The return of the season has drawn a lot more questions than answers. How effective will the "bubble" be in stopping the spread of COVID-19? How ready will the players be after a three-month hiatus? How will the details of the restart impact the Championship?
For ESPN analyst Kendrick Perkins, there is one component, in particular, that will make the Orlando restart harder than ever to win the title: the absence of fans.
Here's what he said on First Take:
"Whoever wins this Championship, this will probably be one of the greatest Championships of all-time. When you talk about what we're going through right now with the Coronavirus pandemic and guys having to leave their families and everything going on in social justice.
But I wanna talk about how people sweep under the rug about not playing with fans. Fans play a huge part. When you talk about fans, there's a reason teams fight for homecourt advantage. They fight for it cause they wanna have a game seven in front of their fans at home, with the fans going crazy, rooting them on to victory."
The question at hand was if this NBA title should be considered legitimate. Perk clearly thinks it should be because he thinks it'll be more challenging than ever.
Putting aside all the distractions of what is going on in the world right now, not having the fans to inspire and light up the team may be the most challenging aspect of them all in the "bubble." At the very least, it's something no team or player today has ever really had experience with at this level.
It will be interesting how these teams and respond and how the world responds to whichever team is the last one standing.