Last season, the Los Angeles Lakers started training camp on Dec. 1, just 51 days after they lifted the Larry O’Brien Trophy at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando. That historically short turnaround took a heavy physical toll on the league as a whole, but the Lakers got the worst of it, which is ultimately the main reason they weren’t able to meet their expectation of repeating as champions.
The good news is that they’ll have much, much more time to prepare for next season. According to a report from Shams Charania of The Athletic, the 2021-22 NBA season will start on Oct. 19, which is 138 days from the day the Lakers played their last game.
Here are all of the key dates for the 2021-22 season:
Sources: Key dates for the 2021-22 NBA season:— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) June 10, 2021
Sept. 28: Training camp starts
Oct. 19: Regular season starts
April 16: Playoffs start
June 2: Finals Game 1
June 19: Finals Game 7
June 23: 2022 NBA Draft
Obviously a long offseason doesn’t guarantee that the Lakers won’t have injuries flare up during the 2021-22 season — freak injuries happen year-round — but it will decrease the likelihood of someone suffering a fatigue-related injury like the Achilles tendinosis that kept Davis sidelined for 30 games in the regular season. It also gives them ample time to get fully healthy, which is something they clearly didn’t have last season.
Only time will tell if that alone will be enough for them to immediately get back into championship contention, but given how good they looked when LeBron James and Davis were healthy last season and the season before, there are plenty of reasons to believe to that all this team needs is a normal offseason to return to the top of the Western Conference.
Like, you’re telling me that LeBron James is going to have four months to prepare for next season and he has a chip on his shoulder? Yeah, the Lakers are going to be fine.