It’s now been 15 long days without NBA basketball, and it seems as though the shutdown of one of the biggest sports leagues in the world has affected nearly everyone.
All within a span of 20-ish minutes, Tom Hanks revealed that he had contracted SARS-CoV-2, better known as COVID-19, then Rudy Gobert’s test results came back positive, just minutes before the Utah Jazz and Oklahoma City Thunder were set to tip-off for another normal night of NBA Action, which ultimately led to one of the most unheralded moments in sports history.
The Athletic’s Shams Charania and ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski tweeted within seconds of each other that the NBA had decided to suspend its season. For the first time in history, a real-world medical problem and sports had collided head-on. What was to come after was unknown to many, but it was a sign that this pandemic was more serious than anyone could have originally expected.
Millions of basketball fans on the opposite side of the world from where the virus originated were snapped out of their hypnotic state, forced to open their eyes to the tragic real world around us. The pandemic had converged on our sanctuary, and the last two weeks have been a nightmare.
The Coronavirus has completely altered everyone’s life. There are history books on the medieval times, on the first pioneers of North America, on the world wars, and almost certainly; what humanity is going through in this moment will have one of its own.
Sports helps us get through tough times. People turn to sportsbooks, or fantasy leagues, or sitting down and catching a game with friends for some recreation. Right now, we have neither friends whom we can hang out with, nor sports to kick back and enjoy watching.
Some things are bigger than basketball; absolutely; unquestionably; unequivocally.
But with all this time on our hands and a lack of activities to pursue, it’s hard not to let “what if’s” swirl through your head.
If the NBA season had continued on as normally, might the Toronto Raptors have had their first 60-win season in franchise history? Might they still, if the NBA is able to resume after the pandemic begins to subside?
Currently sitting at a record of 46-18, the Raptors would mathematically be projected to win 59 games this season, while fivethirtyeight has them sitting at a projected 57 wins.
Out of the final scheduled 18 games of the season, 10 were supposed to be against losing teams. On the season prior, Toronto owns the second best record in the league against teams below the .500 mark, at 35-4. Let’s say they took care of business, and went 9-1 through those 10 games, as the numbers might predict. That means that in order to win 60, the Raptors would have to beat 5 out of the 8 remaining teams over .500, which with The Playoffs right around the corner, is not a ridiculous expectation.
After simulating the end of the season 10 times on NBA 2K (because we’re just that bored these days), 5 times out of 10, the Raptors finished the season with 60 wins, and once, even went on to win the championship.
Most Raptors fans would be happy taking a 10% chance at repeating as NBA Champions. Assuredly all Raptors fans would be happy just being able to watch their team in The Playoffs this year – or any professional basketball for that matter.