A lot has been made about no fans attending NBA games in the Orlando bubble.
The phrase, 'it'll be interesting' keeps coming up when talking to players and coaches about the resumption of the season with no spectators.
Trail Blazers big man Zach Collins said that this unique situation isn’t going to force him to adjust his game or his trash talking.
I'm not going to change. So y'all might hear some pretty vulgar language coming out of my mouth, but, you know, I don't know... We'll see. I'll try to play it by ear. I don't want to change how I play and how I talk. But, we'll see. -- Trail Blazers big man Zach Collins
Okay, now that we’ve been forewarned, we’ll be ready for all the smack talk.
The league has been working with both national and regional television broadcast crews on the challenge of what should, and what will ultimately be heard over the airwaves.
There have been several ideas floated out there to how the television broadcast will look and feel, which includes the possibility of pumping out crowd noise to help out the 'home team.'
[Listen to the latest Talkin’ Blazers Podcast with hosts NBA Champion Channing Frye and Emmy Award winner Dan Sheldon].
Besides potentially hearing the players on the court a bit more than usual (or maybe a lot more), the players themselves have realized the experience without fans is part of the restart that they will need to adjust to quickly.
Trail Blazers veteran Carmelo Anthony mentioned this week that it will become obvious who really feeds off the crowd and needs that extra motivation.
"We as athletes, we rely on the fans to get momentum, and that's how you make runs, and that's how you get back in the game with your fans," Melo said on a Zoom call Tuesday. "Guys is not going to have that, so you're going to be tested to see how motivated you are as an individual. How much self-motivation you have to go out there and get yourself going and motivated to go play in front of no one. So you have that aspect."
Could the Trail Blazers coaching staff be more of a factor in a tiny gym with very limited people in attendance?
Portland’s coach Terry Stotts doesn’t believe so.
“I don't see the staff being more vocal because if you watch them during the game most coaches are pretty much into the game,” Stotts said Wednesday ahead of the Blazers traveling to Orlando on Thursday. “It's going to be interesting how the game is run, how the game looks on television, if they pipe in some sound and if the game in person is going to feel different than the game that you see on television. I'm pretty sure the league has a lot of plans in both those areas, but certainly… I don’t know if home-court exists right now. It might even be a better test of each team to winning and losing and not basing it on home-court. So that's going to be interesting. But, to answer your question, a lot of things now is just kind of speculation.”
Even though the players have said they've thought a lot about and even discussed with each other their expectations on having no crowd support, Coach Stotts is right; we are all just speculating right now.
The good news is, we now have just a little more than three weeks to continue to speculate until the 2019-20 NBA season resumes on July 30.