Southeast Notes: Spoelstra, Beal, Wizards, Hornets

Heat coach Erik Spoelstra refused to comment on which staff members might be termed “essential” versus “non-essential” this week, with the NBA likely to prohibit teams from bringing more than roughly 35 people once the league returns in Orlando, Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel writes.

“The only thing I’ll say about that is I don’t want to term anything ‘essential’ or ‘non-essential’ staff,” Spoelstra said. “That’s not fair to any of our staff members. These are extreme circumstances. We will plan and act accordingly when we get to that point.”

The NBA recently announced plans to bring 22 teams to Orlando to restart its 2019/20 season, with games slated to start on July 31 and a 16-team postseason tournament scheduled to commence after eight regular season games.

The league postponed its season indefinitely on March 11, with players just getting back to their respective practice facilities within the past month. Teams are expected to play two or three exhibition games prior to the regular season officially restarting, according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania.

“It will be different,” Spoelstra admitted. “It will not be like a normal end-of-September training camp, where you have your preseason and gear up for the regular season and get prepared for an eight-month marathon. That is physically, mentally and emotionally different than this preparation.

“This will be much more of a sprint prep and you’ll have to fast track. Thankfully, we have a group that had a lot of built-in chemistry and enjoyed playing with each other. A lot of the nuances of our success were not necessarily Xs and Os, it was the ability of the guys to read and react off of each other and bring the best off of each other.”

Here are some other notes out of the Southeast Division:

  • Quinton Mayo of NBC Sports Washington explores how Bradley Beal could solidify an all-NBA spot in the restarted season. Beal has enjoyed an impressive campaign to date with the Wizards, averaging a career-high 30.5 points, 4.2 rebounds and 6.1 assists per game in 57 contests.
  • The Wizards are set to enter a complicated situation once the league returns from hiatus, Fred Katz of The Athletic explains. In addition to preparing to fight for a playoff spot after a lengthy layoff, the franchise must choose whom to bring to Orlando and address the health of John Wall. As stated previously, the league has recommended that teams should plan on bringing around 35 people (which naturally includes around 15 players), though an exact number has yet to be finalized.
  • Sam Perley of explains how resiliency and character defined the Hornets’ 2019/20 season, rather than a simple abrupt ending. Charlotte finished the campaign with a 23-42 record, trailing the eighth-seeded Magic by seven games and the ninth-place Wizards by 1.5 games when the season was suspended.
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