Detroit Pistons winning most important battle

Head coach Dwane Casey of the Detroit Pistons (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Head coach Dwane Casey of the Detroit Pistons (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images) /

The Detroit Pistons have been one of the few NBA teams who have been able to avoid losing players due to COVID-19 protocols.

When a Detroit Pistons player has missed a game so far this season, it has been for the normal reasons: Injury, load management or concussion protocol.

The NBA has seen COVID-19, and its ensuing protocols, have caused the postponement of games or teams having to play without half of their roster. So far, the Pistons have not lost a player due to the virus, or to the league health and safety protocols..

Detroit’s scheduled opponent on Friday, the Washington Wizards, have had their game on Wednesday against the Utah Jazz postponed, as they did not have enough players.

Detroit is good to go for its Wednesday game with Milwaukee:

NBA new protocols affect Detroit Pistons

  • On Tuesday, the NBA came out with new, tougher protocols in an attempt to cut down on players getting exposed to the virus. Some of them you will notice during Pistons games.

Among the new rules:

  • For at least the next two weeks, players and team staff are required to remain at their residence when home, with a few exceptions like going to the arena.
  • For at least the next two weeks, any pre-game meeting in the locker room is limited to no more than 10 minutes, and all attendees must wear a facemask.
  • During the pre- and post-game periods, players must limit interactions to elbow or fist bumps (i.e. no hugging opposing players or high fives).
  • All players must wear facemasks on the bench at all times except when coming out of a game.

Some of the new protocol rules are set to expire in two weeks. At practice on Tuesday, coach Dwane Casey said they had been warned by NBA Commissioner Adam Silver that January would be the toughest month, in terms of dealing with the virus.

As for the precautions the Pistons are taking, according to James Edwards III of The Athletic, Casey said:

"“We’re very concerned. I trust that our players are being smart when they go home.”"

The Detroit coaches have made sure the players are wearing masks when not in the game, something now mandatory for every NBA team.

The Pistons youth might, in a way, have helped them avoid losing players to COVID-19 protocols. Being their first year in a strange city, and with no family living with them, a lot of the players can compartmentalize their lives fairly easily.

Outside of getting food and supplies, a player can avoid contact with anyone not associated with the team. NBA players and team personnel are tested daily.

Of course, in the big picture, missing some basketball games is not important in a worldwide pandemic. But, if the Pistons ever had to do what the Philadelphia 76ers and Miami Heat have gone through, and play with a mismatched roster of eight players, it probably would be a rough experience.

Detroit has many inexperienced players who may not be ready for big minutes. They also have vets like Wayne Ellington, Blake Griffin and Derrick Rose, who you would rather not have log 40+ minutes in a game.

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Whether through luck, planning or the personal diligence of its players, coaches and staff, the Detroit Pistons have managed to avoid, so far, the biggest pitfalls of playing in a world with COVID-19 still quite active.