The lesser-known names behind the superstars will decide whether the Los Angeles Lakers win an NBA championship in the Orlando bubble.
After more than four months on pause due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Los Angeles Lakers are back in action.
One month after the NBA was originally scheduled to crown its 2020 champion and hold the NBA Draft, the 2019-20 season officially resumes this week in Orlando, with teams contained to a “bubble” environment aimed at limiting exposure to the virus.
The bubble is an appropriate setting for these Lakers.
No team has more eyeballs on it right now than the Lakers: In part because they have historically been the NBA’s marquee and most fascinating franchise, in part because they currently employ the NBA’s marquee and most fascinating player in LeBron James.
Playing under intense scrutiny is nothing new for LeBron, and it’s been the norm for his teammates throughout his career. That may give them an edge in this unique format in which there’s no escape from the spotlight.
Two constants that put L.A. in position as a championship favorite have been LeBron and Anthony Davis. Both have legitimate arguments for league MVP.
LeBron is averaging 25.7 points, 7.9 rebounds, 10.6 assists (leading the league) and 1.2 steals per game. If you want to call him a point guard, he’s the best point guard in the NBA. He’s arguably still the best player in the world.
Davis is averaging 26.3 points, 9.4 rebounds and 2.4 blocks per game. He is probably the best big man in the league and maybe the best overall player in the world.
The Lakers don’t have to worry about LeBron and Davis, so long as they’re healthy.
What will determine L.A.’s postseason fate is the play of LeBron and AD’s supporting cast.
The role players who complement the superstars can make or break this team. Here are three X-factors the Lakers need to step up in order to finish the job they started way back in November.