The Story of How a Sleep Tracker Became the Hottest Device of the Pandemic

Build a sleep tracking app using Oura. Part 1: Interface the Oura ...

The Oura ring is suddenly everywhere. The $299 sleep tracking device has adorned the digits of Prince Harry, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, and, since July 9, 1,000 employees at the Venetian and Palazzo casinos in Las Vegas, and most of the NBA players entering the Walt Disney World “bubble” in Florida. The reason for the hype? The ring’s sensors monitor users’ health data, including heart rate, temperature, and respiratory rate. Oura crunches this data into a daily “readiness” score, which their connected app serves up to users each morning — the score indicates how hard to push yourself that day; for example, if you’ve slept badly, and your score is low, maybe skip the workout that day. Early studies also suggest the ring’s a useful early detection tool for signs of Covid-19.

Why Harry's new ring has an Oura of desperation about it | Life ...

With no vaccine in sight, wearable tech is having a field day in the time of Covid-19. PGA golfer Nick Watney credits his Whoop watch as the reason he got tested. Duke University launched CovIdentify, asking people with a Fitbit, Garmin watch, or iPhone to download their app in order to analyze if their data can predict infection or severity. Scripps Research Institute put out similar asks for their DETECT study, which aims to speed up identification of areas with outbreaks. And Fitbit, which Google intends to acquire, announced they’d built Ready for Work, a connected app that allows bosses to monitor their employees’ health. Some startups are even floating the idea of wearable smart patches.

It’s no wonder why employers are flocking to wearables like the Oura ring right now; doing something, anything that might potentially prevent or diagnose the disease is very alluring, especially for businesses that have been crushed by the contagion or by reopening restrictions. No one wearable has emerged as “the best” so far, and all studies, while encouraging, only have early-stage results, and aren’t peer reviewed. So how has a sleep-tracking gizmo that’s sold approximately 150,000 rings since early 2018, compared to Fitbit’s estimated 16 million in 2019 alone, become the post-Covid prerequisite?


From the beginning, Oura, which launched version one of their ring in 2015, billed itself as a health and lifestyle company, with a focus on sleep. “Sense. Understand. Inspire.” was splashed across its 2015 homepage. “We’ve always wanted to empower people to understand their full potential,” says Harpreet Singh Rai, Oura’s CEO, who joined Oura in 2017, after a decade managing investments at a global asset management firm. “We started with sleep because that’s an important area of health that’s underlooked. By understanding your own health, you can improve yourself.”

Oura, which is based in Oulu, Finland, and has operations in San Francisco and Helsinki, was founded in 2013 by a group of three friends who were searching for a wearable device to make their lives healthier. They believed that by tracking their data, they’d learn how lifestyle choices influenced their lives. Frustrated by the accuracy, style, and durability of current wrist wearables, they built their own — opting for a ring form factor, as their research showed that fingers were a good place to capture physiological data. In 2015, Oura raised a $2.3 million seed round and launched its first Oura ring to the public, a chunky, Goth-looking gizmo.

Doing something, anything that might potentially prevent or diagnose the disease is very alluring, especially for businesses that have been crushed by the contagion or by reopening restrictions.

In 2018, Oura upgraded the ring to a sleek titanium band that’s available in black, gray, and silver (plus a diamond-crusted $999 premium model). They added sensors, improved the fit, and added an inductive charging system. The ring, which resembles a utilitarian wedding band, weighs between four to six grams, depending on size, which for comparison, is on the lower end of engagement ring weight. Embedded in the band are the temperature and infrared LED sensors, plus a gyroscope and accelerometer, that track temperature, pulse rate, sleep data, and physical activity.

Prior to the pandemic, the ring was beloved by biohackers and techie types, but its price point kept it a niche product.

Enter Covid-19.

On March 5, Petri Hollmén, the 40-year-old founder of Lytti, a Finnish event management startup, flew from his home in Turku, Finland, to Zurich, Switzerland, then on to Tyrol, Austria, followed by an overnight stay at home, and then on to Stockholm, Sweden, for a day. Tyrol had become a coronavirus hotspot, so Hollmén self-quarantined, with his wife, three children, and dog, out of concern for his employees. He’d worn his Oura ring the entire time. On March 12, Oura gave him a readiness score of 54, around 30 points lower than normal. His Oura data indicated his temperature was elevated. He felt fine, but called his doctor anyways — he felt embarrassed about calling, he says. His doctor sent him for testing. He had the virus. Back to quarantining. His wife and eldest daughter also developed low-level symptoms, but his two other kids were unaffected. There wasn’t a lot of information about this in his community so he uploaded a selfie with his pup, Miisa, on Facebook, alongside a screed about his experience.

Hollmén’s post went viral, first in Finland and then worldwide. An Oura staffer noticed it, and slacked Rai the link. Hollmén’s elevated temperature didn’t surprise Rai. “Every year, around cold and flu season, users tell us that they saw [their] body temperature increasing,” he says. “This year, that data was obviously much more important.” Sensing a PR opportunity, Rai set up a call with Hollmén. “Thanks for posting that,” Rai told Hollmén. They discussed Hollmén’s recovery and his experience with Oura.

