The NBA and NBPA announced on Friday that the 2019-20 season would go on as planned at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida. 22 teams will be taken into a “bubble” where they will play a shortened regular season before a 16-team playoffs goes on as normal.
Each team will play eight regular season games against some of the other invited teams after a short training camp period and some scrimmages against other squads. Following the regular season, if the ninth seed in a conference is within four games of the eighth seed, there will be a play-in series between those teams followed by the postseason which will include seven-game series as usual.
Prior to opening up the regular season, the Lakers will play three untelevised scrimmages in a quasi-preseason. The schedule for those games is as follows:
July 23rd, 4PM PT: vs. Dallas Mavericks
July 25th, 9AM PT: vs. Orlando Magic
July 27th, 12PM PT: Washington Wizards
The Los Angeles Lakers’ regular season schedule has been unveiled as follows:
July 30th, 6PM PT: vs. LA Clippers on TNT
August 1st, 5:30PM PT: vs. Toronto Raptors on ESPN
August 3rd, 6:00PM PT: vs. Utah Jazz on ESPN
August 5th, 3:30PM PT: vs. OKC Thunder on ESPN
August 6th, 6:00PM PT: vs. Houston Rockets on TNT
August 8th, 3:00PM PT: vs. Indiana Pacers on TNT
August 10th, 6:00PM PT: vs. Denver Nuggets on TNT
August 13th, TBD: vs. Sacramento Kings
The season is scheduled to resume on July 30th if everything goes to plan.
The Lakers main focus in the remaining games will be to secure the top seed in the West while hopefully staying healthy. Because the Lakers will finish the season with one fewer game than the Clippers (the current number two seed), they can finish the season with the same number of wins but be the top seed by account of a better win percentage, with the Clippers 2-1 season series lead becoming obsolete. As such, the Lakers only need a combination of three wins and Clippers losses to secure their place at the top of the West.
While the league has announced that the season will resume, it’s still fair to have some level of doubt due to increasing Coronavirus concerns, especially in Florida which is considered by some to be the hottest infection zone in the country, if not the world, at the moment. Lakers guard Avery Bradley has already stated he will not join the team in Orlando out of health concerns for his child who has had issues with respiratory illnesses in the past.
Some NBA players, including Bradley and Dwight Howard, have also stated their concerns that the resumption of the season would be a distraction from social justice issues as players have been on the frontlines of protesting police brutality and systemic racism in their communities.