Sport Coronavirus: Orlando bubble a 'mental test' for Lakers – Pelinka

06:51  01 july  2020
06:51  01 july  2020 Source:   performgroup.com

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a baseball player holding a ball: Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James © Getty Images Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James

Los Angeles Lakers vice-president of basketball operations and general manager Rob Pelinka believes the NBA restart in the Orlando bubble will be a "mental test".

The NBA season is set to resume on July 30 after the 2019-20 campaign was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic in March.

Orlando's Disney World complex will host 22 teams, with LeBron James' Lakers headlining the league's comeback against rivals the Los Angeles Clippers on July 30 after the New Orleans Pelicans face the Utah Jazz on the same day.

The Lakers topped the Western Conference with a 49-14 record prior to the COVID-19 crisis.

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At one point, Pelinka sat in on coaches’ meetings, involving himself at a granular level in Walton’s workload. In another example, Walton went weeks without hearing a peep from Magic Johnson. However, the Lakers may not view the situation as such, as signs point to Pelinka remaining GM.

"I think Orlando itself is going to be as much of a mental test as it is a physical test just because of the extraordinary circumstances there," Pelinka said on a video conference call on Tuesday.

"I think a team like ours, that has such a strong togetherness component, will have an advantage at that part. This team of guys love being together and love playing together. I think that's the significant part of the [first] 63 games."

Pelinka, whose Lakers will be without Avery Bradley after he opted out of the restart, added: "We have put a ton of thought into the mental part of this journey. It is going to be as much as a physical grind as it's going to be a mental grind.

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Lakers owner Jeanie Buss has long been a staunch supporter of Walton, who was hired by the previous front office headed by Jim Buss and Mitch Kupchack. While not hand-picked by Johnson or current Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka , the sentiment is they too supported Walton.

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"And I think the mental component might even be more paramount. And so, yes ... we have mental wellness people on staff here and we've been working with them on developing a protocol to address some of the concerns that are going to come up from an extended time away from family or an extended time living in a city that's not your home."

The Lakers had gone 8-2 after the All-Star break, with James and team-mate Anthony Davis leading the way for the storied Los Angeles franchise, who have not won a championship since 2010.

"I think that we're in a unique situation where we've had such a strong chemistry, such a strong team chemistry, that I think that platform is going to be seamless in terms of guys jumping on and being part of that identity and chemistry that we already had formed," Pelinka said.

"I don't see that changing at all with the new additions, just because it's such a strong identity."

LeBron won't wear social justice message on Lakers jersey .
LeBron James says his thoughts on social justice can't be contained on the back of a basketball jersey. The Los Angeles Lakers superstar won't wear one of the NBA-approved social justice messages on the back of his jersey when the NBA resumes competition later this month in the Orlando bubble. “It was no disrespect to the list that was handed down to all the players,” James said Saturday in a confernece call from Florida. “I commend anyone that decides to put something on the back of their jersey. It’s just something that didn’t seriously resonate with my mission, with my goal.

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