Harpreet Rai - CEO @ ŌURA | Crunchbase
Rai

Then Rai paused. “Would you be willing to talk to journalists in the U.S.?”


Since early 2020, researchers across America had started pivoting their work to coronavirus-centric studies; detection, prognosis, treatments, cures. In early March, Ashley Mason, a psychiatric sleep researcher at UCSF, was informed that her investigation of saunas as a treatment for depression was on hold; all non-essential research had been nixed until further notice, they said. Her sauna study, which had not been funded by Oura, had used the company’s rings to track patients’ temperatures.

When she saw an article about Hollmén and his Oura ring potentially detecting coronavirus, she called Rai. “Have you seen the story?” she asked. She wondered: Could the rings possibly act as an early-detection tool for high-risk health care professionals? They were an especially vulnerable group — CDC data estimates that 98,000 American health care workers have been infected so far. Being able to identify infection early could help mitigate spread, and hopefully save lives. “I said, come on board,” Rai says. “We have to collect research to learn more about this illness.” Oura put up some funding for the study (after grants and other funds UCSF received, Oura contributed less than 15% of the funds).How the Roomba Became the Pandemic’s Unlikeliest WinnerIn the midst of a recession, even the company was surprised by the increased demand for a $1,000 vacuummarker.medium.com

The result: The UCSF TemPredict study, announced in April. Oura supplied rings to 2,000 frontline workers, and UCSF encouraged any Oura-owning member of the public to enroll in the study online as well. (They must complete a screening survey, answer daily surveys, and allow Oura to share their data.) The end goal, Rai says, is for UCSF to build an algorithm from the data that can identify onset, progression, and recovery patterns. He stressed that any supported studies are independently assessed, and that Oura does not influence the outcomes.

Other researchers with ongoing Oura partnerships also switched up their focus. In West Virginia, the Rockefeller Neuroscience Institute (RNI) developed AI models to forecast symptoms using physiological and behavioral biometrics from Oura data. On May 28, RNI reported that their A.I. platform detected symptoms three days before they materialized, with a 90% accuracy rate. They’ve scaled their program to health care employees at universities across America.

RNI’s preliminary findings caught the eye of the NBA Wearables Committee, who approve and validate players’ devices for use during gameplay. To keep their Disneyland social bubble well monitored, alongside regular Covid testing, they purchased 2,000 smart rings to monitor the players and staff (though wearing them is optional). Around the same time, Las Vegas Sands, which runs the Venetian and Palazzo casinos, also purchased 1,000 to pilot with their staff, and say they’ll purchase 9,300 more if the trial goes well. To aid companies in tracking possible infections in their workforce, Oura developed an enterprise management platform, which lets employers monitor ring-wearers’ health, and provides them with illness probabilities for every opted-in employee or NBA player.

Company of the week: Oura Health | PitchBook

The media hype around Oura — all savvily overseen by Rai — has been great for business. On March 17, Rai announced Oura had raised a $28 million Series B round. (To date, they’ve raised $75.5 million.) Since shelter-in-place took effect, numerous startups have folded, or furloughed to eke out their runway, but Oura’s team grew 20% between February and June, including new hires in social media and engineering. Just in the past month its social following grew by more than 100% on Twitter and Instagram, according to estimates from stat tracker Social Blade.

One of the company’s main challenges right now is keeping up with demand in the midst of supply chain issues created by coronavirus. The situation highlighted the inefficiencies of using Finland as the location for the company’s main fulfillment center. Shipping to the U.S. slowed, and many of the ring’s components that were sourced from China are taking longer to receive. And more and more research studies are asking to use Oura data. “We never imagined that in 2020 we’d be doing studies with nearly 50,000 enrollees,” says Rai. Oura can’t handle 50 new studies, he says, (their main focus is still consumer sleep tracking) so he has offered Oura’s open API share data with researchers. Despite building an app to let employers track employee biometrics, Rai is emphatic that the Oura ring “doesn’t diagnose or treat,” but says the data could be useful to people.

Meanwhile, researchers are going full speed ahead. In early March, Michael Snyder, PhD, a genetics professor at the Stanford School of Medicine, in conjunction with Fitbit turned his attention from researching wearables’ place in assessing risk for Lyme and Type 2 diabetes, to using wearables for Covid-19 detection. “We’re device agnostic,” Snyder says — any high-risk or exposed person who owns an Oura, Fitbit, Garmin, Samsung, or Apple watch can join his Covid-19 Wearables study, in which users link their wearable to an app and self-report additional symptoms. “We can detect Covid-19 with a smartwatch,” Snyder claims.

Whether or not the Oura ring is an effective Covid-19 alert system is still to be determined, and if research ends up discounting the device, that could become a major challenge for the company.

