Pistons try to come grips with new normal as their world is turned upside down
Detroit — Throughout the six-month NBA season, there is a certain rhythm and pace to each week. In any given week, there usually are three or four games, with practices in between and generally one day off.
The routine is predictable and is rarely broken, even on long road trips or home stands.
The COVID-19/coronavirus pandemic has changed the daily routine for everyone, For NBA players, the past week has been a new experience, with downtime in March, as the world adjusts to a new normal.
Under normal circumstances, Pistons coach Dwane Casey would have been doing game preparation this week, ahead of what would have been a Friday matchup at Little Caesars Arena against the Golden State Warriors.
After the league suspended the remainder of the season, with 16 games left for the Pistons, many of the players were in limbo with figuring out how to move forward. Although there was some initial optimism that the season could continue in a few weeks, that’s been replaced with a timetable of at least a month.
Commissioner Adam Silver has floated ideas that the season could resume in the summer, depending on how the dire situation with the virus plays out. On Thursday, the league sent a memo instructing teams to close practice facilities beginning Friday, leaving players without a place to work out or shoot, as they previously were prohibited from using public gyms or facilities.
The Pistons already were on a 14-day self-isolation period since the season was suspended on March 11. It’s left players such as Langston Galloway clamoring for the old routine, trying to stay active around the house and getting to spend time with his wife and 2-year-old son, Langston II.
“Nothing too fun, just cleaning up the house one room per day,” Galloway told The Detroit News. “While I'm doing push-ups and other exercises (Deuce tries) to imitate.”
Although players are advised to stay in their home markets, with the added restriction Thursday to not travel outside of North America, there’s more home time and opportunity to rest and recuperate from 66 games of a grueling season.
Taking a few weeks off isn’t the worst thing for Galloway, hoping that the season can restart at some point.
“(I’m) letting the body heal up right now,” Galloway said. “Lots of bumps and bruises that need to heal up.”
Presumably, with a long layoff and a potential resumption of the season, the players will need a few weeks to get back to their normal playing shape and level of activity. In the interim, unless a player has a home basketball court, finding a place to get shots could be an issue.
Casey is watching a lot of TV in his downtime.
That includes studying Pistons games from earlier this season, trying to improve one of the league’s worst reams in defense and rebounding.
“Watching game film, trying to see what we can do differently defensively,” Casey said. “New ideas to experiment with for next year.
“Also watching a lot of draft film. Very unusual for this time of year.”
Most of that preparation is just theoretical, given the uncertainty about where the Pistons will be drafting, and which players will be in the eligibility pool for the draft. There’s still more to be decided, but for coaches, something has to fill the time.
It’s not all work, though.
Casey also is spending time with his wife Brenda and their two children. As unusual as it is to be studying draft prospects, it’s even more unusual for a basketball coach to be around the house for an extended period at this point in the season — even for a college coach.
The Caseys are making the most of it with family time.
“We set a time together for family movie night,” Casey said. “My wife measured the seating 6 to 8 feet apart to make sure we stayed within the social distancing rules.”
Social distancing still applies.
Two of the newest Pistons seemed to be handling their self-isolation well. Whether it was video games or TV shows, players are trying to find other diversions without basketball as an option.
Henson was frustrated by a slowdown in playing the soccer game FIFA 20 online.
“Woah woah woah... FIFA servers down? ... Ok now things are getting out of hand lol #selfquarantine,” Henson posted on Twitter.
Jordan McRae is asking Issa Rae for an early release for the HBO comedy “Insecure,” which is slated to have its season premiere on April 12.
“I don’t ask for much from anybody but all I want is @IssaRae to drop insecure early in this time of need,” McRae wrote.