If Skip Bayless can find a way to blast LeBron James for something, rest assured, he will find it. That even goes for the COVID-19 pandemic.
The novel coronavirus put the NBA on hold on March 11. The league is set to resume play on July 30, with training camp starting up for teams in the Orlando “bubble” this weekend. The rest of the season will take place at Disney properties, with the NBA Finals running through Oct. 13, if the series goes seven games.
The break between the last games that teams played and the season restart winds up being about the same amount of time as a regular offseason. It is anyone’s guess who the beneficiaries of this will be. It certainly may help teams with older players, though teams are set to play a marathon of basketball to end the season, so it will be a difficult path for any team.
Skip Bayless knows who stands to gain from this unprecedented, international health crisis. That’s right, it is none other than Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James. During Undisputed on FS1 today, he called the season stoppage from COVID-19 “the greatest break” of LeBron’s career.
— FOX Sports (@FOXSports) July 10, 2020
“He got the greatest break of his career,” Bayless said, after a weird interjection about Tom Brady. “The gods intervened, the basketball gods, and said ‘Let there be a five-month break at the end of your 17th season.’ Five months off he just got, after a great run in which I thought he actually edged ahead in the MVP race. They had a great close to what used to be the regular season. They beat Milwaukee and they beat the Clippers. They were on a roll, and they needed that rest.”
Bayless cited last year’s injury, the first long term issue that James has had in his lengthy NBA career, as proof that he was likely to break down again. Of course, that injury was in December, and there’s no indication that it was going to be a long term thing, aside from the increased likelihood of injury for any athlete over 35.
Skip is probably right that this will benefit LeBron, but every other NBA player participating is gaining the same benefit. The Lakers enter the restart in first place in the Western Conference. They were already one of the favorites to win it all, whether the season went on without a stoppage or not.
A segment of basketball fans are ready to brand whichever team takes home the NBA Title this year with an asterisk. Even if the Lakers had won in regular circumstances, Bayless likely would have found another way to do just that for LeBron James. The COVID-19 stoppage just provides him with a very easy pathway to argue for one.