- Utah Jazz All-Stars Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell became the first NBA players to test positive for COVID-19
- The Jazz’s odds to win the NBA title have lengthened to +4000 as reports about a potentially fractured locker room have leaked out
- Can Utah be successful once the season resumes in wake of the incident?
Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell have both tested positive for COVID-19. Gobert’s positive test caused the NBA to be suspended for the foreseeable future and Mitchell, who’s locker is next to Gobert’s, tested positive the following day.
Utah has been an outsider to win it all throughout the campaign, but their NBA Championship odds have slipped further following the positive test results for their two best players.
2020 NBA Championship Odds
|Team||Odds at BetOnline|
|Los Angeles Lakers||+225|
|Los Angeles Clippers||+300|
Odds taken Mar. 13th
Potential Locker Room Issues
Gobert, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, had been careless by touching other players’ belongings.
Although Mitchell was the only other teammate to contract the virus, such behaviour could have caused tension in the locker room.
This is, of course, all speculation at this stage, but Gobert’s actions will likely have irritated some fellow Jazz players. The Jazz are not the most talented team in the Western Conference, and any fractures, however minute, in the locker room would have a serious impact on their competitiveness.
Jazz star Donovan Mitchell has tested positive for the coronavirus, league sources tell ESPN. Jazz players privately say that Rudy Gobert had been careless in the locker room touching other players and their belongings. Now a Jazz teammate has tested positive.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) March 12, 2020
Gobert released an Instagram post apologizing for his actions, and the Jazz will obviously speak about the virus internally. Despite NBA players not being high-risk from COVID-19, Gobert’s teammates could be concerned for their friends and relatives and that could lead to some conflict.
It’s been an up and down season for the Jazz. Mike Conley’s arrival has forced Quin Snyder to shuffle his starting line-ups, using Joe Ingles off the bench for periods and struggling to bring the best out of Conley. A five-game winning streak ended just before the league was suspended, and before that they had lost four in a row. The pattern was similar earlier in the year, too.
Instagram post from Rudy Gobert, the player whose positive coronavirus test sparked the NBA to suspend the season: pic.twitter.com/R0MDHbPaI4
— Rachel Nichols (@Rachel__Nichols) March 12, 2020
They rank eighth in offensive rating and 11th at the other end of the floor. That’s a balanced team, but not one that belongs in the centre of title conversations. Mitchell and Gobert both made it to this season’s All-Star Game, of course, but neither are in the upper echelon of NBA superstar like players they will face in the first round.
They have been a hard team to read all year long. Utah have been a similar spot for a couple of years, they’re a good, not great, NBA team, and now they face potentially franchise-cracking chemistry issues. Bojan Bogdanovic was a nice signing, and he’s had a good year, but he’s not a needle-moving addition.
I already miss jazz basketball😔 pic.twitter.com/fH8Wju7JXJ
— JinglesWRLD (@JinglesWRLD) March 13, 2020
There’s nowhere near enough information about the NBA as a whole or, more specifically, the Jazz, to make a decision. Mitchell and Gobert will likely recover completely from the illness, but the impact on team chemistry will not be clear perhaps for years to come.
Utah was already no more than a longshot for the title, and even a couple of weeks ago, there’s a case that the +4000 was a fair price.
Bettors need more information before being able to make any NBA betting decisions. That situation is exaggerated for the Jazz.
Let's have fun and keep it civil.