According to his preliminary data, algorithms detected elevated heart rates three of four days before symptoms appeared in around 80% of cases. “Heart rate is a better measure than skin temperature as a lot of people don’t get fever with Covid-19,” he says. However, so far, the data can’t differentiate between, say, Covid-19 and the common cold. And, at least according to Snyder, there’s no clear wearable winner. “We don’t know which wearable is best, as they all measure different things,” he says. “We’ll see which features turn out to be the most important.” Snyder believes that once the algorithms improve, most people will purchase wearables for early detection. “It’s a no-brainer,” he says.

Others wonder if Oura may be getting too much attention. “Without doubt Oura is the most successful smart ring company today,” says Mikko Nurmimaki, editor of Smart Ring News. “It is beautiful. But we are yet to see objective, medical evidence on the accuracy of detecting Covid-19.” Nurmimaki posits that Oura’s buzz has overshadowed smart rings like the CIRCUL, created by California startup Bodimetrics. Its SP02 sensors measure blood oxygen levels, which might be a better diagnostic.

Rishi Desai, the chief medical officer at Osmosis, a medical education platform, and former epidemic intelligence officer at the CDC, isn’t convinced. “Wearables aren’t a major part of the solution for the problem we have today,” he says. “Joe buying it today will not help Joe, today or tomorrow.” He does however see them as “increasingly important technology for problems that we have in the future” in that collected data from wearables will hopefully drive medical research that develops the cures of tomorrow. Desai, who objects to capturing temperature data from a finger because it’s not “a good measure of core temperature,” also says the high cost of Oura and most wearable tech makes it inaccessible to many, noting that “the people that are highest risk are living on the margins.”

Even so, William Haseltine, BA, PhD, an infectious disease expert at ACCESS Health International and author ofA Family Guide to Covid suggests it’s a “good idea” for people to purchase wearables because they make people more aware of social distancing and their symptoms. “There is variable accuracy,” he admits, “but the ask is to call their doctor — that’s not an onerous intervention.” They give people back some autonomy, he says, “where they’ve been left to their own devices as the government isn’t protecting them.” And of course, he adds, their data’s valuable for epidemiologists.

Whether or not the Oura ring is an effective Covid-19 alert system is still to be determined, and if research ends up discounting the device, that could become a major challenge for the company. In the next few weeks, its data is likely going to be under more scrutiny; at Stanford, Snyder’s rolling out a text message system to alert users of wearables — including Oura rings and Fitbits — if their metrics suggest they have the virus.

Osmosis’ Desai is worried about this next step. “Can you imagine if everybody in New York City starts calling with a fast heart rate? It would completely overwhelm the system,” he says. The Oura might be the shiniest new tech toy right now, he says, but that shine could be a misdirection. “The most important wearable right now to be focusing on is masks,” he says. “Anything that’s not talking about masks as the wearable of choice is a distraction.”

The Plane Crash Which Led to Cannibalism

Peckish Pete: The horrific cannibal who ate the corpses of his victims

About four decades after the accident that changed his life, doctor Roberto Canessa remembered that he had to eat from his friends in order not to die of hunger. Roberto is one of 16 people who survived after the plane crashed in the Andes Mountains between Chile and Argentina on October 13, 1972. They were rescued after 72 days. Canessa was only 19 years of age at the time and he was a medical student. Today, the doctor confesses that he will never forget the time he turned into a cannibal, eating from the dead passengers in order to survive.

“It was disgusting. In the eyes of a civilized society, this was a revolting decision. I stood up to my dignity when I decided to eat chunks of my friends to survive. I felt like I was taking advantage of my friends who died. “says Roberto Canessa.

Everything to survive

On October 13, 1972, at 3:35 pm, a Fairchild FH-227 turboprop aircraft of the Uruguayan Armed Forces crashed into the Andes, on the border between Chile and Argentina. There were 45 people on board, five of whom were crew members. The remaining 40 were members of the Christian Rugby Football Club rugby team and a few members of the players’ families.

The president of the Uruguayan Rugby Federation, Gustavo Zerbino, one of the survivors of the aviation catastrophe of 1972, in which 29 people lost their lives, told how the 16 survivors were forced by circumstances to choose between starving to death or eating their deceased friends in order to survive until a rescue team would find them.

Doctor Roberto says that the only thing that helped him resist was the thought of his mother and the desire not to cause her suffering through his death. At the point where he had to turn to cannibalism, Roberto says he had no choice. They were in a place where there was nothing but snow, a place where people had absolutely no business.

Image for post
The 16 survivors on the day of rescue

Their fate seemed diminished because the plane crashed into the mountains and collapsed at over 4,000 meters altitude. Between night and day, there was a huge temperature difference. Five died on impact, and 12 other people died during the five-kilometer where the aircraft went downstream. The survivors tried to go as far as possible to look for help and even screaming for hours but with no response, this has confirmed them that they were in a totally secluded location which meant that the chances of rescue were extremely low.

