‘Strange’ practices keeping Nets safe

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Right after DeAndre Jordan wrested the Nets starting center job away from Jarrett Allen, his season was cut short due to contracting COVID-19. Now he’s looking forward to title contention this season — even if it is a weird one played under the specter of the coronavirus.

Just as Brooklyn got hit as hard as any locale in the country by the pandemic, the Nets were hit as hard as any team in the NBA.

Jordan, Kevin Durant, Spencer Dinwiddie and Taurean Prince all contracted COVID-19, as did three unnamed Nets. Justin Anderson and Michael Beasley tested positive before the restart, and new Net Landry Shamet tested positive last season with the Clippers.

“I was doing all the protocol needed to try to make it back to the bubble and just didn’t have a negative test in the amount of time I needed to have it,” Jordan said Wednesday via Zoom.

“I always took the virus seriously. I still do, because I know there’s a chance that I could still contract it. Even before, I washed my hands a ton, wasn’t around people, wore my mask all the time — real anal about it, but I still contracted it. Very frustrating. But I was very lucky that there’s no lasting effects.”

DeAndre Jordan
DeAndre Jordan
NBAE via Getty Images

It would be hard not to take the virus seriously, with morgue trucks still in the lot across from HSS Training Center. Filled with more than 600 coronavirus victims, the trucks are visible from the practice court and as players drive in front of the building.

The wait outside the facility is longer now, with not one but two Covid tests now part of their daily routine.

“Coming to practice is very strange with something we haven’t had to deal with before,” Jordan said. “But we get to practice, take a test, take another test and you wait in the car until you’re hopefully negative. Then you can go up and, with your mask on, do your individual work and lift and shoot and you go home.

“And you go home, do the same thing again the next day. I think that we’ve done a great job staying as safe as we possibly can and taking this thing as seriously as it needs to be taken. Hopefully, we can stay safe.”

An LA resident in the offseason, Jordan played pickup with Durant and Kyrie Irving and felt both are back to 100 percent.

“They looked like Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. They looked exactly like themselves. There’s no favoring [anything],” said Jordan. “It’s good to see Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving back on the court. I will say that.”

It remains to be seen if Jordan will be in the lineup with them, whether Steve Nash will give him the nod at center or Allen. Either way, Jordan is looking forward to picking Nash’s basketball brain after playing against him.

“Steve was great. Played against Steve for I don’t know how many years, when he was in Phoenix and then with the Lakers,” said Jordan, who was 4-9 vs. his new coach from 2009-14. “It makes me feel a little old, but let’s just say Steve’s young.”