in my mind that I was going to play and help the team,” Porzingis told the media.
When the season was put to a halt, the Mavericks were rolling, especially the surging chemistry between Doncic and Porzingis. With such an erupt stoppage, one may wonder if that chemistry will take a hit; KP has no worries.
“I don’t think it’s gonna be that tough. We’ve been working out with Luka since we’ve been back. For us, once we got to know a little bit more of each other on the court, it was only a matter of time for us to really get that chemistry going and I don’t think we’re going to take a step back. We’re only looking forward and we’re only gonna make steps forward in terms of that,” Porzingis said of he and Luka’s chemistry.
For both Doncic and Porzingis, this will be their first playoff appearance in the NBA. And for the Mavericks as a franchise, this marks their first appearance in the postseason since 2015-16.
“I could feel we all got a little more extra juice now when we’re working out because we know what’s coming. We know for a lot of guys this is gonna be the first time we experience this so everyone is working really, really hard and ready to show it on the court,” Porzingis said of the playoffs.
Though this postseason is like any other that these players or the entire league has experienced, it’s still the postseason. There’s still a champion to be crowned and some may say this championship will be the hardest to win ever.
“It’s hard for me to predict how it’s going to be. This is going to be my first playoff experience and no matter how the circumstances are, I’m going to try to get the most out of it,” Porzingis said. “Going forward, we’ll see how it is but my goal is to have a postseason every year for now on.”
The Mavericks currently sit as the 7th seed in the Western Conference at 40-27 with a chance to sneak their way up the standings during the eight ‘seeding games’ to avoid the likes of the Los Angeles Clippers in the first round.
“All of our mindsets are that we’re a dangerous team and I think we can surprise people and that’s gotta be our mindset.”
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