The NBA is nearing its return as the 22 teams selected to participate in the remainder of the 2019-20 season are preparing to head to Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida.
As things stand, the teams will be afforded an opportunity to practice, train and compete in a few exhibition games before the regular season resumes. They will then play in eight games to determine seeding and the 2020 NBA Playoffs will start shortly after.
The Los Angeles Lakers will enter the bubble as one of the prohibitive favorites to win the 2020 NBA championship as they are a well-rounded squad who plays both ends of the floor. LeBron James and Anthony Davis will lead the way once again, but the key to winning a title will come down to the team’s supporting cast.
However, their rotation may be missing a couple of key players as Dwight Howard and Avery Bradley have turned their focus to the social injustices going on in the country. During an appearance on the NBA’s broadcast with Caron Butler, Danny Green said the Lakers will need the two to play if they want to be successful:
“I think it’s just important that we’re together. Obviously we’re going to need Avery Bradley, we’re going to need Dwight Howard to be playing for us to have a chance. But I think it’s important that we stay healthy, and not just our team but the league. Everybody that’s in the league has to have a unified front on what we’re going to do and speak with one voice. But for our team individually, as a group, Lakers, we need to be together, we need to be on the same page, we’ve got to stay healthy. I think we have some professional guys that are on top of it and actually staying in shape during this time, so I think we’ll be a little ahead of the curve with that.”
Bradley and Howard play pivotal rotational minutes for head coach Frank Vogel and are two of the Lakers’ anchors on defense. Bradley often takes the challenge of picking up players full court while Howard patrols the rim and offers excellent shot blocking capabilities.
However, the social unrest caused after the death of George Floyd sparked a resurgence for the Black Lives Matter movement and the two have worked in conjunction with several others players in the league, most notably Kyrie Irving, on bringing these issues to the NBA and formulating plans to address these concerns via a players’ coalition.
The NBA set a June 24 deadline for when players must declare their intent to play or not in the bubble, and right now it would not be a complete surprise to see Bradley and Howard opt to sit out.
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