The last two NBA seasons have been anything but normal. The 2019-20 NBA season was cut short for some teams due to the start of the coronavirus pandemic and ended in a bubble. The 2020-21 NBA season started mostly without fans but there will be larger crowds by the time the Finals come around.
And now, the 2021-22 NBA season is expected to be business as usual. Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium reported it earlier on Thursday.
Sources: Key dates for the 2021-22 NBA season:— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) June 10, 2021
Sept. 28: Training camp starts
Oct. 19: Regular season starts
April 16: Playoffs start
June 2: Finals Game 1
June 19: Finals Game 7
June 23: 2022 NBA Draft
This is not unexpected. Most of the United States’ adult population has received at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine and over 40 percent have been fully vaccinated. In Canada, over half have also received at least one shot, though the proportion of fully vaccinated Canadians lag behind those of Americans at this time. The point of vaccines is to move back to a life that will resemble a pre-pandemic normal, right?
What does this mean for the Washington Wizards specifically?
For starters, it will mean that their first round draft pick (15th overall) and now-sophomore forward Deni Avdija will have less break time between the Summer League (August) and the next season where training camp will begin in late September,
For Rui Hachimura, who will be the Wizards’ sole Olympian basketball player — for now — he won’t have as much time to rest between the games in Tokyo (I’m assuming they’re happening anyway) and training camp. The same would apply for Bradley Beal and Russell Westbrook, if they play for the United States this summer.
And for players with season-ending injuries last year like Thomas Bryant, he may miss some time next season, as Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington noted.
The NBA is going back to its usual calendar to start the 2021-22 regular season in October. For the Wizards, it’s worth noting Thomas Bryant had his ACL surgery in February. Usually a 9-12 mo. recovery, so he could miss some time early on.— Chase Hughes (@ChaseHughesNBCS) June 10, 2021
While things appear to be looking much better here at home, I want to make it clear that the coronavirus pandemic is far from over on a worldwide scale. More people died of it this year than last year, according to an article in The Wall Street Journal.
If anything, the less-developed world and East Asian countries like South Korea and Japan (which are highly developed but not well-vaccinated) may still have more devastating waves ahead even though the highly developed Western World (ex: the European Union, United Kingdom, Canada and the United States) may have a good degree of herd immunity by this fall, if not sooner. My hope is that the world gets these vaccines as soon as possible so we can move past the pandemic.
That said, now that people are vaccinated at a high rate, it is important to get back to business as usual. I’m very happy to see that we are about to get back to NBA games as usual again, starting this fall when the Wizards begin their 2021-22 season.