No hope

After some time the group of survivors has glued the wires from a detached instrument from the board of the plane to listen to the radio about the search missions. Sadly the news was not good as the search missions were a failure one after another, after a few more days the survivors have heard some devastating news on the radio, that the search team had given up looking for the crashed plane or any survivors.

Many of the survivors became hysterical at that point, however, some such as Doctor Roberto who was mentally prepared for such news as he had stated that he thought about this potential outcome. At this point, they have made the decision of splitting the group into two so that a group would go look for the other half of the plane where their supplies were as the starvation was growing into them. (it is imperative to mention that by this point none of the survivors thought of a cannibalistic act).

Image for post
Doctor Roberto Canessa

Without supplies, the survivors of the “tragedy in the Andes” passed from peanuts, biscuits, and tree bark to the remains of friends who died in the accident. In the first week, the survivors were feeding on jam, biscuits and drank some bottles of brandy that they had obtained from Mendoza, which they found through their luggage that escaped whole. After they have finished all the provisions they ate shell and tree branches and took a mouthful of snow.

17 days after the crash, something terrible happened, which brought the survivors down from a mental point of view. A powerful avalanche swept the valley in which they were and covered the remains of the fuselage, and the snow penetrated through the impoverished wall behind the fuselage and covered the survivors.

Last Resort

After a few days, when all the supplies had run out, a shocking discussion between the survivors has followed up. The only solution for survival was to eat from the dead bodies of the other survivors, there was simply no other solution. The idea was welcomed pretty well taking into consideration the starving stomach and terrible mental state that the survivors were in, this discussion happened 30 days after the crash. Doctor Roberto was the first to eat from the deceased survivors.

On the 72nd day after the crash, a farmer from the mountainside has discovered the survivors on Christmas day. The survivors mentioned that he was an angel sent from God as their savior. Even after they have been rescued their cannibalistic act for survival had left them with a huge mental disturbance however, they never hid from their dire and desperate actions.

The incredible story of the avian accident in the Andes was screened in two films, the first in 1976 and the other is 1993, and Nando Parrado, another survivor, wrote the book “Miracle in the Andes”.

By Andrei Tapalaga

How Fatherhood In the NBA Has Changed Since the Jordan Era

Michael Jordan's kids share what it was like to be raised by the ...

The current generation of NBA stars boasts dynamic athletes who inspire excellence through impressive talent, just like generations of hoopers before them. But one thing that has changed in the league, and significantly, is the role fatherhood plays. The league today is filled with proud fathers, men who don’t hesitate to bring their children into the spotlight with them.

20,000 People Will Pack L.A.'s Staples Center To Pay Tribute To ...
RIP Black Mamba

We think of the late Kobe Bryant as Gianna “Mambacita” Bryant’s father, and Steph Curry as scene-stealer Riley’s dad. Dwyane Wade openly expresses love for Zaya at every turn. Yet, as The Last Dance unwittingly showed over the past five weeks, tremendous NBA stars rarely allowed themselves to be proud dads publicly.

In the late 1980s and ’90s, Michael Jordan’s superstardom couldn’t help but affect his relationship with his children — not just as a father on the road for months at a time, not just as a man with a notoriously tireless work ethic and competitive drive, but as an icon whose impact couldn’t help but create expectations for his kids. During his induction into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2009, Jordan turned to three of his children and said, “You guys have a heavy burden. I wouldn’t want to be you guys if I had to.”

During that era, could someone simultaneously be considered the best basketball player on earth, an endorsement-deal king, and father of the year all at once? Not quite.

Stephen Curry's Adorable Daughter Riley Took Over His Post-Game ...
Steph and Riley Curry

Now skip ahead two decades to the 2015 NBA Finals. The league’s newly crowned MVP, Steph Curry, was busy helping his team to its first title in 40 years, but in a postgame press conference, another new star emerged. Curry’s daughter Riley, two years old at the time, interrupted the humdrum postgame sports-speak, told her father to be quiet, and curiously wandered the press conference staging area. Yes, Chef Curry became the most popular player in the league that year — but that moment made clear that he’s also a doting, charmingly awkward father balancing parenthood with his newfound superstardom.

There are no vintage clips of MJ’s children comically taking over postgame pressers. In the entire 10-hour stretch of The Last Dance, only three of his children appear in a clip that lasts barely three minutes. His twins with his second wife, Yvette Prieto, are not shown at all. There’s zero mention of his first wife, Juanita Vanoy. While the NBA may be in a different place when it comes to fatherhood, MJ’s dad narrative remains locked off.

Jasmine M. Jordan (@MickiJae) | Twitter
Jasmine Jordan

Jasmine Jordan was two years old in 1993, when her father won his third NBA championship. She recently spoke to the Associated Press about being Michael Jordan’s daughter during the apex of his career. It revealed just how far MJ went to keep his career and his parenthood separate — so much so that his own daughter resorted to Googling facts about him. “I was like, ‘Why is everyone so intrigued by you? You’re just dad. You’re not that cool,’” she said. “But lo and behold, he was kind of a big deal. So, it’s definitely something that’s been eye-opening.”

