NBA IS SETTING A GREAT EXAMPLE

How Russell Westbrook's positive test proves league protocols are working

Photo by Getty Images.

Russell Westbrook made news Monday when he announced that he tested positive for COVID-19. However, the significance of Westbrook testing positive BEFORE he departed with the rest of his Rockets teammates to Orlando proves that the NBA testing protocols are working.

You never want to see anyone test positive for coronavirus but it is important to try and put things in perspective and not be alarmed over every positive test. The league announced the results of 322 tests that they have conducted on players since teams started to arrive inside the Disney World bubble. Out of the 322 players tested just two were positive and those players are isolating away from everybody else. I'm not a math guy but 0.6% of players testing positive is an unbelievably strong number for the league. Let's hope the media focuses on the 0.6% instead of the two players on-site that have COVID-19.

Testing positive for COVID-19 is not an automatic death sentence and some in the media need to stop treating it as if it is. Positive tests are happening around our country and unfortunately, they will continue to happen. You can't eradicate this virus overnight but you can try and be careful and take proper measures to help contain it as the NBA has done. Any athlete that gets the virus is surrounded by the best doctors the league can provide.

I initially questioned the NBA restarting in late July when it was first announced at the beginning of June as I had hoped to see the league return sooner, but I now understand why the NBA did what it did. The late July start allowed teams to test their players regularly once training facilities reopened in anticipation of traveling down to Orlando for the restart. This helped prevent anyone that has the virus from spreading it to teammates and others before traveling to the bubble. Now having an additional two weeks to prepare for the 8 game regular season, means that a player like Westbrook that has COVID-19 can still fully recover, test negative, travel down to Orlando, and not miss a significant amount of games as long as he proves that he is healthy.

The NBA has made it possible to resume its season by having a great testing protocol in place to prevent a virus outbreak and by spending the money to make the bubble happen. Props to Commissioner Adam Silver and the NBAPA for taking this seriously and for getting it right.


You can listen to The Jake Asman Show weekdays from 8 AM -10 AM Central on SB Nation Radio.

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Rockets get another much-needed win. Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images.

The Houston Rockets went on a redemption tour by beating the Detroit Pistons and Dallas Mavericks. But the most pivotal win was against the Mavericks as the Rockets finally showed their true potential. John Wall finally made his return from his injury hiatus and played with a lot of energy. DeMarcus Cousins and Eric Gordon combined for 61 points. It was great to see Stephan Silas crack a smile as he was able to beat his former team.

The Rockets clearly missed Wall during his eight-game absense. This season, the Rockets are a .500 team with Wall on the court. Wall is the Rockets' floor general that leads, constructs, and also pushes his teammates to become better.

Wall only played 21 minutes in the 133-108 win over the Mavericks but still had eight assists. Even though Wall only had 7 points, his presence was still felt by finding his teammates for open looks beyond the perimeter. Wall made sure Cousins and Gordon got a plethora of touches. He called multiple actions, so they got open looks from three, which was mainly Gordon. Gordon and Cousins' struggles have been similar but with Wall on the court, they were successful against the Mavericks. According to NBA Stats, Wall posted a 111 offensive rating with the starters versus the Mavericks, which included Gordon and Cousins.

"He's the engine to this team. He gets everybody going. He makes the game easy," Cousins told a reporter after the game. "The pressure that he constantly puts on the defense is a tough thing to deal with."

Gordon has struggled all season long with three-point shooting and relied on his slashing abilities. Saturday night, Gordon made six three pointers against the Mavericks, which was 66 percent from beyond the perimeter. Gordon increased his three-point percentage from 31 percent to 34.5 percent after Saturday night's game. Gordon's 33 points came from being able to attack the entire Mavericks' defense. Willy Cauley-Stein didn't stand a chance against Gordon as he was burned multiple times. Gordon's been a lifesaver for the Rockets in the last two games, and hopefully he maintains his play.

Cousins played fantastic against the Mavericks scoring 28 points and grabbing 17 rebounds. This is Cousins' first double-double with the Rockets this season. Cousins became the vintage player from the New Orleans Pelicans and Sacramento Kings. It was extremely fun watching Cousins push the ball up the court and aggressively snatch rebounds. Boogie shot 50 percent from behind the arc by making four three-pointers. He was dominant inside the paint as Cousins went 7/8 from the restricted area versus the Mavericks. This was the game Cousins needed after having a poor performance against the Pistons Friday night.

"It was really, really good. He did it all. He's a physical presence on both ends of the floor," as Silas said on Cousins' performance.

David Nwaba and Mason Jones were big factors off the Rockets' bench by having a combined total of 34 points together. Nwaba has been great in transition for the Rockets the entire season. Keep in mind that Nwaba is returning from an Achilles injury he suffered with his former team, the Brooklyn Nets. Nwaba has became a great defender, slasher, and is averaging a career-high nine points per game with the Rockets. He finished with 18 points on Saturday night versus the Mavericks.

Mason Jones has become a fan favorite of the Rockets because of his confidence. Silas is loving the usage of Jones off the bench but wants to find more minutes for him. Jones had a breakout performance versus the San Antonio Spurs with 24 points off 66 percent shooting from the field. He continues to get better with his reads from the point guard position. Jones' knowledge of running the offense has helped his efficiency on the court. He is never afraid to take clutch shots in pivotal moments of the game.

"To have a young kid who can come in and not be afraid of the moment, that's big. That's a tough position to be in as an undrafted rookie. I trust him. It's a good problem to have," Silas mentioned after the game. "He's showing me he's ready. He's a confident kid, and he should be. That's why he's good. He's not afraid of the moment, at all. He can get us organized, run plays, and score the basketball."

Hopefully, the Rockets can sustain their level of play when Victor Oladipo returns against the Washington Wizards, Tuesday. It will be interesting to watch Oladipo and Wall play in the same backcourt.

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