It’s been almost 10 weeks since the 2019-20 NBA season was suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic and team facilities are slowly opening back up with the hopes that some form of a season can resume late this summer.
The Charlotte Hornets opened up their practice facilities on Tuesday with many limitations to help prevent spreading any sickness, including only four players allowed at the facility at a time.
Rookie guard Cody Martin is one of the players who has gotten back into the gym and is just glad there is some type of structure returning to his life.
“I think the biggest thing is being able to have a concrete routine because things change, especially when you do things on your own it’s hard to get things moving and have access to everything you did before,” Martin said on a Friday Zoom call. “It feels good to just get back into it.”
When the season was paused, the Hornets had a 23-42 record, sitting seven games out of an Eastern Conference playoff spot.
It’s still uncertain whether all 30 teams would resume playing if the season began, there would be a play-in tournament, or the playoffs would automatically begin, leaving the Hornets at home.
“Of course, I want the season to come back and I want to be able to play, and for us to get back in the gym and have a concrete routine and do that every single day, that’ll help us take the steps forward and make sure that happens,” Martin said.
The league has had discussions about resuming the season at the end of July in two locations. One likely destination is Walt Disney World.
“It would be very difficult for us to how it was before traveling and staying in hotels, because it’s still an issue pretty much everywhere right now,” Martin added. “It would be tough to do that (Play in Orlando) but that’s what I’ve heard and if that was the case, how they would do it, the precautions, the tests, the amount of people that could be there, and there still wouldn’t be fans, it’s just a lot that goes into it. They’re working really hard on maintaining best-case scenarios and situations that would protect everybody.”
As of now, the Hornets and other NBA teams are required to have very limited staff in the building and have to take their temperature before they enter the facility, and only allow two players on the court and two in the gym or treatment room at a time.
Players also cannot touch the same basketball or weights without being sanitized properly first.
“They’re doing everything to stay safe so when we return home we’ve done everything you can in your power that you’re not spreading anything,” Martin said. “They’ve done a great job making sure that’s the case. I feel nothing but safe while I’m here. That’s why I’m really glad that we’re back. Not only to see staff and teammates but being in a safe place while I’m doing it.”
Martin was having a solid rookie season, playing 18.8 minutes per game and averaging 5.0 points, 3.3 rebounds and 2.0 assists.
His biggest impact had been on the defensive side of the ball.
While quarantine set him back, he’s taking advantage of the limited access players are getting now.
“It’s a little bit weird because you’re treating it like it is the offseason in the sense that you’re working on things that you need to work on and getting a head start on those things you were looking to do throughout the summer,” Martin said. “You just don’t know how the season is going to turn out. It gives me a head start on things I need to work on and I’m taking advantage of this time.”
The facilities reopening is a first step, but there is still a lot of uncertainty that remains.
Until then, Martin will continue to do what players have been told and keep a positive mindset.
“I’m just glad we’re able to get back. It gives me some hope,” Martin said. “I’m being optimistic and all we can do is wait around. At the end of the day, first and foremost is everyone’s health and that’s what we have to take into account over everything.