Did we need to know about MJ’s family life to stay locked into his Black Jesus persona? The Jordan brand smashed through revenue goals like a true-to-the-era Terminator. There is a natural, commerce-based argument that the exponential growth that Nike and the NBA experienced from 1988 to 1993 superseded the impact of MJ and his then-wife Juanita starting a family.

In 1993, the NBA was skyrocketing out of its doldrums. Michael Jordan dunked on everything in sight as an über-Superman who didn’t need a cape to fly. Adding his children to his appeal could’ve crushed him down to earth. Yes, when staring at unprecedented capitalistic growth, absurdist tendencies can become governing logic.

LeBron James' Most Adorable Family Photos - Essence

A quarter-century later, the NBA is in a different place. The league, secure in its global popularity, lacks the urgent pressure of needing to earn every available dollar. Thus, for every fourth-quarter grimace at a referee’s blown call, there’s a postgame hug of a son or daughter. We’ve evolved past the need for players to be presented as cyborgs. They can now, quite literally, embrace their humanity.


By Marcus K. Dowling

Why Do Michael Jordan’s Eyes Look Yellow?

A doctor gets to the bottom of it

Like millions of people around the world, you probably caught some of ESPN’s documentary, The Last Dance, about the greatest NBA player to bless the court: Michael Jordan. And, like many viewers, you may have noticed MJ’s eye color and wondered what caused it. Was it the cigars? The glass of brown liquor on the table next to him?

MJ’s eyes were front and center in every close-up shot of the 10-part documentary series. I noticed MJ’s eye pigment years before, but I was just a medical student back then. This time, I was a doctor — so I did my research in order to get to the bottom of this internet mystery.

I checked Twitter to see if other MJ fans were discussing his eye color, and comments and theories abounded. People thought MJ might have suffered from alcohol abuse that affected his liver and produced jaundiced eyes. Some thought it could be the result of hemolysis (the destruction of red blood cells), hepatitis, or even pancreatic cancer.

To be fair, all of the conditions mentioned above can cause a yellow eye pigmentation. I searched for photos of a young MJ and didn’t find any addiction problem or information relating to hospitalizations for severe conditions. Fortunately, it was never the case back then, and not the case now. But I knew there could still be one other factor. A few people, without knowing the true cause, pointed out that many middle-aged African American men develop this sort of eye coloration. That cause, which is what I suspected, is melanosis, a conjunctival pigmented lesion.

That’s a big phrase, so let’s unpack it one word at a time. First, the conjunctiva. It’s a thin mucous and vascular membrane in the eye that protects it, helping with lubrication, movement, and some immune functions. Generally, we can describe three parts of the conjunctiva: the bulbar that covers the anterior part of the sclera, the palpebral region that lines the eyelids, and the forniceal, or fornix, which is the junction between the two.

As long as he gets them checked from time to time, the NBA great’s eyes are safe and sound.

Pigmented lesions are areas of abnormal coloration that are familiar to anyone with moles or age spots, and a few different types can occur in the conjunctiva. The worst-case scenario is conjunctival melanoma, a malignant tumor that can spread to the entire body; it usually has a bad prognosis. Lesions called nevi are benign, and have a low risk of converting to melanoma. In between those two types is conjunctival melanosis, which can be either benign or malignant, and has a higher risk of developing into melanoma.

That said, Michael Jordan may haveconjunctival melanosis — specifically racial melanosis. It’s a benign type of conjunctival pigmented lesion sometimes found in individuals with darkly pigmented skin. Conjunctival melanosis can increase with age, and is not shown to often progress to melanoma. But patients can still develop melanoma, so medical professionals recommend annual screenings.

In other words, as long as he gets them checked from time to time, the NBA great’s eyes are safe and sound.

Should the NBA Season Come Back?

The selfish NBA fan in me wants basketball to start no matter what, I was terribly disappointed as Rudy Gobert decided to shut down the NBA. This season in the NBA was unlike many in recent years.

In these past couple of seasons fans had a very good assumption as to who would represent both conferences, that wasn’t the case this season. Many people were very excited to see a very competitive Western Conference Finals, which would have likely featured the Clippers and the Lakers.

Distraught is not even the word to begin to describe how I was feeling when the NBA shut down along with the rest of the world.

I would be extremely disappointed to not receive this season’s potentially promising and entertaining playoff. I also believe that with everything going on in the world that bringing basketball back would be a welcoming distraction.

Now that “distraction” word is what some players and fans are taking issue with. Many players believe that bringing the NBA back would take attention away from the great many social issues going on in our country currently.

There have been times in the past where there has been an uproar for change, and that uproar is focused on for a week or so. After a certain amount of time has passed, it just becomes another old news headline.

Due to the Coronavirus pandemic the world is still somewhat at a standstill, so people all across the globe are forced to take notice of these societal issues.

