NBA return is perfect for the Lakers title hopes

The NBA board of governors met via conference call on Thursday morning, and the 2019-20 NBA season has been resurrected. The league finalized dates to resume the season and through the start of the 2020-21 season.

According to Shams Charania, training camp will begin June 30, with the 22 teams traveling to Orlando, FL on July 7. The official resumption of the season will be on July 31, and if there’s a Game 7 of the NBA Finals, the season will end on Oct. 12. The draft and free agency will take place within the same week of that Game 7.

The 2020-21 season will start on Dec. 1, which is where a potential problem could lie. While the rest of the NBA will get a ‘decent’ break, the players from the two teams that played in the Finals will suffer a little.

There will be a little over a month and a half between the end of this season and the next, but for the first time in a long time, the two teams that are in the NBA Finals this year will have a slim chance of getting there next year, and if it’s a LeBron James-led team the chances are even slimmer. This year may be LeBron’s last and best chance at his fourth title.

LeBron James will turn 36 years old approximately one month into the 2020-21 season, and with the next generation of superstars defining themselves day-after-day, his window may be closed. Giannis Antetokounmpo record-wise has the best team in the NBA and he’s going to figure out how to win in the postseason sooner than later. Kawhi Leonard and Paul George are already immediate threats and are only going to be better together next season. Jayson Tatum is on a mad dash towards superstardom and his Boston Celtics compliment him well. They’ll be in the conversation. The Miami Heat are one superstar from possibly being there, and you shouldn’t sleep on the Denver Nuggets, either. You get my point, though. LeBron’s best chance of winning his fourth title before either retiring or significantly dropping in his dominance is this season with the Lakers.

But LeBron has one hell of an opportunity this season, and probably a better opportunity than he already had. Why? Because he’s getting exactly what he needs during this time: rest. By the season’s resumption, LeBron will have had 143 days of rest, which is the equivalent to an entire offseason. LeBron has been dominating off-seasons for years. That’s after a grueling season full of little nagging injuries. Imagine LeBron James entering the postseason after an offseason worth of rest.

The Lakers and the Clippers were neck-and-neck for this year’s championship. After the league’s hiatus, the Lakers are the clear-cut favorites, because I’ll take a healthy LeBron in the playoffs over any team in the NBA.

Addam M. Francisco

Founder & Editor-in-Chief. National Association of Black Journalists. University of Central Oklahoma.

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