Given Covid-19 – the Corona Virus – has been detected in 105 countries, including the US, it was simply a matter of time before the Pandemic effected the NBA.
The league, as it often has been under Adam Silver's stewardship, was ahead of the curve in taking action, even before the positive diagnosis of Utah Jazz All Star centre Rudy Gobert.
Whilst Gobert's situation was the catalyst in Silver temporarily shutting down his league, his Board of Governors had previously been considering options up to and including playing games behind closed doors.
The league had already instigated some measures, such as removing the media from locker rooms post game, instead establishing a play-off style 'podium/press conference' set up. Of course, that has led to this at the time playful, but now morose, scene....
So, now that the league is on an indefinite hiatus, what does that mean?
The obvious is that there are no games for the foreseeable future. Given the medically recommended isolation period for Covid-19 is 14 days, that will be the minimum amount of time that we'll be without NBA matches.
But it's reasonable to expect as more players – Utah's recent opponents especially – coaches, officials and staff get tested, there will be exponentially more confirmed cases.
It wouldn't be a surprise if over the next few days there is somewhere close to 50 confirmed infections. Each and every confirmed case will reset the 14 day quarantine clock.
That could realistically extend the league's break for an extra two weeks, taking us through to mid April before we see a return to action.
However, given the league's hyper caution in this instance, it seems certain they will want to see as close to humanly possible to 100% of the league test negative to the virus before allowing players to take the court. Does that take us the end of April, perhaps? And that's assuming that no late cases, or other unforeseen circumstances pop up.
So let's assume that the league is ready to resume in late April. Most teams currently have between 14 and 18 games left to play on their schedule – about four to five weeks worth of games.
Does the league simply abandon those games? Logistically that makes the most sense, but it also means that fast charging teams like the Blazers, Kings and Pelicans will not get to compete for the final playoff spot.
It means that out of form sides like Utah and Miami get to hold on to their fourth seeding and the first round home court advantage that accompanies it.
It means that Orlando can't catch Brooklyn, and will therefore be stuck getting ground into dust by Milwaukee. It also means that teams start the playoffs without any competitive basketball for six weeks, which will likely result in some pretty disjointed performances and – at worst – injuries.
The league will surely try to play at least some games – likely on a compacted schedule - once we resume.
The lottery odds are upset as well. Golden State are a mortal lock for the worst record, but five teams (Minnesota, Atlanta, New York, Cleveland and Detroit) are all within two losses of each other for the second lottery seed: that matters.
Three of those five teams will join the Warriors in having a shot at landing the #1 pick. As things currently stand, the Bulls and Knicks (of course it's the Knicks!) will fall outside of that coveted top four slot in the lottery.
What happens to the play-offs itself? Does the league cancel the opening round and let the higher seed progress? That seems extremely unlikely – a #5 seed would complain to high heaven about the injustice of such an arrangement.
My guess is that the league will play all play-off rounds, but with five games per series, rather than seven. Even with something like that in place, the finals themselves would still likely push into July (NB: it's been reported that the NBA are asking teams to advise of arena availability though to the end of July), and that of course effects the draft and free agency, which would also have to be pushed back to accommodate a late finishing season.