“Great Set Up For LeBron”: Former Knicks Coach Confident LA Lakers Will Benefit From Early Season Start

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The LA Lakers have no time to rest on their laurels. After winning an NBA Championship close to two weeks ago, they have to get ready to defend their crown. The NBA and the players’ association recently agreed to start the new season on December 22. The new season will be a reduced 72-game spell in order to finish the playoffs before the 2021 Olympics.

As the defending NBA Champions, the Lakers are expected to make it out of the Western Conference. However, they face tougher opposition with the Clippers, Warriors, and other teams that will look to redeem themselves.

Lakers' superstar LeBron James
Oct 11, 2020; Lake Buena Vista, Florida, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (23) and guard JR Smith (back) react late in the fourth quarter against the Miami Heat in game six of the 2020 NBA Finals at AdventHealth Arena. The Los Angeles Lakers won 106-93 to win the series. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

For the Lakers, their main focus should be figuring out the structure of their team. Important players such as Rajon Rondo and KCP are expected to opt-out of their player option and test free agency. The Lakers’ front office should decide on whether they want to bring them back or try to bring in a replacement that can bolster their championship chances.

The short duration between the end of the NBA Finals and the start of the new season is a challenge for the LA Lakers. The ‘LakeShow’ will only have 71 days to recover and become ready ahead of the new season. LeBron James has even joked about him cherry-picking games for the first month of the new season.

But given his advanced age, there may be some truth to that. The short rest and recovery period is one of the biggest challenges to the Lakers’ title defense.

David Fizdale thinks LA Lakers have an advantage

Not everyone is of this opinion. Former Knicks coach David Fizdale went on ESPN’s The Jump. When asked about whether this short offseason will hurt or help the Lakers, Fizdale suggested the latter.

“I think if they have the foresight and they really looking ahead to when the season was going to start, I think the Lakers have the benefit. If the LeBron and AD got in each other’s ears and got in their ears and said, ‘Listen, you can’t really party anyway, so don’t overdo it on this finals. As much as we love being champs, the season is going to start up right away. Let’s stay in great shape, everybody take care of their bodies, and let’s come back into this season and hit the ground running and just impose our will onto the game and see if we can go and get another title.’ ”

For Fizdale, he thinks the Lakers can carry forward the momentum of their championship win into next season. To me, this is a great setup for LeBron. Because the older he gets, we keep waiting for him to fall off. This starting right away gets him right back into it. I’m sure he’s in great shape, I just don’t know if those other guys over-celebrated or not. But I think it really benefits the Lakers.”

David Fizdale knows what it takes from a team to go back-to-back. He was an assistant coach for the Miami Heat when LeBron James and the ‘Big Three’ repeated their title success in 2012 and 2013. James will be hoping to have the same success with this Lakers team.

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