Should the NBA postpone the 2020–21 season?

From safety to finances, fans wonder about the fate of the NBA’s season

A hotly contested topic among National Basketball Association (NBA) fans is whether or not the season should be postponed due to the large number of players being infected with COVID-19. Pushing through the remainder of the season will result in the league generating more income, allowing its players to continue as normal. However, there are safety concerns, as many players have caught the virus on and off the court.

First, one must consider the health implications this may have on the players. Players have caught COVID-19 from other teams across the league, and eventually one of these cases may lead to a player getting really sick. Also, due to the condensed season schedule, more players are playing back-to-back sets, meaning players are getting injured more frequently.

Some matches have also been completely one-sided since some teams had to play with less players due to quarantine protocols and an increase in injuries. Notably, the Philadelphia 76ers, Boston Celtics, and Miami Heat have recently played games with only eight players instead of the usual 15 that teams can dress on any given night due to a combination of injuries and COVID-19 protocols. The 76ers in particular only had seven players because they activated Mike Scott from the injured reserve a game early in order to have the minimum requirement of eight players in their game.

It is unfair to teams who just so happened to have a player catch the virus, especially if all their players were following the NBA protocols correctly. The league should consider postponing games more often to level the playing field, because being unlucky with COVID-19 cases for a small period could derail a team’s playoff hopes.

Oftentimes, a player tests positive for the virus, and since they have been in contact with the other players on the roster, some of those contacts must also enter a mandatory quarantine.

The Heat, for example, had an even record before losing a large portion of their roster to the pandemic protocols and since have had a record of 2-3, including a devastating 120-100 loss to the last-place Detroit Pistons. Some games were postponed for the team, but they are still missing some of their most important players and have had to go into some games shorthanded.

Financially, however, it makes sense to push through the season. By doing so, the league may be able to recuperate some of the lost income they accrued by not being able to have fans in most arenas.

A significant portion of the league’s revenue is generated through hosting games in arenas around North America, which means the league is now relying on television ratings and NBA League Pass subscriptions for their revenues. Television revenues in all sports have been in decline for various reasons; for example, some leagues chose to have some early kickoff times while the majority of at-home spectators had work. As well, during prime time this year due to the pandemic, there was a period of time when the NBA, NFL, MLB, and NHL all had games. Usually, only two or three of these leagues are occurring at the same time, therefore people had to pick and choose which sport to watch on a given night.

Also, doing this would allow the league to keep player salaries and the salary cap consistent. If players’ salaries end up being affected by the pandemic, players may go on strike and a lockout situation may be initiated, like we have seen previously in the NHL and other sports leagues.

The NBA has rules in place which should be able to mitigate the spread of the virus amongst its players. However, there have been issues with players obeying the rules. Players such as James Harden and Kyrie Irving of the Brooklyn Nets have been known to go to bars and clubs, even though league rules specifically state to avoid these locations.

Postponing the NBA season would create more complications in terms of league finances and player salaries, but perhaps postponement is still the best option, as it might save some upcoming problems. There are strong cases on either side of the issue, and it is important to weigh the costs versus the benefits of such a move.

A small shutdown for a couple of weeks may help to get the players who are currently quarantined under the NBA’s health and safety protocols virus-free, but as long as COVID-19 is still impacting North America, the league will likely not be able to get back to normal.


Graphic by Taylor Reddam


A unique 2020 NBA Draft for a unique year

This year’s NBA Draft was exciting, eventful, and packed with surprises at every turn

After a long hiatus in the NBA, draft night is upon us. Fans will finally get to find out which of the exciting young prospects their team will add on from colleges, overseas professional teams, or perhaps even from Quebec CEGEPs. Tonight is very important for many teams, and it will shape franchises for years to come.

Before the draft, a few picks had already traded hands; the Portland Trail Blazers traded the 16th overall pick to the Houston Rockets, and their 2022 first round pick along with Trevor Ariza in exchange for Robert Covington. This year’s Trailblazers’ pick was eventually traded to the Detroit Pistons, who selected 6-foot-9 centre Isaiah Stewart.

One interesting change in this year’s draft is the change in the hat tradition. In previous years, players and their families have been handed caps of the team that drafts them. This year, they were given one of every team’s hats, to be ready for anything. Players held small draft parties with their families from the comfort of their homes, and when a player was drafted, their home and families were displayed on television.

This was emotional for many players, especially for Anthony Edwards, whose home had portraits of his mother and grandmother displayed since they had unfortunately passed away while Edwards was young.

Some very interesting selections were made during the draft, and there was plenty of excitement and drama surrounding them. Edwards was taken with the first overall selection by the Minnesota Timberwolves, and — despite a few flaws in his game, such as below average defense — is projected to be an excellent shooting guard to pair alongside D’Angelo Russell.

James Wiseman, the seven-foot tall centre from the University of Memphis Tigers was selected second overall, and should be able to help push a star-studded Warriors lineup back into finals contention. The infamous Lamelo Ball was selected third overall by the Charlotte Hornets.

