ESPN Panel Forecasts Lakers To Win 2020 NBA Finals
Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Lakers are going to get a chance to finish what they started and compete for the 2020 NBA championship.

The regular season was put on hold on March 11 due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, but after months of rigorous discussions and planning, the NBA and NBPA agreed on a plan to bring back it back.

The Lakers will be part of the league’s 22-team restart at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida. Teams will practice, participate in exhibition games, and play eight regular season games before the 2020 NBA Playoffs begin in the bubble.

With only eight games, L.A. appears to be set to enter the playoffs as the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference. While home-court advantage is no longer a factor because of the neutral playing site, the Lakers would still have the benefit of playing the eight seed in the first round.

The Memphis Grizzlies are currently in that spot, but that could change depending on the results of a possible play-in tournament.

Ahead of the league’s return, ESPN forecasted who would make the NBA Finals and ultimately come away with the championship, and the Lakers received favorable results:

Make NBA Finals

Milwaukee Bucks: 88.2%
Los Angeles Lakers: 61.8%
LA Clippers: 38.2%
Toronto Raptors: 5.9%
Boston Celtics: 5.9%

Win Finals

Los Angeles Lakers: 50%
Milwaukee Bucks: 26.5%
LA Clippers: 23.5%

Prior to the beginning of the 2019-20 season, the Clippers were considered to be heavy favorites to win this year’s title after their impressive offseason where they added Kawhi Leonard and Paul George to an already deep roster.

The Milwaukee Bucks came in second but quickly looked the part of title contender during the year as Giannis Antetokounmpo improved his game and will likely win his second consecutive MVP Award.

Even after trading for Anthony Davis, the Lakers only finished fourth on that preseason list as there were questions about the roster’s construction and LeBron James’ age.

Suffice to say, the team shattered their preseason expectations as head coach Frank Vogel did an excellent job in helping his squad gel together much quicker than anticipated while James turned in a vintage season where he led the league in assists.

With play set to resume, the Lakers appear poised to make it out of the Western Conference assuming good health and no setbacks with the schedule. Hopefully the team is able to rebuild the momentum they had before the shutdown and get back to playing winning basketball.

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