The Los Angeles Lakers were sitting atop the Western Conference with a 49-14 record when the 2019-20 NBA season was suspended in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19).
In fact, it can be argued they were finally starting to hit their stride after capping perhaps their most impressive stretch of the season with back-to-back wins over the Los Angeles Clippers and Milwaukee Bucks. This team was seemingly on the verge of kicking things up a notch heading into the 2020 NBA playoffs.
Unfortunately, any advantage the Lakers may have built up to this point may have been for nothing if the season is unable to resume. As a result, it appears veterans like Jared Dudley are coming to terms with the prospect of missing out on a championship.
According to Michael Lee of The Athletic, Dudley feels the team was fully prepared to bring home a championship this season:
Even if we win the championship next year, that’s not saying this would not have been our best chance. This would have been our best chance to win, even if you go into the future. The optics and everything was set up. We’re going to have homecourt and we don’t know how it would’ve been. Milwaukee might lose a few more games. We might have caught them. Probably most likely not, but you just don’t know. The momentum we were carrying going into it, it’s hard to repeat that. You see LeBron James teams. He’s had teams that were No. 1. He’s also had teams that slipped up in the regular season and then caught wind in the playoffs. You don’t know next year, we may be the three seed. Yeah, we may beat these other teams in the playoffs, but it’s a lot easier when you have homecourt throughout.
Dudley’s comments are indicative of how uncertain the future can be for many teams and their players. After all, the team had already endured its fair share of trials and tribulations throughout the season and managed to overcome them by emerging as the clear-cut favorite to compete for a championship.
Although the team’s championship window will be open as long as they are led by LeBron James and Anthony Davis, there is no telling how the dynamic of the team or the landscape of the league will change in the future. Meanwhile, all the factors for this year’s championship run had already been determined heading into the final stretch of the regular season.
It now remains to be seen whether or not Dudley will be able to see it through with Los Angeles. While the NBA continues to seek out other alternatives to finish out the season, recent reports suggest the league may have to settle for a more unceremonious end to the season.