Some players were drafted far higher than expected, and others fell down general managers’ draft boards. Patrick Williams, a combo forward who was expected to go around ninth overall, ended up being selected fourth overall by the Chicago Bulls, ahead of players projected to go much farther ahead, such as Obi Toppin (eighth overall) and Deni Avdija (ninth overall). Many Raptors fans were hoping that Isaiah Stewart would be available at pick 29, due to the team’s lack of centre depth, but the Pistons selected him with the 16th pick.

The Raptors selected two interesting guards. Malachi Flynn, a 6-foot-2 guard from the University of San Diego, has excellent playmaking ability reminiscent of Fred VanVleet, who just signed a four-year contract extension with the Raptors worth $85 million. Jalen Harris was selected at pick 59, and is projected to be a scoring machine. However, Harris is a very raw prospect and can use some time to develop in the G League before coming to the NBA.

This draft was very interesting, as there was a lot of fluctuation in people’s draft rankings. This draft projects to have a lot of excellent role players, but there was a distinct lack of star power, like Zion Williamson last season. Some more trades were finalized later on, due to the league’s various rules about trading such as the Stepien Rule, which states that no team can trade their first-round selections in two consecutive years.

The NBA implemented the rule after Cleveland Cavaliers owner Ted Stepien attempted to trade all of his first round draft picks, and succeeded in trading his first round picks from 1982 to 1986 in trades that ended up having poor returns. The league eventually had to step in, as he was actively ruining his franchise by doing so.

The main blockbuster trade of the night was a four-team trade which sent  Steven Adams from the Oklahoma City Thunder over to the New Orleans Pelicans, Jrue Holiday from the Pelicans to the Milwaukee Bucks, and had the Denver Nuggets exchanging a draft pick in 2023 in order to secure the draft rights to R.J. Hampton.


Graphic by @ariannasiviria

Yum or Yikes: Comptoir Koyajo in the time of the pandemic

Comptoir Koyajo has reopened during the pandemic, with some new brand safety measures

Last year, I visited an enticing Korean restaurant called Comptoir Koyajo. Located right near Loyola campus, this restaurant is very close-by and convenient for students to get a quick bite to eat in between classes and study sessions. I decided to go there again recently, since I had a little bit of time in between my online lectures and I live nearby. This restaurant’s layout has changed completely since the COVID-19 pandemic began, and has adjusted very well to this new reality people around the world are finding themselves in.

The ambience of Comptoir Koyajo is really well done given our current situation. Unfortunately, there is not enough room to have indoor seating. They converted the front door of the restaurant into a serving window, and there are a few picnic tables on the curb outside for patrons to enjoy their meals. One issue, however, is that the picnic tables outside are a bit too close to each other. Unfortunately, when I went, there seemed to be a beehive nearby, and they kept trying to pick at my food, so I ended up bringing my meal home.

Ambience: 3.5/5

The food tasted great! I ordered a spicy chicken plate, which consisted of some pulled chicken, steamed rice, and kimchi. There were many other options offered as well, such as sandwiches and ramen soups. The chicken was spiced perfectly; it wasn’t so spicy as to impact the flavour, but it wasn’t too bland at the same time. My only complaint was that the portion sizes were a bit small for a dinner, but they were perfectly sized for a small, healthy lunch option.

Food: 4.5/5

The price was around the average price of a meal in the area, $11 for the plate, but it came with the option of getting two dumplings for one extra dollar. On a warm day, their outdoor seating is perfect for getting a little bit of studying done and grabbing a quick bite to eat. Food delivery services such as UberEats, Skip the Dishes, and DoorDash are available too, but they are a little bit more expensive. It is not the cheapest meal in the world, but it is nice to get as an occasional treat for working hard during the week.

Price: 4/5

The service was excellent. The staff were extremely polite, and they tried their best to be positive, even during the pandemic. Their policy is to have customers line up at the door and wait for their food outside at the picnic tables they had installed in front of their store. However, the food took a little while to get prepared, and it was a cold day, so I had to stand outside trying to keep warm.

Service: 4/5

Comptoir Koyajo followed COVID-19 safety guidelines well. The employees inside were all wearing masks, and washed their hands after serving each customer. Even though no customers were allowed inside the building, the store still prominently displayed a bottle of hand sanitizer and recommended people to use it before eating. In these trying times, following COVID-19 directions is extremely important, and I’m glad that this restaurant is looking out for people.

COVID-19 Safety: 5/5

Comptoir Koyajo is a great option for students and people who work in the area around the Loyola Campus. Their food is delicious, healthy, and very much worth the short walk from campus. All in all, going to this restaurant was a great experience, even though it was a bit tough to eat outdoors due to the bees and to the cold weather. UberEats, Doordash, and Skip The Dishes deliver their food too, which is the safest option in the pandemic!


Photo by Kit Mergaert

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