The Los Angeles Lakers are off to their best start in nearly a decade and the thoughts of many have already shifted towards a potential return to the NBA playoffs.
With Anthony Davis and LeBron James leading the way, most assumed the Lakers would definitely be back in the playoffs but if they continue playing at this level, homecourt advantage is a real possibility.
The last time the Lakers won championships in 2009 and 2010, they had the best record in the Western Conference. While the conference is extremely deep for the 2019-20 NBA season, the Lakers look to be amongst the top teams. Forcing teams to come to Staples Center could be a big advantage, but it is not something James is thinking about right now.
“I’m really not one to even think about that during the course of the regular season,” James recently noted. “Home court guarantees our fans more games but at the end of the day, you still gotta win on the road I believe.”
Meanwhile, Davis does believe homecourt will help the Lakers come playoff time.
“Obviously you wanna have homecourt advantage. Playing at Staples, the lights are different and kinda scare some people, so we wanna make sure that we get that.”
The difference in thought between the two Lakers could have something to do with their playoff experience. James went to nine NBA Finals and has lost series with homecourt advantage and won series without it.
On the other hand, Davis has made just two playoff appearances and never had homecourt advantage in a single one. Just playing in an environment like Staples Center regularly has stood out to Davis so far.
“It’s been fun,” Davis recently said. “Obviously when you come as a visitor, one game, maybe two a year, four with the Clippers but it’s different with the Lakers […] They love the Lakers, the fans love the Lakers, the city loves the Lakers and they come out and support. So being able to play in front of these fans in this city in the regular season 41 times, it’s amazing.”
However, as James said, regardless of whether the Lakers have homecourt or not, they’re gonna have to win on the road at some point. So for the time being, James is focused on the Lakers getting better.
“You just wanna try to play well throughout the course of the regular season and if you’re in the position where you can be homecourt throughout the playoffs or first round, second round then that’s great,” James added.
“But I think how you continue to improve and the process along the way is what matters the most and you see what happens at the end of the year. But right now, we’re in November and thinking about the playoffs hasn’t even crossed my mind, to be honest.