Time flies, except when it doesn’t.
Like the past year that has crawled for everybody.
Consider that the Los Angeles Lakers, with Jason Kidd as an assistant coach, won the NBA championship in the Orlando bubble one year ago – plus a couple days – Oct. 11, 2020.
That 2019-20 season was disjointed thanks to COVID-19. Then the 2020-21 season started with training camp less than two months later.
Now, the league next week will start its third season in less than 13 months.
“It was an incredible year,” Kidd said before the Mavericks played an exhibition at Charlotte Wednesday night. “It’s crazy to say it’s only been a year from winning a championship in LA.
“We’re kind of like golf right now. We just have wraparound seasons.”
Not that he’s complaining. The NBA is just glad to be able to have seasons given the complications presented by the virus.
But it does seem like a lot more than a year has passed since the Lakers beat Miami on that Walt Disney World court for the championship.
“That feels like forever ago,” Charlotte coach James Borrego said. “I saw that, and I couldn’t believe that that was a year (ago). A lot has transpired in that period. When you just look at last year in the vacuum, it felt like three seasons in one, the amount of protocols, the ups, the downs, the injuries. It took a toll on every team.”
As Borrego said, the teams that had good health at the right time tended to have the most success in the shortened 72-game season.
Now, the league is back to its full 82 games. And Kidd is like everybody else. He’s hoping everybody has adjusted – physically as well as mentally.
“You got to play the games that are scheduled,” Kidd said. “The league is going to make the adjustment. The players have made the adjustment. We just all hope that this season we don’t have the serious injuries we’ve had because of the seasons being so close together.”
Absentee: The Mavericks were going to try to go with a regular-season rotation Wednesday, but they were without one player expected to be one of their regulars.
Forward Reggie Bullock was not with the team because of a personal matter, Kidd said.
“He’s not with the team and, as of right now, I don’t see him joining us on this trip,” he said. “But maybe that could change tomorrow. But as of right now, I’d say he’s out for this game and also Friday (at Milwaukee). But that could change.”
The Mavericks also were without guard Tyrell Terry, who is on indefinite leave.
Thoughts on LaMelo: Charlotte’s LaMelo Ball was the league’s rookie of the year last season and has drawn comparisons to a young Kidd.
And the Mavericks’ coach sees it, to some degree.
“You’re talking about the rookie of the year – also very creative in his own right, a very good artist, understands how to play the game at a very high level,” Kidd said before Wednesday’s game. “He puts a lot of pressure on your defense to get back in transition. He can throw the touchdown pass with the best of them. So this is a great challenge for us defensively to get back.”
Kidd was asked about the similarities that include not being the purest long-range shooter, which was something Kidd overcame during the course of his career.
“He’s an incredible talent,” he said of Ball. “I would let him play the game before we become critical of an area,” Kidd said. “He’s young.
“We always try to nitpick on one of the things we can’t do. And that’s just not fair. He’s going to get better. And the jump shot will come.”
Spoken like someone who has already been down that road.
Regardless of what kind of shooter Ball is, Kidd has been impressed by the way “he has fun when he plays. He’s very creative. He understands what it means to win. He’s exciting to watch . . . because he’s going to do something special out there that no one else can. So it’s exciting to see and it’s great for the league.”