After weeks of negotiations with the NBPA, the NBA is officially set to begin the 2020-21 season on Dec. 22, just 72 days after the Los Angeles Lakers beat the Miami Heat in Game 6 of the Finals to clinch the championship, and players will be expected to report for training camp on Dec. 1. That’s a quick turnaround.
The Lakers will try and use that small window to try and recover from their historically championship run, which started on Sep. 26, 2019 and ended on Oct. 11, 2020, but the reality is that they won’t have as much downtime as they usually do in the offseason. That’s true even for players who played in last year’s Finals like Danny Green and Quinn Cook.
For that reason, a few Lakers players are already back in the gym and getting ready for next season. Kyle Kuzma confirmed as much on Twitter Sunday.
We also know that Talen Horton-Tucker is back at it, although his situation is a little different than Kuzma’s because he only played 92 minutes in the bubble. For context, Kuzma played 121 minutes in the first round alone.
One underrated aspect of a shortened offseason is how much time players like Kuzma and Horton-Tucker will have to add to their game. That applies more to Horton-Tucker than it does Kuzma because Horton-Tucker’s only 19 years old and about to enter his sophomore season, but Kuzma also has a toon of room to grow as a player, particularly as a shooter. Kuzma shot 31.6% from 3-point range in the regular season and 31.3% in the postseason. Again: a toon of room to grow.
Expect to see more vides of the Lakers in the gym in the coming weeks, on top of all of three free agency and trade rumors that will leak. As hard as it may be to believe, we’re in full offseason mode now.