When the NBA suspended play on March 11th, nobody knew whether the 2019-2020 season would come to a conclusion. But after over two months off, things are beginning to return to normalcy in The Association — sort of. Most teams can utilize their practice facilities again, adhering to strict social distancing guidelines. And as of last week, it appears as if the NBA is close to announcing an official plan to return to action, with games taking place at Florida’s Disney Sports Complex. These reports come after it was revealed that players are overwhelmingly in favor of continuing the 2019-2020 campaign, including the Hawks.
In a piece by Chris Kirschner, Hawks GM Travis Schlenk spoke with him about why finishing the season — even with the team well out of playoff contention — is a positive:
“You have to remember, we have a young team,” Schlenk said. “Any opportunity we have to practice is a positive for us. We view that as a positive. You also have to think about that we made a couple of trades at the deadline for guys who weren’t able to play. Skal (Labissiere) is in town, and he was on the court (Monday) doing his workout. He’s doing more than he was (when the season paused). There’s a possibility he’ll be able to get some minutes, which is a positive for us as he goes into restricted free agency. We also have Clint (Capela), who I talked to last week. He says he feels good, and he’s optimistic. We haven’t seen him, so we don’t know, but even if he can play just a few minutes in some games, that would be a positive to see him with our guys.”
A chance for this young core to continue to grow is an opportunity none of the players should want to pass up, but it’s that last part that should have everyone around the organization excited.
Clint Capela was the Hawks’ prized acquisition during the season. Atlanta gave up a first-round pick to Houston for him, hoping he will help mask their issues protecting the rim and on the boards. Unfortunately, we have yet to catch a glimpse of him in a Hawks uniform. When he was acquired, he was suffering from a heel injury and never fully recovered before the season was suspended. But this stop in play could turn out to be a positive thing for Atlanta.
The last time there was an update on Capela, it was in late April. And while he was feeling better, he was not 100%, so there’s no way he would have played had the season resumed as scheduled. But with these extra few months off, there’s a fantastic chance that he will. According to Schlenk, Capela is already feeling much better, and the season isn’t going to start back again for another two months. If this happens, expect to see Capela for the first time.