The 2019-20 Los Angeles Lakers were a special group that dominated their way through the regular season and then did the same in the Orlando bubble en route to winning the franchise’s 17th championship.
The Lakers were never really even tested in the postseason as they closed out all three of their Western Conference series’ in five games before beating the Miami Heat in six games in the NBA Finals.
Former Lakers guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope seems to feel differently though, specifically about the Western Conference Finals.
L.A. beat the Denver Nuggets in five games that series thanks in part to a miraculous buzzer-beater by Anthony Davis to win Game 2.
When speaking to Denver reporters at the NBA Summer League, Caldwell-Pope explained that he feels the Lakers would’ve lost that series if Davis’ shot didn’t go in, via Harrison Wind of DNVR Sports:
“I always tell people this story. If AD didn’t hit that 3, I think we would have lost that series. That’s what I think about this Denver team. They’re scrappy, just seeing them fight, they played against the Clippers and fought back, which shows a lot. And I’m just ready and excited.
Caldwell-Pope was traded from the Washington Wizards to the Nuggets this offseason, so it makes sense that he would make a statement like this in order to endear himself to his new teammates and fanbase.
It’s hard to say there’s any truth in what he said though considering the Lakers still went on to win two of the next three games after Davis’ buzzer-beater, proving to be the superior team in the series. And that’s not even a knock on the Nuggets, who were a young, up-and-coming team at the time that had just upset the L.A. Clippers in the second round.
The past is the past though and the Lakers will forever be known as the 2020 NBA Championship with Caldwell-Pope playing a large role in that. Denver should be back in the mix for a championship this year with the expected returns of Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr. as well as the addition of Caldwell-Pope, among others.
Davis has been working with Lethal Shooter every morning
As for Davis, the Lakers are hoping to get him back to the level he was playing at in the bubble in 2022-23. In order to do that, Davis will have to get back to shooting jumpers at a respectable clip, which is part of why he had the confidence to sink that game-winner against Denver.
In order to make that happen, Davis has been in the gym getting shots up with shooting coach ‘Lethal Shooter’ to get prepared for the season ahead.
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