For NBA fans in Florida, the postponement to the current season due to COVID-19 has been a real frustration. Of course, many Floridians have got through this time by playing fun games at NJ live dealer casinos or catching up with other sports that are still running. The excellent news for basketball followers now is that the NBA has recently announced plans to restart the season at the end of July 2020. While this might not have raised too many eyebrows, the setting for the remaining games did. The 22 teams coming back will all be playing and staying at Walt Disney World in Florida, under confirmed plans for the NBA season to restart.
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Many local fans have questioned whether this gives Miami Heat and Orlando Magic an edge over teams not based in Florida. But could that be true?
Disney World may not help the Heat or the Magic
Although there are a few ways in which playing the remaining games at Disney World could help both Florida based teams, in many ways, it will not offer them much of an advantage. The whole point of playing somewhere neutral like this is that it levels the playing field for all teams. With this in mind, both Orlando Magic and Miami Heat might find that being close to home is not that beneficial to their chances.
The primary reason it might be the case is that both teams will have to stay on-site at Disney World for the whole time they remain playing games. To make planning for COVID-19 in NBA effective, they will not be allowed to stray off the site to visit home or see friends. That means the players from both teams will have to handle the boredom and isolation it brings, just the same as every other team. If the Heat and the Magic do not handle being quarantined at Disney World very well, being in Florida will prove no help to them.
How else might it not help them?
Of course, the other thing you have to think about is that they will not be playing at their usual home stadiums. While they might be closer to them geographically than other teams, playing at Disney World will still be an unfamiliar environment for them. With no home advantage present, it may not give them any extra edge. You also have to add into the mix that it is unlikely that fans will be able to watch games in person, at courtside.
Both Florida teams will not be able to get an edge over others by packing the stands with their fans in a bid to create a more positive atmosphere for their players. An interesting point to note is that many NBA experts believe that medical services (like doctors and physios) will have to be shared between teams. So both Florida-based sides will have to use these shared services rather than bringing their specialist staff on-site from the surrounding area.
It’s not all doom and gloom
While being at Disney World with the necessary COVID-19 measures might not offer many advantages to the Magic or the Heat, there could be a few factors that work in their favor. Firstly, they will have a short distance to travel to Disney World when compared to a lot of other teams. That will mean they will be fresher to start playing when they arrive and also happier as they will have spent more time with family before needing to leave.
Although they will not be used to playing at and staying at Disney World, merely being in the same state and close to home will offer extra comfort to their players. Not only will they be familiar with the surroundings (especially if they have visited Disney World before), but they will be used to the culture and climate as well. All this could make them much more relaxed and confident of performing well when the action begins.
Only time will tell The honest answer is that, right now, no-one can say if the Magic or the Heat will get an edge from being close to home at Walt Disney World for the games. While there are a few ways in which you