The NBA, much like the rest of the United States, is seeing massive spikes in positive COVID tests and the result has been one of the strangest months of basketball in recent memory. More than 100 different players have signed a hardship 10-day with various NBA teams, as the league instituted new rules not just allowing but requiring teams to fill COVID-vacated roster spots with replacement players.
For some teams, they’ve arrived at games with more active replacement players than those who were on the roster to start the season, and the product has understandably suffered as teams have hastily cobbled together rosters playing for the first time without any practice in real, live NBA games. The new rules have had the intended effect of preventing mass postponements, as the league trudges on, hoping that the wave will subside soon enough, but sometimes the suddenness of cases and the travel time needed to get replacements in still keeps teams from reaching the eight-player minimum for action.
That happened to the Heat on Wednesday, as their game with the Spurs became the 10th postponement of the season, and on Thursday we had the 11th as the Nuggets’ roster crunch dipped them below the eight required with the Warriors coming to town. With Denver’s G League affiliate in Grand Rapids, Michigan, rather than a car ride away, there wasn’t a chance to get players into Denver in time for the game.
The following was released by the NBA: pic.twitter.com/GrxtY2ZzjU
— NBA Communications (@NBAPR) December 30, 2021
There has been some frustration about what teams have gotten postponements and what situations haven’t, as the Hawks have been hit hard recently but have been able to fill their roster spots with replacement players and the games have gone on. That is, in part, because their G League affiliate is in College Park, a 15-minute drive away (pending Atlanta traffic), whereas teams without a local affiliate find it far more difficult to make day-of call-ups.