I understand where some of these players are coming from. Far too often things are done in the moment to fix these societal issues, but don’t provide a long term solution. With a focus on these issues, there has been a ton of positive momentum within the black community.

Consequences for crooked cops have been a bit more swift, and the voices of a community have been heard like never before. Society has been deflecting and sweeping these problems under the rug for years, and some players don’t want to contribute to that.

One of the biggest names attached to the idea of players not resuming the NBA season is Kyrie Irving.

Kyrie Irving's blunt message to anyone criticizing him as a leader

A counterargument to some players viewing the season coming back as a distraction is the fact that all eyes would be on them. Players can use the season to their advantage, seeing that there are not many major sports being broadcasted. The whole world would have no choice but to turn to the NBA for sports entertainment.

This means that any message that the players want to convey to their international audience will surely be heard.

Many people believe that with the attention that the NBA would receive that it would be an ideal platform to push forward with the Black Lives Matter movement.

The NBA resuming its season would bring forth so much attention, so that people would hang on every single word of certain players.

Players such as LeBron James, Kawhi Leonard, Anthony Davis, James Harden amongst other NBA stars would arguably have the largest platform ever that any iconic sports figure has ever had.

Now on the other hand other players like Austin Rivers for instance thinks that we can do both. Rivers made a valid point that many NBA players don’t have the same salary that Irving has, and that bringing the season would benefit a lot of players financially.

The reality is that if basketball does come back there will be a lot more money for the players, the teams, and the owners. With more money, there can be more investments put into organizations that put forth an effort to try to fight for social equality.

Truth be told I was 100% on the side of players coming back to play and finishing the season. The biggest reason why is because I didn’t want a season with so much promise to end without crowning a champion.

Right now I wouldn’t say that I am 100% in on players coming back, but overall that is the side I am leaning towards.

Not finishing the season would not be fair to the fans and players who desperately want to see and play basketball again. Emphasis on not fair to the fans, who are the reason why those players make millions of dollars.

I understand that there are currently some issues in our nation that definitely need addressing and need the proper amount of attention. Playing basketball can very well take away from that very needed attention, but I do think that there is a way where both parties can get what they want. It is ultimately up to the players to keep the attention on what they find to be important.

The players need unity if the NBA does come back, we can’t have half of the league fighting for injustices and the other half is simple content. If the players truly want to see the change that some claim they desire, they must stand together.

NBA news: League to produce cloth face masks with team logos amid  coronavirus pandemic

I understand where both sides are coming from, but man I just want basketball back.

2020 Worst Team All-NBA

Who were the NBA’s five worst starters for the 2019-20 season?

ANDREW WIGGINS IS NO LONGER THE WORST PLAYER IN THE NBA. Wiggins has slowly graduated from tragic to just terrible on defense, and his added playmaking gave him positive value on offense for the first time ever. Wiggins was one of the five worst starters in the NBA each of the past two seasons and the league’s least valuable player a year ago. Now he’s just another bad player, and he’s Golden State’s problem.

The NBA recognizes its greatest players by picking First, Second, and Third Team All-NBA rosters, but why stop there? There are 30 teams and 30 starters at each position. Today we’ll look at the other end of the greatness spectrum, the Wiggins end. Sure, Wiggins is better at basketball than 100.00% of the people reading this, but that’s not the point. Five guys have to be the worst starters in basketball, so let’s find those five guys. They’re the 30th Team All-NBA, the Andrew Wiggins All-Stars.

No rookies allowed. Darius Garland, R.J. Barrett, and Jarrett Culver were pretty rough, but it’s no fun ragging on 19-year-olds, and rookies on bad teams aren’t expected to be good yet. Beyond that, anyone who started at least half their team’s games is available for selection.

Let’s get down to business. Who were the worst five starters in the NBA in the 2019–20 season? Let’s name our Worst Team All-NBA.


GUARDS

Isaiah Thomas, Washington Wizards

This one hurts.

Only three years ago, Isaiah Thomas finished fifth in the MVP race and was a legitimate 2nd Team All-NBA player at 28.9ppg. He pushed his body to the limit those playoffs, and it abandoned him — and then the Celtics did too. IT has bounced around the league since, playing for the Cavs, Lakers, Nuggets, and Wizards the last three years.

Thomas started 37 games this year, fifth most in his career, and like everyone else on the Wizards, he was absolutely atrocious on defense. IT’s size has always limited him on D, but he’s worse than ever now that he’s on the wrong side of 30. His free-throw rate is gone, and his offense is neutral at best, despite a career-best 41% behind the arc.

It’s sad, really. Thomas’s body is gone, and history says it probably ain’t coming back. He ranked bottom-10 in the entire NBA in PIPM.

Dillon Brooks, Memphis Grizzlies

Jan 17, 2020; Memphis, Tennessee, USA; Memphis Grizzlies guard Dillon Brooks (24) drives against Cleveland Cavaliers guard Collin Sexton (2) at FedExForum. Memphis won 113-109. Mandatory Credit: Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

Dillon Brooks led the presumably playoff-bound Grizzlies in minutes played. He scored 15.7ppg and was the only reliable Grizz wing for much of the season, and he hit 37% of his couple threes a game. On the surface, Brooks looks like a key 3-and-D wing for an up-and-coming playoff team.

