At the start of the NBA season, very few teams allowed fans at games. Now that the regular season is almost over, 29 of the 30 teams have a limited number of fans attending games, including the Los Angeles Lakers. The one team that wasn’t allowing fans is the Portland Trail Blazers.
The team announced on Wednesday that they will finally allow fans starting May 7. However, the NBA stills have an issue on their hands. Prior to the news dropping that the Trail Blazers could start allowing fans again, star guard Damian Lillard complained online that his team still couldn’t play in front of fans. While that isn’t the case anymore, Lakers veteran Jared Dudley brought up an interesting point. Teams like the Trail Blazers and Lakers can allow fans but they can’t have nearly as many as a team like the Utah Jazz. Dudley believes that could lead to unfair advantages for certain teams.
Def not right! When we played Utah they had like 8/9 thousand in the arena.. I bet they get 12/14k for playoffs.. Can’t have that wide of range.. I know NBA hands are tied but there’s def a competitive advantage esp since Portland has NO FANS.. https://t.co/8xpFcH7yvz
— Jared Dudley (@JaredDudley619) May 4, 2021
Lillard appeared to agree with Dudley’s concerns.
— Damian Lillard (@Dame_Lillard) May 4, 2021
Every team will have a certain number of fans when the playoffs get here but being able to have thousands of more fans could help some teams compared to others. There’s not really a lot the NBA can do in this situation but it will be interesting to watch how teams with more fans perform compared to teams with fewer fans.
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Lakers Not Concerned With Homecourt Advantage
Last year, the Lakers were the top seed in the Western Conference but it didn’t matter much. They were playing in empty arenas in Orlando, Florida. That didn’t end up hurting them as they went on to win the championship. This year, homecourt advantage will be in play as teams have fans in the stands. However, the Lakers don’t seem worried about that. Kyle Kuzma recently made it clear that the team doesn’t really need a homecourt advantage.
“I think seeding matters for a lot of other teams in the league; I don’t think it matters much for us,” Kuzma said, via Silver Screen & Roll. “Obviously we’re declining (in the standings) and we’ve got to just figure it out … We’ve only got 12 games left and we’ve just got to keep pushing and keep figuring it out. Get AD’s legs under him and get wins.”
Are the Lakers Ready for the Playoffs?
The Lakers are in a pretty bad slump right now but people seem to forget that the team also didn’t look great before the playoffs last year. In fact, some analysts predicted Los Angeles to lose in the first round of the playoffs against the Trail Blazers. That didn’t end up happening and the Lakers dominated the playoffs, only losing five games en route to a title.
As far as this season goes, Los Angeles certainly doesn’t look ready for the playoffs at all. LeBron James is injured and Anthony Davis doesn’t look like his former self. That said, it’s entirely possible they flip a switch in the playoffs. It’s easy to coast by in the regular season when you’re the defending champs. Perhaps the team just hasn’t had a sense of urgency this year. It’s hard to know if the Lakers will be ready for the playoffs but it’s also hard to bet against them if LeBron is able to play.
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