On July 23, 2018, the Los Angeles Lakers signed Michael Beasley to a one-year deal worth $3.5 million. On Thursday, July 23, 2020, the Lakers will play the first of the three scrimmage games they’ll play before restarting the 2019-20 season at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando.
Suffice to say, things will be different when the Lakers return to the court, and no one knows exactly what to expect. But with almost two weeks’ worth of practices under the belt, they feel good about what they’re at heading into the season’s restart — both physically and mentally.
“I think we’re rested and energized,” Anthony Davis said after practice on Tuesday. “It gave everybody a chance to decompress and try to get back healthy, get their bodies back right and just kind of get away from the game a little bit.
“I think whoever wins is going to be the team that’s mentally tough. I don’t think it has nothing to do with physical attributes, it’s just more who’s mentally tough to get through just being here and not seeing your family and no going back to work. So I think we have an advantage in that category.”
By all accounts, the Lakers were one of the two-best teams in basketball before the season was suspended. They currently hold the best record in the Western Conference and the second-best record in the NBA thanks to their top-five offense and top-three defense.
Leading the way for them on both ends of the floor was their superstar tandem of LeBron James and Anthony Davis. For the season, James and Davis have averaged a combined 52.4 points, 17.3 points, 13.7 assists, and 2.7 steals per game.
They’ve been really, really good together, but Danny Green doesn’t want the Lakers to think it’s going to be smooth sailing for them for the rest of the season because of the early success they’ve enjoyed with James and Davis.
“It definitely helps,” Green said of having James and Davis to lean on. “But just because you have certain players doesn’t mean it gives you wins: we’ve got to put it together, we’ve got to earn the wins. And everybody’s kind of starting over.
“As much as everybody thinks we’re championship-level, nobody’s championship-level right now. And it’s just going to take everybody some time to get into it: get into the rhythm and rotation and chemistry. Just because we had a good start — it’s a good foundation to have those guys, of course — but we have to have them playing well and on the same page and healthy, and everybody else around them playing well and healthy.”
The Lakers will begin their road back to the championship level they were on with a scrimmage against the Dallas Mavericks on Thursday. Tip-off is at 4 p.m. PST.