It’s not as pretty if you dig a little deeper. Brooks made only 42% of his twos and attempted almost nine per game. In fact, he nearly led the team in usage, just barely behind Ja Morant. Brooks barely ever draws free throws, and he’s simply being asked to do way too much on offense. He might look like a 3-and-D guy, and perhaps he’ll develop into one, but right now he’s badly miscast as the #2 option on offense.

Brooks made just 50% of his shots at the rim this season and had negative offensive win shares, despite all those minutes played. That’s really bad. He was last among all qualified NBA starters at -4.3 BPM.

But he was like the sixth or seventh best player on a playoff team! That may or may not be. But the Grizzlies haven’t made the playoffs yet and won’t be a threat when they get there, and Brooks doesn’t get credit for the lack of wing options on this team.

Memphis liked what they saw this season and gave Brooks a fat extension, $35 million over the next three years. Brooks may develop into a quality 3-and-D guy if they can surround him with better offensive options, but that looks like a gross overpay either way.

Dishonorable mentions

You can make an easy case for Collin Sexton, but the Cavs were terrible and Sexton was being asked to do far too much. The defense is still terrible, but 20.8ppg with 38% from deep and kind of decent offense despite his age and the talent around him is enough to escape 30th Team honors.

Bryn Forbes started all year for San Antonio because he can hit threes and the Spurs badly need his spacing, but his defense is atrocious and he’s a one-trick pony. Gary Harris is much closer to this group than anyone would like to admit. We chalked his poor season up to injuries last year, but he was healthier and even worse this season. He’s still owed $40 million the next two years and is holding Denver back at this point.The Perfect 2020 All-NBA TeamsWhich L.A. superstars get snubbed from First Team? Jokic, Gobert, or Embiid? And which guards and forwards sneak onto Third Team?


FORWARDS

F Terrance Ferguson, Oklahoma City Thunder

In 2008, Clay Bennett sold his soul to the devil and stole the Seattle SuperSonics and moved them to Oklahoma. He was promised years of All-NBA production from Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, James Harden, Paul George, and now Chris Paul.

In return, he promised the Thunder would never find that fifth starter.

Poor OKC just can’t ever find that elusive 3-and-D guy. They’ve spent a decade drafting long, athletic dudes and none of them seem to work out. Terrance Ferguson is just the latest attempt.

Ferguson was the worst starter in the league by PIPM. He was bad on defense and tragic on offense. Oklahoma City is a legit playoff team with four excellent starters. CP3, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Danilo Gallinari, and Steven Adams are all good enough to be fringe All-Star considerations. All they need is a fifth low-usage guy to hit open jumpers and guard wing players. It’s all this team has ever needed. And they simply cannot find it.

Remember Turd Ferguson, the Burt Reynolds “Celebrity Jeopardy” character from Saturday Night Live?

Terrance was Turd Ferguson this year. He had a -3.7 rating per 100 possessions, despite starting next to four very good players, and a terrible -9.2 on/off. He scored a whopping 4.2ppg and made under 30% of his threes, and even that wasn’t invisible enough. Ferguson was poor enough that OKC tried out Hamidou Diallo and Deonte Burton instead and found even worse results. Those two were third and fourth worst in OPIPM this season, just slightly ahead of Ferguson (13th worst) and behind (ahead of?) the latest lanky Thunder project Darius Bazley, worst OPIPM in the league.

The Thunder eventually stumbled into Luguentz Dort, an undrafted rookie out of Arizona State. Dort was at least functional on defense and that was enough on this team. He moved into starting lineup late and saw the Thunder finish 16–5 before the hiatus.

Ferguson was a first-round pick a year ago, and he’s still super young and was playing up a position. Maybe there’s hope for him yet. The Thunder just need that fifth starter.

F Taurean Prince, Brooklyn Nets

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – OCTOBER 18: Taurean Prince #2 of the Brooklyn Nets looks on against the Toronto Raptors at Barclays Center on October 18, 2019 in New York, New York. (Photo by Steven Ryan/Getty Images)

The rebuilding Atlanta Hawks, in desperate need of any help possible on the wing, did not want Taurean Prince. They wanted him so little they were willing to take on Allen Crabbe’s awful contract to dump Prince.

The Nets disagreed and signed Prince to a fat extension a year before they would’ve had to make a decision, giving him $29 million for two years that haven’t kicked in yet. That looks like a significant mistake.

Prince averaged around 12 points, six boards, and two assists a game, about the same as his last couple years. The problem is those years weren’t good either. Prince is supposed to be a 3-and-D wing, but he’s not good at threes or defense. His three-point percentage dropped from 39% the last two years to under 34%, and he’s always been average at best on defense, unable to use his great length to his advantage and often out of place on team D.

