As playoff teams are now two months into their time inside the NBA bubble, many haven’t been shy to voice their opinions on the challenges of the restart.
Players have been sharing Instagram posts of their families back home, as well as pictures of the food and activities present on the Walt Disney World grounds. While many around the league have raised concerns about the level of play and injury risk present in the bubble, Los Angeles Lakers All-Star Anthony Davis doesn’t see those as significant obstacles.
“I think we are rested and energized,” Davis recently said. “I think it gave everybody a chance to decompress in the middle of the season. You try to get healthy, get your body back right and just kind of get away from the game a little bit.
“I think whoever wins is going to be the team that’s mentally tough. I don’t think this has anything to do with physical attributes. It’s more who’s mentally tough to get through just being here, not seeing your family, and getting back to work.
“I think we have an advantage in that category.”
The Lakers have one of the oldest and experienced rosters in the NBA, and certainly among those remaining in the playoffs. LeBron James, who won his first career assists title, also ranks fourth all-time in total playoff games.
All this to say that the Lakers have as much experience and mental toughness as anybody in the league. It could prove vital if Davis is correct.
L.A. already has had to demonstrate that by withstanding Avery Bradley opting out, then losing Rajon Rondo to injury, and dropping Game 1 in both of their playoff series.
JR Smith sees difference in LeBron
JR Smith, who won his first championship with James on the Cleveland Cavaliers, noted a difference in the leadership style of the 17-year veteran on the Lakers.
“I say more than anything he’s more patient now,” Smith said. “I think when he was younger, he had a shorter fuse with things,” Smith shared. “He lets things roll off his back pretty easily now; whether it be a good thing or bad thing. It doesn’t change his work ethic, but I think he’s more relatable and easier to get along with.
“He’s always been so focused on his drive and winning and stuff like that, but I feel like that pressure is off his shoulders. He can be him. He doesn’t have to try to orchestrate the offense or the defense. He can let the coaches do their job, and I think that’s a true testament of him growing.
“If he sees something he doesn’t like, of course, he’s going to say something, but I think he gives people more of an opportunity to voice their opinion and do their job.”
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