While the 2019-20 NBA season remains on hiatus due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the league continues to look for ways to safely bring back basketball.
The Los Angeles Lakers, who were perhaps favorites to win the 2020 NBA Finals after beating the Milwaukee Bucks and Los Angeles Clippers consecutively, could have the most to lose by the remainder of the season getting canceled.
The Lakers may have been slight favorites, but the Bucks and Clippers definitely wouldn’t see it that way. This especially is true for the Clippers, who had beaten the Lakers twice already this season and were hoping to meet with them in the Western Conference Finals.
Patrick Beverley, who is known for his pesky defense and strong personality, believes that nobody is a threat to the Clippers. When asked if the Lakers were the team to beat, he responded exactly how one might expect him to respond, according to Farbod Esnaashari of Sports Illustrated:
Patrick Beverley on if the Lakers are the team to beat: "No. I mean that with absolutely no disrespect. Not only to the Lakers organization, but any organization."
— Farbod Esnaashari (@Farbod_E) April 25, 2020
This is a relatively tame statement from Beverley, but it still reiterates his point that he believes the Clippers should be and are the favorites to win it all.
Should the remainder of the regular season end up getting canceled, the Clippers would end up as the Western Conference’s No. 2 seed as they sit 5.5 games back of the Lakers. Just to get a shot at the Lakers, they would have to go through two of these teams: Dallas Mavericks, Houston Rockets, and Denver Nuggets.
While this is certainly doable, nothing is guaranteed. Especially when the fact is considered that the Clippers were rarely fully healthy before the league went on hiatus, meaning the team has spent little to no time playing together.
If the 2020 NBA [layoffs do happen and the Clippers manage to get past the Lakers and the Bucks to win the championship, it would certainly be an impressive feat. Beverley and likely everyone else on that roster believes they are capable of it.