Sounds like a lot of people’s daily routine. With the Nets players work place shuttered, it’s all about group chats, FaceTiming, calls to doctors, hallway workouts, deliveries, etc, So, yes, in some ways, the players’ lives can strike a familiar tone. Of course, the players don’t have to worry about where their next check is coming from ... and they’ve all been tested for the coronavirus.
Still, with HSS Training Center closed (other than for rehab) and all other workout locations off limits by a league decree, the team is trying hard to give the players a sense of stability, a routine. The four players who tested positive appear to be doing well. There’s been no word, other than Kevin Durant’s admission he’s one of the four, about who the identity or condition of the players.
Otherwise, based on what we’ve seen and heard, the 17 players that make up the roster are still part of a team, still bonding and like the rest of us, still taking care and hoping for a quick return to work. Here’s what we know...
—The players are very much into the team’s group chat. Spencer Dinwiddie talked about that in his GQ interview. In answer to a question about Durant’s status, Dinwiddie replied “We all text each other in our team chat. We checked on him, but that’s not a big topic of conversation.” Similarly, Garrett Temple told The Athletic about how teammates used the chat to offer their thoughts to KD and the others. “As a team, we have a group chat and everybody told him they were thinking about him and things of that nature, as well as the other guys.”
—Workouts begin in the morning with in-house training session, everyone connected by video links. Again, Dinwiddie: “The Brooklyn Nets have really done a good job of sending over programs and FaceTiming in, offering guidance for workouts,” which he described as “jailhouse workouts.”
—The team has provided workout equipment to the players’ home. Temple mentioned that in his “We’re Here” chat with Michael Grady. The Nets, he noted, had sent each of them personal exercise equipment and a 1 ½-hour workout regimen. Among the equipment are weights and exercise bicycles, Temple told The Athletic.
—In addition to what’s needed to keep them in shape, the Nets have provided players with the necessities, particularly food. Lots of it. “The Nets are supplying us with groceries, with food, so it’s consistent here. We know exactly what we’re going to get,” said Temple. There’s also nutritional and diet recommendations.
—The performance team is heavily involved in developing the regimens. Again, Temple: “Best believe Dan Meehan (director of sports science) and Dan Liburd (strength and conditioning coach) can find ways to make sure you stay in shape wherever you are,” Temple told Grady. “You could be on the moon with nothing and they’re going to find ways to make sure you stay in shape.”
—The Nets have told all their players to be in “constant communications” with the team medical staff, according to their statement announcing that the test results on March 17. The organization also noted that that the four who tested positive are “under the care of team physicians.” The Nets’ Team Performance Psychologist is also available.
“I think what I’m seeing so far from how our group — with Jacque (Vaughn) and his assistants — how they’re working through this and how they’re reaching out to players and their collaborative approach within the organization has been great,” Sean Marks said during a conference call with the media.
“I think it’s extremely important that everybody has not only my support but the owner’s support and front office’s support during this time. That’s our priority,” he said. “It hasn’t gone unnoticed by our players,” Marks added.
And as we’ve reported, some players are being highly creative in trying to keep in shape...
There’s a lot of virtual locker room jousting too, some of which made it on online. Like when Nets assistant coach and development director suggested some exercises on Twitter...
No need to, built like a Greek god, and I have no intention of passing ever again lol https://t.co/R6TN4l0aJf— Spencer Dinwiddie (@SDinwiddie_25) March 25, 2020
As for competition, video games are never far away. (Nicolas Claxton is supposed to be the champ in that category.)
Players are also reconnecting with their families, going through long neglected reading lists and seeking Netflix recommendations as well as embracing other endeavors, things like cooking (Dinwiddie), law school admission preps (Temple) and art appreciation (Wilson Chandler). Whatever gets through the day.
Can it all work if the NBA decides to renew play? Dinwiddie admits there’s a big difference between what the Nets are doing in their hallways ... and on their rooftops ... and game shape. He also notes that a rush back could jeopardize players’ health, particularly that of veterans.
“You’ve got to do something to stay in relative shape. There’s no way to stay in NBA mid-season shape, though...
“I can’t speak for specific timing, but we definitely will need time to get back in NBA shape. The example I use is that LeBron James is 35. He’s got several more years left. You wouldn’t want to rush him back into playing. If he gets hurt, then you lose the back-end of his career. You’re throwing guys into the highest intensity scenario possible. It’s not like you’re starting the season at the beginning when some guys come in a little out of shape with time to ramp up. This is like, go win a championship.
How long will it last? No one knows the answer to that question or what a renewed season might look like. Still, the Nets and presumably other teams are trying, like the rest of us, to come up with a new normal that can sustain them till the old normal returns.
“It wouldn’t be exactly right to say it feels like the off-season,” Wilson Chandler wrote in The Players’ Tribune. “It’s weird because … it’s like it’s the off-season, as far as our doing nothing. But mentally? It’s not the off-season because there’s so much going on with the virus.”