The reigning NBA Champions, the LA Lakers shouldn't be worried about playoffs seeding for the 2020-21 season. As long as the Lakeshow can keep building team chemistry, they will be able to handle a lower seed entering the postseason.
The Lakers had a stellar offseason as they got younger, adding players who are hungry for their first trip to the NBA Finals. The Lakers have been outstanding this campaign, boasting of the second-best record in the West ahead of the All-Star break. LeBron James is having an MVP caliber season, showing no signs of slowing down in his 18th year in the league.
3 Reasons why LA Lakers don't need to overburden LeBron James for the top seed this season
The LA Lakers did hold the number one seed last season but did not enjoy all the perks that come along with it as the campaign was hindered by the pandemic. As fans witnessed, the NBA Bubble leveled the playing field for playoff-contending teams.
With the virus threat still looming at large, it can be argued that this season could see something similar to last season's playoffs with strict measures in place to safeguard NBA players from contracting the virus and missing out on important games.
No fans in attendance don't make much for home-court advantage and on top of everything else, the LA Lakers have the phenom, LeBron James in the lineup. James made it to the 2018 NBA Finals as the fourth seed with his former team, the Cleveland Cavaliers. His impressive resume of reaching the NBA Finals time after time serves as a testament to his ability to not let the seeding affect his chances.
On that note, let's check out three reasons why the LA Lakers need to preserve LeBron James in the regular season:
#1 The LA Lakers have a better away record this season
The Los Angeles Lakers have been extremely good away from the Staples Center this campaign. The new-look Lakers even broke the franchise record for the best road start, going 7-0 to begin the season. The defending champs are 13-3 in road games as of today, a tremendous 81.3% winning percentage that bodes well for their title aspirations come playoff time.
The Lakers have been able to bring all the pieces together, demonstrating strong showings in away games thanks to a bunker mentality adapted on a team-level. With limited fans in attendance, it could be argued that there isn't much difference between home and away games this season as it is.
Nevertheless, this Lakers' unit has come to terms with the empty stadiums and has been conquering teams on their turf with authority. LeBron James is a special talent who can find the extra gear when adversity strikes and this postseason shouldn't be any different. With James at the helm, the Lakers should be able to make full use of their encouraging away record.
#2 The LA Lakers will likely collide with the LA Clippers at the Staples Center in the postseason
If the Clippers don't meet the same fate from last postseason, then fans could witness a battle for LA in the Western Conference in the 2021 playoffs. As things stand now, the LA Lakers and the LA Clippers could lock horns in the second or the third round of the postseason.
In the event both sides clash in the Conference Finals, the Lakers and the Clippers would play all games of that series at home as the teams share the same arena,. With the two sides boasting of title-contending rosters, fans can't wait to feast their eyes on an electrifying series between the city rivals.
It's easy to imagine why this would benefit the Lakers as the team will receive some much-needed downtime between games, cutting down on the traveling time. The extra time could then be utilized by the players and the coaching staff to run set pieces in preparation for the next game and making the adjustments in practice sessions as the series dictates.
This could be a big advantage for LeBron James in his 18th year in the league. The 36-year-old could make good use of the time to work on his body as he gets to play an entire series on a court familiar to him.
#3 Covid-19 protocols could affect the playoffs this season as well
In a usual season, the LA Lakers would enjoy their loyalists barging into their opponents arena to support one of the most beloved NBA franchises in league history. If the NBA allows fans in fair and balanced capacity this time around, the Lakers will overpower any other team on the back of a superior fan base that is always ready to make their presence be felt.
If there is in fact a showdown between the Clippers and the Lakers in the playoffs, the latter's fans will convert the Clippers' home games into a hostile away game with Purple and Gold jerseys swarming the arena in full strength.
The 2021 NBA playoffs are a big question mark at the moment but from the looks of it, NBA Commissioner, Adam Silver could fashion this year's postseason campaign on the successful NBA Bubble model from 2020. In that scenario, players will need to compete without any support from the stands.
The season may be marked with difficulty but one thing is for sure, LeBron James will need to pull out all the stops no matter where the Lakers end up with the playoff seed. It's all about mental toughness and no one trumps the King in that department.