An NBA season like no other resumes inside a bio-secure bubble in Orlando this week, following a four-and-a-half month break, in what will probably be the most uniquely challenging title run in the 74-year history of the league.
Bringing home the Larry O’Brien trophy in October will require a level of mental toughness never seen before as players have to stay away from their families for three months, play in front of empty stands and also subject themselves to regular COVID-19 tests.
The Hollywood star power fueling the Los Angeles Lakers and Clippers makes them the favorites to win the Western Conference, according to analysts.
LeBron James’ first place Lakers held a 5.5 game lead over Kawhi Leonard’s Clippers when the season was brought to an abrupt halt on March 11 due to the pandemic.
Play will resume on Thursday (July 30) with 22 teams that were in striking distance of the playoffs battling it out until one team captures the title in front of spectator-free stands at the Walt Disney World Resort in October.
“It’s definitely going to have a different feel to it. I won’t be turning my phone off during this run. I can’t afford to. I have to continue to check in with my family every single day. Check in with my mom, making sure everything is still going well especially in the uncertainty of what 2020 has brought to all of us. So, I can’t afford to do that just, lose direct contact with everybody. I’ll be as locked in as I can be under the circumstances. I won’t cheat my teammates, I won’t cheat our fans and I won’t cheat myself. I’ll be ready to go.”
And James and Leonard don’t have to do it alone.
James has a valuable partner in dominant forward/center Anthony Davis while Leonard can look to versatile scorer Paul George when defensive double teams are thrown his way.