The NBA announced on Friday that they are targeting a December 22 start date for the 2020-2021 season with a shortened schedule of 72 games. The Los Angeles Lakers won the NBA Championship on October 11. That would give the Lakers a good 72 day offseason. Usually, the NBA offseason is around 130 days. With the NBA’s plan this year’s offseason would be almost half the normal. Would this shortened offseason benefit or harm the Lakers on their quest for back to back championships?
While the offseason may be short, there are definite benefits for the Lakers. Amid the Covid-19 virus, many NBA teams stopped their season in March and never got to play in the bubble. While some players on these teams have access to a gym, there may be a serious lack of team chemistry.
On the other hand, the Lakers just spent 100 days together in isolation and won a championship. Their experience as a team in this unknown time and their deep playoff run only brought them closer. Starting the season in December could keep the training rolling for the team. The chemistry is there, the leadership is there and the mental toughness is there. The Lakers just need to continue this streak into the newly formatted NBA season, no matter if the start is in December or not.
The obvious downside to a December start date would be the shortened rest time for the Lakers. The Lakers just experienced a very physically and emotionally draining season. With the stop in March, the restart and the bubble, there was a lot this season for players to deal with. The offseason is supposed to be a decompression time for the players and this December restart significantly lowers their time for decompression. Fatigue can also increase the risk of injury which could be detrimental for any team especially in a shorten season.
When looking at the rest time, 72 days is still over two months of an offseason. While this is different then what they are used to, the players still do have time to rest. One thing that the Lakers should have taken away this season was adaptability. The pause and restart of the season shows the Lakers how to continue their dominance no matter the circumstance. This lesson of adaptability needs to be carried through to this season because things will still look a little different in the NBA.
It seems as though the team chemistry and bubble experience will weigh out tired legs. For a team with multiple players able to compete, the Lakers should be able to deal with fatigue if the NBA starts in December. Also, knowing the Lakers squad, they will be ready for anything.
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