The Los Angeles Lakers were clicking on all cylinders heading into the final stretch of the 2019-20 NBA season when the league was forced to shut down due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic back in March.
The Lakers followed through on the hype that came with the pairing of LeBron James and Anthony Davis by putting themselves in position to secure the top seed in the Western Conference. Unfortunately, they will no longer get to enjoy all the perks that come with it since home-court advantage was essentially nullified with the rest of the season taking place at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida.
The timing of the shutdown was hardly ideal for the Lakers since they were hoping to capitalize on their improved play before settling in at Staples Center for the playoffs. Meanwhile, the loss of Avery Bradley has also left a notable void in the rotation.
Fortunately, there have been a few silver linings that came with the prolonged hiatus. Davis feels the extra rest should only improve this team’s chances of winning a championship.
“I think kind of the same. Obviously we’re missing a key piece with A.B., but I think our chances are the same,” he began. “We’ve got guys who are health and ready to go, so I think it’s kind of the same. Nothing changes from my standpoint.
“Actually, I think our chances are higher, just because we are all rested and ready to go. If anything our chances got higher. This season is going to be about who wants it more. Everybody kind of had a decompression from the season. Obviously there’s other stuff going on, but it’s about who wants it more and which team can stay healthy.”
Davis’ comments are certainly understandable considering he had been dealing with a lingering shoulder injury for the bulk of the season. Although the grit he displayed while playing at an elite level was impressive, the update indicates that he is ready to kick things up a notch with his new, clean bill of health.
Davis is not the only one that is confident about the Lakers’ chances given they have widely been pegged by the media as favorites to emerge as the victors of this truncated season. Regardless, the unprecedented circumstances could create an advantage for teams that are able to find their rhythm quicker than others.
The onus will fall on James and Davis to alleviate this transition period while head coach Frank Vogel establishes a new rotation without Bradley.
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