The NBA is facing a number of challenges with respect to the prospect of getting through the 2020-21 season. The league has finalized the majority of their important dates with training camps opening on December 1 for the official start of games on December 22.
An entire season with all 30 teams won’t allow for the bubble that the league employed to finish out the previous campaign, which presents an entirely new challenge. The pandemic remains a major issue around the country and with such a quick turnaround to the start of this season, depth will be even more important for teams.
As such, there is discussion about increasing the availability of two-way players to more than 45 days with the main roster, according to Marc Stein of the New York Times:
Talks are ongoing, sources say, to grant players on two-way contracts more than 45 days in the NBA to make them far more available to their NBA teams
With such a short offseason (for some teams) and more of a coronavirus threat, teams naturally want the added roster flexibility
— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) November 11, 2020
This makes a ton of sense as it gives teams more flexibility with their roster to account for unforeseen circumstances that are sure to pop up throughout the duration of the season. Increased injuries will be a concern as will be the potential for players to catch the coronavirus (COVID-19) outside of the bubble.
This makes it more likely that two-way players will be relied upon to fill in those gaps when necessary. The league has done a good job in utilizing the two-way contracts to find productive players and the Los Angeles Lakers have one of the best cases of that in Alex Caruso, who ultimately earned a regular NBA contract.
Devontae Cacok and Kostas Antetokounmpo are the team’s current two-way players.
The NBA has to be prepared for any number of unknown situations and give teams the ability to continue fielding a team and moving forward despite the obstacles that will surely occur. Two-way players are the easiest solution as they are already within the organization and the league is right to explore this route.
Frank Vogel confident Lakers will overcome challenge
Lakers head coach Frank Vogel is confident in his players readiness for the upcoming season despite the quick turnaround. Vogel believes his team will be prepared and pointed towards more familiarity with his system as the core players return for another season under his lead.
After everything being new last season in his first year with the franchise, the Lakers will have a higher starting point in year two as they look to defend their championship.
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