Just before the NBA suspended operations to proactively respond to the coronavirus pandemic, the Los Angeles Lakers were playing some of their best basketball.
They had just gotten wins against the Milwaukee Bucks and Los Angeles Clippers in games where some of their best role players — like Danny Green — weren’t playing close to their best basketball.
It was this stretch that proved that when LeBron James and Anthony Davis are at their best, the Lakers were extremely difficult to beat even if role players weren’t doing their best. Now, the coronavirus suspension will certainly test the longevity of this team as it could be a couple months before their next game. This is especially true as access to the team’s practice facility is prohibited.
Green spoke about what the hiatus could mean for the Lakers long term and he wasn’t shy in saying that it could cost them some losses in the short-term, according to Mike Trudell of Lakers.com:
We have a lot of vets on our team, so a week or two can be great, just like All-Star break. A nice reset to get your legs back under you, get fresh. But once that extends to three weeks, four weeks or more, that’s where things get tricky. You start losing your rhythm. You can’t simulate playing basketball no matter how much working out you do. There’s no equal amount of training or conditioning individually you can do to simulate a 5-on-5 basketball game. It’s such a different type of staying in shape. So we don’t want to be rusty or out of shape. I’m sure we trust our guys to stay in shape, but things can get a little dicey when it comes to too much rest.
Should the NBA return, Green is hoping they’ll have some time to regain that rhythm as a team before the 2020 NBA playoffs begin:
For sure, and (when/if) we do resume, we’ll probably take some losses, which is fine. We can hope that we don’t take as many in the last 20 games to lose the top seed, but we want to build or chemistry back so that we’re the team that we were when we stopped playing.
Green’s concern is certainly something that is shared by players and fans alike — not even just for the Lakers. However, everyone knows that the league simply could not have continued to play games under the circumstances.
When the NBA eventually makes a return, it will be a process for every team to get back in rhythm and the league will be cognizant of that when they make the revised schedule.