Before the NBA went on hiatus due to the outbreak of COVID-19, the Los Angeles Lakers had just finished their most impressive weekend of the season. With back-to-back wins versus the Milwaukee Bucks and Los Angeles Clippers, the Lakers cemented themselves as the team to beat in the NBA. However, Clippers guard Patrick Beverley doesn’t think that’s the case. When asked if the Lakers were, in fact, the team to beat in the NBA, he shut down that idea.
“No. I mean that with absolutely no disrespect. Not only to the Lakers organization but any organization,” Beverley said on the NBA’s Instagram Live feed.
This isn’t the first time Beverley has tried to discount how good the Lakers have been. After the purple and gold most recently beat the Clippers, Beverley was asked if it was a challenge to guard LeBron James and he said no. That was an absurd claim considering LeBron put up 28 points against them and led his team to a win.
Are the Lakers the Team to Beat?
Had the season not abruptly been suspended when the Lakers were at their hottest, it’s hard to imagine they wouldn’t be the team to beat right now in the playoffs. However, it’s impossible to know how teams might look when the NBA returns. Nothing like this months-long suspension has ever happened before in the middle of a season.
The Lakers have a roster loaded with veteran leadership, so that has to help in the event the season starts where it left off. At the same time, LeBron James isn’t a young man anymore. A couple of months could help his body, but it could also hurt it. Fortunately, every team is going to have to deal with the same issues. The Lakers aren’t the only team that’s been off. When/if the NBA does return, Los Angeles should probably still be considered the favorite, but that could change very quickly if they come back and long more sluggish than other teams.
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Is the NBA Nearing a Return?
With ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski breaking the news that teams are allowing players to use facilities starting May 1 in states that will allow it, there’s finally a step in the direction of potentially starting back up.
Progress is certainly being made, but Wojnarowski pointed out that this news does not necessarily mean that the season will resume.
Allowing players to do individual workouts won’t necessarily lead to teams being ready to play anytime soon. Also, there are multiple teams in New York and California that probably won’t be able to use their facilities until well after May 1.
“This is very tricky… if this stay home order goes to June and some teams have a month access over others at their practice facility,” tweeted Lakers veteran Jared Dudley about the news.
Teams in states with less strict stay-at-home orders could have an unfair advantage. However, it sounds the NBA is trying to take that into account. It remains to be seen how they’ll compensate for that fact, but it sounds like if a player in California wants a place to work out, they’ll be able to. Just not in their home state.