Much has been made about the shortened offseason for most teams heading into the 2020-21 NBA season, but the criticism about the turnaround has gotten louder in recent weeks.
With the recent season-ending injury to Denver Nuggets star Jamal Murray, many are saying that the condensed schedule has only put the players more at risk of getting hurt. The second half of the schedule has been particularly brutal as teams are playing more back-to-backs or stretches of four or five games with little rest in between.
The Los Angeles Lakers have been one of the more banged-up rosters in the league as most of their players have missed some time during the season. Despite this, head coach Frank Vogel admitted that he can not necessarily pin all of the injury woes across the league on the schedule.
“I don’t know if there’s more injuries this year than any other year,” Vogel said. “That’s something that people are speculating on because of the shorter condensed season. I do think that there wasn’t really any other way. We did not want to play another season into September-October and the NBA is trying to do the best they can and manage a business throughout a pandemic.”
Vogel added that he thinks the NBA is doing its best to make sure the season happens despite the circumstances. “I think the league has done everything they can, honestly,” Vogel said. “They’ve looked at this thing at every angle and everybody is trying to make the best of it.”
The league is well aware that the season schedule is too strenuous and therefore eased up its policies on resting players throughout the year. Also, Vogel’s point stands as the number of injuries that have occurred so far are roughly in line with the average for previous seasons.
Still, it is concerning to see players get hurt down the home stretch as it has a direct impact on the playoff picture. Hopefully every team is able to avoid any more serious injuries as the season begins to wind down.
Lakers in position to earn fourth seed in Western Conference
With Murray out, the Denver Nuggets are widely expected to slip down the standings. The Lakers are currently the fifth seed and just 1.5 games behind the Nuggets.
LeBron James and Anthony Davis’ returns are just around the corner, and that massive boost to the lineup might be what the team needs to overtake Denver for the fourth seed and homecourt advantage in the first round.
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