The NBA returned in a form yesterday when a half-dozen teams participated in televised scrimmages that were only 40 minutes long. As to be expected, the basketball wasn't exactly pretty, but it was LIVE basketball, and that's all that really mattered. Plus, Bol Bol went off and it was awesome.
The viewing experience was definitely strange. Not as strange as I anticipated, but watching two NBA teams duke it out in an empty gym with no crowd noise was odd. The Denver Nuggets broadcast did not help very much with their Zoom announcing experiment. It was fun hearing the players complain to the refs and communicate on defense, though. The networks might have to fiddle with the audio a bit, given the squeaking of sneakers was louder than the broadcasters at certain points. But overall, while the new normal was strange, it was kind of cool being able to hear so much of what's going on during play.
This new normal also means there will be a handful of small things missed during real-time that will reveal themselves after the game. Like what the stadium crew plays over the loudspeaker when a missed free throw occurs.
Please. Please do this all the time. It would be hysterical. Given that both came in the Nuggets-Wizards game and a Wizard missed both free throws, this could be a Nuggets thing. But the NBA should take this idea and run with it.
Playing funny sounds after missed free throws adds some levity to it all. In very serious, high-stakes moments it wouldn't be particularly appropriate. But until the playoffs start, why not have some fun? Let's get the Wilhelm scream in there for a Ben Simmons brick or two. Even LeBron James would have to laugh if he missed one from the stripe and Spice Adams' "Ahaha" played over the loudspeaker.
This whole endeavor is going to be strange. Let's lean into it. Let's have some fun!