The Los Angeles Lakers continue to navigate through uncharted waters in their attempts to prepare for the 2019-20 NBA season restart at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida.
The restrictions placed in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic have offered up its own set of challenges for the 22 teams that entered the bubble. After all, players were essentially stuck in a state of limbo while in quarantine due to the initial uncertainty surrounding the hiatus.
Although the Lakers may be the championship favorites, the unprecedented circumstances could provide a unique edge for a few dark horse teams. Fortunately, L.A. has seemingly taken the necessary precautions to make sure they remained as close to game shape as possible.
“I think guys have been really creative and attacked the quarantine in unique ways to stay in shape and world-class fitness,” Lakers vice president of basketball operations Rob Pelinka said before the team departed.
“I talked to a few of the guys who learned to go on outside jogs. That’s something that players have gotten used to, is the outside training. So there’s been new and creative ways to do it.” With the players that have come through to do individual workouts at our facility, I’ve been really impressed with the level of fitness and how these guys find ways to stay in world-class shape.”
It is certainly encouraging to see that the transition back to the daily routine has not been too difficult for the Lakers. This should help pay huge dividends in their efforts to get up to speed once the eight seeding games begin at the end of the July.
As productive as the jogs and other alternative training methods have been, there is no substitute for the pace of an NBA game. Teams that are able to get acclimated quicker than others could establish a significant advantage for themselves once the playoffs begin.
Pelinka’s confidence validated
Although the Lakers lost Rajon Rondo to a fracture in his right thumb, their three team practices in Orlando to this point have otherwise been considered a success.
“I think we’ve had some pretty good practices so far,” head coach Frank Vogel said over the weekend. “I think guys did a good job with what they did over the break, just trying to maintain their conditioning and body levels. I think we’ve been clicking a little bit throughout these two days.
“But it’s still the first two days after not doing much basketball for a couple months, so there’s a little sloppiness. Things with timing and rhythm, but I’m sure most guys are happy to be on the court playing with each other and trying to build that chemistry again.”
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