NESN Diary: NBA Gives Us Real News To Be Excited About (And Other Random Thoughts)

Each day during the sports pause stemming from the coronavirus pandemic, NESN.com will publish a diary full of random thoughts, opinions, takeaways, and other cool tidbits we’ve stumbled across in the absence of actual games. Because why not? We’re all in this together.

We’ve been getting excited about of sports news that normally wouldn’t be considered that big of a deal under normal circumstances.

But Friday evening, all that changed.

The NBA released its full schedule of seeding games for the return at Walt Disney World on July 30, and man it feels good to be able to look ahead at the games, preview what some of the most interesting games will be and, most importantly, finally know what the road to the NBA Finals will look like for the Boston Celtics.

And for those wondering, the C’s return-to-play schedule looks pretty favorable. Let’s maybe thank the Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum duo, who apparently have had a major role in negotiations for the restart process.

But still, this light at the end of tunnel isn’t guaranteed to stay lit. The NBA and NBPA released a joint statement revealing that 16 of 302 players tested Tuesday were positive for COVID-19. That’s just over five percent, but players soon will be heading down to Florida for training camp, where new cases of the virus are spiking at a record rate.

Commissioner Adam Silver on Friday admitted that a “significant spread” of the coronavirus could force them to shut it all down again, but he’s confident they’ll be safer at Disney World and that the league can withstand an outbreak.

Fingers crossed, because I can’t wait to have my favorite sport, to watch and cover, back on television with live games.

And of course, all the NBA drama that comes along with it.

More NBA: League ‘Full Steam Ahead’ With Bubble Plan Despite Spike In COVID-19 Cases?

Here’s what else went on in the world of sports today:

— The NHL on Friday held its 2020 Draft Lottery.

Who earned the No. 1 overall selection, however, is to be determined.

Huh?

Here’s the deal. In a pretty surprising result, a team that did well enough to qualify for the NHL’s return will be awarded first choice, A.K.A., Alexis Lafreniere. Obviously COVID-19 messed some things up, so only the teams who won’t be participating in the NHL return now know their draft position. After the play-in round, there will be another draft lottery.

Does that make a little more sense to you now? I didn’t think so. But still, check out which teams have the second-through-eighth overall picks.

— The New England Patriots will be without future Hall of Fame quarterback Tom Brady going forward, but one NFL analyst thinks the team may be better off this year. Still, like the rest of us, David Andrews certainly will miss him after returning from a year off as a result of some scary blood clots in his lungs.

The question is, will Brady miss us? Or, more specifically, will he miss playing for the Patriots? Hopefully. But we now at least have an idea of how Rob Gronkowski feels.

According to Brady, Gronk texted him shortly after signing with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to say “football is fun again.”

That stings.

— Sticking with the NFL, the rocky relationship between All-Pro safety Jamal Adams and the New York Jets has been well documented. Friday, rumors circulated around about who the Jets would be willing to trade him for, but coach Adam Gase refuted the whispers about his relationship with Adams.

— Some news from the NASCAR world:

Bubba Watson has had better weeks, but he’s challenging the sport to progress towards racial equality. On Friday evening, he predicted a difference in reaction towards fans protesting NASCAR’s Confederate flag ban in contrast to the Black Lives Matter movements.

And on another serious note, Natalie Decker will not compete in the Pocono Organics 150 To Benefit Farm Aid truck race due to bile duct complications, which have kept her hospitalized since earlier this week.

— I’ve been attending the Travelers Championship since one of my best friends moved down to Cromwell, Conn. and I must say, it really stinks to not be heading down to TPC River Highlands this weekend for the first time in over nine years.

Especially with Phil Mickelson at 13-under par heading into Saturday. It’s nice to see him playing well, though.

— The National Women’s Soccer League is the first United States team sport to return on Saturday. Thanks to COVID-19, it will be without a handful of stars from the 2019 Women’s World Cup, but the NWSL return will be a great look at what is to come for the future of the U.S. women’s national team. Here’s what you should know before tuning in.

— Everyone’s favorite two-way players, Tacko Fall and Tremont Waters, both were named to the All-NBA G League squad for their great rookie season with the Maine Red Claws. Congrats, guys!

Stat of the Day
Let’s check up on some strength of schedule data amongst NBA teams, shall we?

Tweet of the Day
Welcome to 2020, an alternate universe where Red Sox players are driving north from Florida up to Massachusetts for spring training. In the summer, no less.

But still, Michael Chavis is shipping up to Boston. It’s a long drive, but he’s hyped.

Video of the Day
And as Chavis is making his way towards Fenway Park, so is all the Red Sox’s equipment. The team posted a Truck Day video Friday on Twitter captioned, “One day closer to baseball.”

More NBA: Two Celtics Stars Were Heavily Involved In NBA Restart Process