Prince finished the year under 50% true shooting thanks to sub-43% on twos. He had just a 94 offensive rating in 1857 minutes for a clear East playoff team, by far the worst Brooklyn regular on offense but the Nets had so little on the wing that they just kept on playing him.

No harm done on a season that was never going anywhere with Kevin Durant out, but now Brooklyn is locked into two more years of Prince at $15 million when he probably can’t play next to Durant and doesn’t look at all like the 3-and-D guy this team badly needs. Brooklyn has no real room to add to this team, so they’ll need either Prince or Caris LeVert to step it up on the wing or their KD-Kyrie construction may be doomed before it even begins.

Dishonorable mentions

Carmelo Anthony has a case for inclusion, but let’s respect the old man. He shot 43/37/84 and started 50 games off waivers for a desperate Blazers team that had no other options at forward. We know what he is at this point.

Miles Bridges is still young, but the signs are not good so far. He isn’t hitting shots or finding a consistent role on offense, and the athleticism has translated into highlight dunks but not much else. Cedi Osman is not as young as you think and locked into a four-year $31-million extension that’s about to kick in. He should be very grateful for that money.

But shouts to Andrew Wiggins, who played his way off back-to-back appearances on my 30th Team All-NBA, including recognition as my LVP a year ago. Wiggins’s teams lost 20 straight games at one point this season, winless between January 9th and Leap Day. He certainly still isn’t good, but at least he’s no longer worst in the league — or a Timberwolf.The Final 2020 NBA MVP LadderWas Giannis Antetokounmpo or LeBron James this year’s deserving MVP? And is there another name we’re overlooking?


CENTER

C Cody Zeller / Bismack Biyombo, Charlotte Hornets

Center is always tough on a team like this because so few centers play big minutes these days, so the ones that do are generally at least decent.

That’s why we’ll honor both Hornets together as our 30th Team center. Bisdy Zelyombo combined to put up 18 points and 13 rebounds in 43 minutes of play, basically taking all the center minutes this season. That certainly seems harmless enough, but the 2.4 assists and 1.3 blocks — remember, that’s combined!! — are pretty terrible.

Zeller is better on offense, which is to say he’s not as tragically bad. Biyombo did not attempt a three this season. Zeller did… and shouldn’t have. He took 75 threes this year and made only 18, a putrid 24%. Biyombo at least has use as a dunker, but he was a miserable 33-of-110 on shots outside of three feet. That’s fetid 30% means the Hornets would’ve been just about as good turning and punting the ball into the stands on those Biyombo shots which, to be fair, they probably did that a few times too.

The Hornets ranked dead last in defensive rebounding. The Hornets ranked second to last on offense and sixth worst on D. The entire team was bad. These two weren’t particularly egregious, but for over $31 million combined, you’d sure hope for something much better than “not particularly egregious.”

Biyombo made my 30th Team two years ago too. Welcome back, buddy.

Dishonorable mentions

Ian Mahinmi was not good in his 35 Washington starts. He was probably the Wizards’ best defender, but that’s kind of like being the least flammable oxygen tank on the Hindenburg. Eight more games until the Wizards are freed of his incendiary contract.

Meyers Leonard is the de facto Heat starting center. I’m not sure why either! As a starting NBA center, Leonard blocked 15 shots all season. Miami, WYD??The 2020 NBA Bench Mob All StarsAnyone can make 1st Team All-NBA. What about 31st Team All-NBA? Bench players matter too in the NBA, and it’s time we give them their due…


SIXTH MAN

G Anfernee Simons, Portland Trail Blazers

Anfernee Simons was the worst regular in the NBA this season. He started only four games, so we’ll have to bring him off our bench.

Simons was horrible on offense and somehow even worse on defense. He ranked bottom-five in the NBA in some defensive metrics and finished dead last in the NBA in PIPM at -5.34. Simons had a 102 offensive rating and a 118 drtg, meaning the Blazers were outscored by 16 points per 100 possessions with him on the court. That’s one point every six possessions!

The Blazers had high hopes for a nifty three-guard rotation with Simons coming off the bench behind Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum. Simons played 1400 minutes and made barely 40% of his shots. A supposed point guard, he averaged only 2.4 assists per 36 minutes with a sub-10% assist rate, and he isn’t getting to the line or making much for himself either.

The Blazers were 4–15 this season when Simons played at least 25 minutes. They were 25–22 in their other games. Portland struggled to find useful forwards all year as they struggled to stay in the playoff race, but the truth is that they were hurt just as badly but their reliance on young Simons.

Simons just turned 21 a week ago, and his talent is clear. But his performance on the court makes it look like he should be developing that talent in the G-League, not playing big minutes for a team in the playoff race.

Kyle Kuzma can thank his lucky stars Simons is keeping him off the list.


Stats from Basketball Reference unless otherwise noted.

Follow Brandon on Medium or @wheatonbrando for more sports, television, humor, and culture. Visit the rest of Brandon’s writing archives here.