Lakers Coping With Mental Challenge Of NBA Bubble
Kyle Kuzma, Frank Vogel
Joe Murphy-NBAE

The Los Angeles Lakers have already spent a month at Walt Disney World where the NBA restart is taking place. Considering the league was able to resume games in a safe environment, the Orlando bubble has so far been a success.

But even though last rounds of coronavirus (COVID-19) testing brought no positive cases, questions remained how the experiment would affect those isolated in the bubble on the mental level. Anthony Davis previously said the championship race in Orlando could come down to mental toughness with team members being away from their families for weeks, playing in front of no fans, and spending an enormous amount of time together.

Lakers head coach Frank Vogel has said the secluded nature of the bubble has not affected his team’s chemistry, although he admitted it was something he was concerned about. “We’ve had a tight-knit group, but any group of people that spends too much time together, there’s a risk of that,” Vogel said.

“We’ve got a great spirit with this group, so it hasn’t been a problem yet and I don’t anticipate it being a problem, but it is something I’ve thought about.” And when asked whether he told Lakers players to take a break from each other to avoid any friction within the team, Vogel answered, “I have not. I have thought about it, though.”

Lakers players have been openly saying the bubble experiment is a challenge unlike any other. LeBron James previously said only those who really love basketball could agree to partake in the NBA restart in its format. And JaVale McGee agrees the sense of isolation in the bubble is discernible.

“You get a little cabin fever just being the same place, doing the same things every day with no variation, McGee said. “But it’s necessary for the goal at hand, which is to win an NBA championship. We all knew what we were getting ourselves into. There’s actually more things to do than we anticipated, so it’s not horrible.”

Green: Teams can get impatient with each other

Danny Green thinks certain teams have already gotten a bit chippier in Orlando, possibly alluding to Saturday’s trash-talking between Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard and Paul George and Patrick Beverley of the L.A. Clippers.

But while he says that is normal due to their competitive nature, the Laker guard thinks the bubble experiment could potentially be a challenge to team chemistry. “You’ve seen some teams get less patient with each other,” Green said. “That’s the other challenge and obstacle you have to fight through.

“Being in this atmosphere, around each other all the time, trying to get the chemistry right and not having the escapes or outlets you normally have. So the mental aspect of it gets tougher and tougher each day,” he added.

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