NBA IS SETTING A GREAT EXAMPLE

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

Russell Westbrook
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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Following Houston's 6-4 road trip, the Astros returned home to finish the first "half" of the season before the All Star break hosting Florida and Texas. Houston's road trip was filled with clutch performances in New York, dominance in taking 3 of 4 in Toronto, and a dose of close calls and tough realities with a short-handed team against Minnesota.

Now the Astros hope to take care of business against the lowly Marlins and division rival Rangers. The Texas series, in particular gives Houston the opportunity to reassert their hold on the #2 spot ahead of the Rangers who have won their last 5 games in a row (as of the time this was published). Both teams have won 7 of their last 10 games and hope to catch a free-falling Seattle team to overtake the division lead.

Dana Brown told the media last week he expects both Justin Verlander and Kyle Tucker to be reactivated following the All-Star break but Tucker's updates continue to be more promising than Verlander's and MUCH more promising than Lance McCullers. Astros manager informed the media this week that McCullers has been shut down from throwing after his arm did not respond well to his recent bullpen sessions and the team is formulating the plan for what's next for the embattled pitcher. McCullers hasn't pitched since the 2022 postseason and underwent season-ending flexor tendon surgery last June. McCullers is under contract with Houston until 2026.

An eventual return for Kyle Tucker would spur a juggling act from Joe Espada to find a proper balance of time for all his outfielders, none of which have separated themselves offensively. Chas McCormick had a great month of June recording an .804 OPS but that run looks more like an anomaly as his scuffles have continued over the past 2.5 weeks, recording just 4 hits over his last 32 plate appearances.

While Jake Meyers has wowed fans and teammates with his glove this season, his offense has hit a skid, hitting just .184 with a .565 OPS over the past month. After rookie Joey Loperfido's torrid debut, he too has struggled with the bat, hitting just .216 with .599 OPS over the same time period.

An unexpected bright spot has been the recent play of first baseman Jon Singleton. Over the last 4 weeks, "Big Jon" is batting .302 with an .802 OPS. It's worth mentioning that Singleton's season numbers are better than Florida's Josh Bell, who drew interest from Astros fans over the past several seasons as a potential answer at first base. Bell has 135 more ABs this season so its not quite an apples-to-apples comparison but there's no doubt Singleton's contributions were sorely needed following the release of Jose Abreu.

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