Yogi Ferrell regrets not bringing his gaming console to Orlando, but he’s not totally bored in the NBA bubble. The other day, the former Hoosier played tennis with Sacramento Kings teammate Marvin Bagley, then he went fishing with Kyle Guy.
See? Not awful!
And soon, the real reason for Ferrell’s Florida adventure will come into focus. The NBA returns to action on Wednesday with a slate of four scrimmages at Walt Disney World, including one involving Ferrell’s Kings. Ferrell is one of eight IU basketball products in Orlando for the NBA’s restart, joining OG Anunoby of the Toronto Raptors, Eric Gordon of the Houston Rockets, Noah Vonleh of the Denver Nuggets, Thomas Bryant of the Washington Wizards, Juwan Morgan of the Utah Jazz, Romeo Langford of the Boston Celtics, and Victor Oladipo (maybe/probably!) of the Indiana Pacers.
“This bubble is our new life for a couple months,” Ferrell said.
De’Aaron Fox’s recent ankle injury likely means more opportunities for Ferrell, who’s averaging 11.0 minutes in 44 games off the bench for Sacramento this season. Ferrell, though, says he’s eager to merely get back to head-to-head competition, however it comes.
“We can look forward to busting somebody else’s ass,” Ferrell said. “We’ve been going at each other’s necks for almost two weeks now, so I think it’ll be really fun for us to go out there and show what we’ve been working on, show some things we need to dust off. I think the scrimmages will really help us going into this eight-game stretch trying to make the playoffs.”
The real games won’t tip off until July 30, with each of the 22 teams invited to Orlando playing eight final regular season games to finalize the playoff picture — much of which has already been decided. Ferrell and Bryant are the only Hoosiers in Orlando without tickets punched for the postseason. The Kings are 3.5 games out, while the stripped-down Wizards are 5.5 games out of the final spot in the Eastern Conference.
Playoffs or not, Bryant is eager to get back on the court, particularly after his recent experience with COVID-19. Bryant’s arrival in Orlando was delayed until July 15 after he tested positive just prior to the team’s departure earlier this month. Even after landing in Florida, Bryant had to quarantine for another 36 hours before he could rejoin his teammates at work.
Conditioning is a question for just about everyone in the bubble, especially those who are coming off bouts with the virus. Bryant, however, insists he’s nearly back to full strength.
“I feel good,” he said. “I have been working out non-stop, conditioning non-stop in the weight room and being with the coaches, the staff and the team just making sure my body’s all right and ready to go as soon as we step on the floor and start playing.”
Once he does start playing, Bryant will have an opportunity to assert himself inside a Wizards lineup operating without Bradley Beal, John Wall and Davis Bertans.
“I’ll be at full go no matter what,” Bryant said. “My mindset right now is to be in the best shape that I can, be the best leader I can for this team, and just try to be the person this team can look to because we don’t have Beal, we don’t have Bertans, we don’t have John. So we need other guys to step up and it’s a great opportunity for all of us out here.”