We miss the NBA, no question about it. The 2019/20 season was expected to be a very entertaining one and it was actually a great campaign until the coronavirus outbreak forced every major league in the world to stop its activities. There has been a lot of rumors about the league and when it will return, with some saying in the summer or later, but the answer is anything but clear at this point.
One of the major stories of the season was the battle of Los Angeles between two of the favorite teams to win the title, the Lakers and the Clippers. These teams had electrifying duels on the court, with the Clips winning two of their three matches against the Lakers.
That supremacy in their direct duels wasn't translated to the record, though, as the Lakers had the best record in the West (49-14) at the time the league suspended the season. The Clippers were right behind them with a 44-20 record. Everybody believes these teams will fight for the right to represent the West in the Finals, but some think the Lakers will have the advantage over the Clips once the league resumes action.
ESPN's analyst Stephen A. Smith believes that will the case when the NBA finally returns. During Friday's edition of 'First Take', SAS shared his opinion of what will happen when we have basketball again. To Smith, LeBron James and his Lakers will have the upper hand over Kawhi Leonard, Paul George and co. When asked about the 'most ready' team in the NBA when the league returns, Smith said:
"Lakers. It's not about the number of players who'll be ready, it's about who matters, and who matters is LeBron James. Now you can make the argument about Kawhi Leonard because this load management; obviously he's getting plenty of rest, unfortunately because of this coronavirus pandemic, but at the end of the day, I'm trusting LeBron James, I'm trusting his experience, I'm trusting his brilliance, I'm trusting his work ethic and I'm trusting his postseason experience. You can sit up there and debate all you want to about LeBron James being 35 years of age. Consider the fact that he missed the playoffs the previous year, comes back this year as a top 2 candidate for league MVP and then now you're gonna be coming back with additional rest on that 35-year-old body in his 17th NBA season. (...) You have a person that's incredibly knowledgeable about what it takes physically to have yourself ready to go. I trust LeBron James and I trust the impact that he's gonna have on his teammates, including Anthony Davis and others more so than anything else. That's why I say the Lakers."
If there is something LeBron James knows, that's how to get past his rivals to get to the Finals. Regardless of his records in the Finals, Bron made 8 straight trips to the biggest series of all until he missed the playoffs for the first time in over a decade last season. He has more experience in the postseason than anybody on the Clippers roster and that is a huge advantage for the Purple and Gold.
That can be the edge they need to beat their city neighbors and make it to the Finals.