The Los Angeles Lakers were atop the Western Conference standings with a 49-14 record when the 2019-20 season stopped on a dime on March 11 because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Los Angeles forward Jared Dudley, 34, spoke with media members via a Zoom conference call on Wednesday, and he warned not all teams may immediately return to their pre-pandemic forms.
Per Lakers beat reporter Mike Trudell:
On a Zoom call currently, @JaredDudley619 is expressing optimism about the NBA returning, and is hoping that things ramp up in June from individual workouts, to more players included, then a mini training camp of sorts and eventually, games. Of course, all dependent upon safety.— Mike Trudell (@LakersReporter) May 20, 2020
Dudley said he believes that there will be some level of either regular season games, or exhibition games, leading into the postseason. There, the bulk of the action will come; he expects playoff series to be each be 7 games.— Mike Trudell (@LakersReporter) May 20, 2020
Dudley said the layoff “hurts older teams,” due to the simple fact that the older a player gets, the harder it is to get their body back in game shape, generally speaking. However, LAL do have other advantages with their 2 stars, chemistry and size.— Mike Trudell (@LakersReporter) May 20, 2020
Of course in a neutral court environment, there will be no “home court advantage,” which the Lakers had all but locked up w/t 5.5 game lead in the West before the pandemic hit. @JaredDudley619 said the Lakers advantage is: “We have @KingJames and @AntDavis23."— Mike Trudell (@LakersReporter) May 20, 2020
There's something to be said for age being more than merely a number in this situation. Three-time NBA champion LeBron James is a once-in-a-generation athlete, but he's also 35 years old. Father Time remains unbeaten and untied.
Guard Danny Green turns 33 in June. JaVale McGee is 32. Dwight Howard, who was enjoying a bit of a career resurrection before the season's suspension, is 34. So is Rajon Rondo.
On Wednesday, ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski and Zach Lowe reported training camp workouts could begin in June leading up to the season's resumption by late July barring unforeseen setbacks. They added that both Orlando and Las Vegas could be temporary NBA hubs for neutral games played behind closed doors and without fans.
The Lakers may have roughly two months to get back to where they were when they won 11 of 13 contests from February 8 until the season was suspended.