After months of speculation, the NBA finally has a plan to reboot the season in Orlando, Florida. Though the circumstances will be different, the road to the NBA Finals will be fascinating to watch. The Los Angeles Lakers have been among the favorites to win the championship. Though things will be very different, the goal remains the same for the team.
According to Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times, LeBron James has been doing his best to lead the team in these unprecedented times:
From keeping it lighthearted to being serious, James has been at the forefront during the Lakers’ group chats about staying “mentally and physically prepared” as they approach heading to Orlando, according to people familiar with the situation but not authorized to speak publicly.
It would be very easy for role players to have let themselves go over the last few months. Fortunately for the Lakers, they have a lot of strong veteran leadership on the team. There’s no doubt the guys at the stop have been smart. However, the team will need bench players to have an impact when the playoffs startup.
Are Lakers Title Favorites Upon Return?
After beating the Milwaukee Bucks and Clippers in back to back games, the Lakers looked to be the title favorites. However, it’s anybody’s guess how teams will look once games start getting played again. It could either help or hurt the team.
The Clippers are likely helped by the delay in action. They’ve battled injuries all season and should be pretty healthy when July 31 hits. The Lakers have stayed relatively healthy. Anthony Davis and LeBron have gotten knicked up at points, but nothing too serious. Both of the stars will have fresh legs, but it remains to be seen if the prolonged delay will have a negative impact.
One thing that should work in favor of the Lakers is that the roster has absurdly great chemistry for a group of guys who haven’t even played a whole season together. The Clippers haven’t had a chance to develop that kind of chemistry. The Bucks have good chemistry and a very good coach so they’ll be tough if the Lakers face them. That said, the purple and gold should still be considered one of the best bets to win it all.
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JaVale McGee Is Concerned About Returning
There’s a lot of excitement about the return of the NBA, but not everybody is sold on the idea that every player is going to stay inside a bubble for the duration of the season.
“It was slightly concerning,” Lakers center JaVale McGee said, according to the L.A. Times. “Just because I don’t think people are going to do that. We’re grown men, first of all. Luckily that’s not how it’s going to be if it happens.”
McGee has asthma which could make him have a harder time fighting a potential COVID-19 infection than others. While there will be risks with playing games right now, the NBA will do their best to keep up with testing and keeping infected players away from non-infected ones.