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Mike D'Antoni: "I don't have any apprehension."
Posted: July 7, 2020 -- 12:52 p.m. CT
During Tuesday's Zoom media call, Houston Rockets Head Coach Mike D'Antoni was asked if he was apprehensive of the NBA restart in Orlando because of the spike in COVID-19 numbers in the state of Florida and central Florida.
"I don't have any apprehension," D'Antoni said matter-of-fact. D'Antoni's straightforward response is not due to cockiness nor arrogance. He'll due things such as wear his mask; practice social distancing; and, he believes the NBA has taken precautions with the health and safety of the coaches, players, staff, etc. in mind.
"A lot of is I'll have my mask on. Everybody that's around me will have a mask on or I won't be around them. That's one. Two, I won't be within six feet of anybody. And, we have guys getting tested; and, if you're personally responsible and do - now, could it happen? Sure. I could leave here (Toyota Center); and, it could happen (catch the Coronavirus).
"I have no apprehension because I know what I'll do to try to prevent it," D'Antoni added. "Knowing that's it's not all 100 percent; and, I know the NBA is going to try to do everything. EVERYTHING they can to avoid it. So, yeah, I'm looking forward to it (the NBA restart in Orlando). I don't have any apprehension at all.
"Again, it comes down to it's been five months of wearing a mask; staying away from people until we find a vaccine or at least anti-virals to do something to help. So, I think it falls on each individual."
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D'Antoni compares the upcoming 3 or 4 months in Orlando to his time with USA Basketball and his pro career in Italy.
"I think, from personal experience, as a player, as a coach, it's going to be a lot of the same stuff. Just going to be a different environment. You have to handle that. It could be better could be worse for some guys. You just don't know."
"To me, it's not a challenge. We did USA Basketball. When you go to other countries for a month and you stay more or less in the Meal Room on the practice floor back to the hotel; to the Meal Room; to the practice floor. A lot of these players have experienced that; and, I think the excitement of getting back and finishing the season and playing it will carry them through the first couple, three weeks. Where it could be a little mundane like 'Oh, gosh. It's the same old same old.'
"Then, we start the games every other day which will be fun. Then, we start the playoffs which will be every other day. So, in a normal year, in the playoffs, you'd really want your players to go home to rest; don't listen to media or anything; come to practice. Get good food. Go back home and rest. Get ready for the next game; so, it's going to be a whole lot like that. It's going to be lockdown in playoff mode; and, there's not going to be that much different other than you'll be by yourself and you won't have your family. For some players, that could be tough. Just personal things.
D'Antoni knows mental health is important.
"Mental health is important; and, we'll have people that will talk," D'Antoni acknowledged. "And, we're a family. We'll talk amongst ourselves; so, we'll all get through this together. I think that's part of the process of being a team and having your antenna up as coaches, trainers, the staff.
"If anybody is struggling and needs anything. But, I look at it, too, in the modern day, when I was over in Italy, there were no cell phones. There were no computers that we were talking to people; so, it was me and a book and about thirty hours of me just kind of wandering around. I'm kind of used to that kind of life. But, now you have you can Zoom any second you want your friends. You can play games online with them. You'll be with your family every day talking to them face to face -- not the same -- missing the hugs and all that. I get it. But, the communication lines will be open. Again, that's part of adjusting and helping people out as much as we can."
The Rockets are scheduled to leave for Orlando Thursday, July 9. The team's first of 3 scrimmages will take place Friday, July 24, versus the Toronto Raptors. Tip is set for 6:30 p.m. Central Time.
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