Kentavious Caldwell-Pope says 2019-20 Lakers were only team that stayed ‘together’ during NBA’s COVID-19 shutdown

Orel Dizon
3 Min Read

After helping the Los Angeles Lakers win the NBA title in 2020, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope is now on the other side of the fence trying to eliminate his former team as a member of the Denver Nuggets.

But even if the shooting guard is now on a different squad, he still has fond memories of his time with the Purple and Gold. Following Denver’s win over L.A. on Saturday, Caldwell-Pope shared his belief that the Lakers were the only team whose players remained “together” while the NBA was trying to make a plan to resume the suspended 2019-20 season due to COVID-19.

“I feel like we were the only team that stayed together during that COVID time,” he said to ESPN.

He spoke about the team being “really close.”

“If we weren’t with each other, we were in the group chat,” he said. “We were really close.”

The camaraderie the Lakers displayed surely played a key role in their championship run in the 2020 NBA bubble in Orlando, Fla. It wasn’t apparent early on, however, because Los Angeles won just three of its first eight contests in the bubble.

In the end, the Lakers still managed to take the No. 1 seeding heading into the playoffs. After several series wins, the team won the title, which some folks around the league have tried to put an asterisk on. However, an argument can be made that the bubble environment actually evened the playing field for all of the teams, perhaps making Los Angeles’ feat even more impressive.

Moreover, players having to be away from home for so long likely took its toll on many of them. For the Lakers, it presumably helped that their group was so close before and during the bubble.

Incidentally, one of Los Angeles’ adversaries in the playoffs that year was Denver. The Lakers defeated the Nuggets in five games in the 2020 Western Conference Finals, with four of those matchups being decided by 10 points or fewer.

Now, Denver has an opportunity to earn some revenge over its conference rivals, with Caldwell-Pope again playing an integral part for his squad. The 30-year-old is breaking the hearts of his previous team’s fans, averaging 15.3 points per game on a 51.4 percent shooting clip in the series.

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Orel is excited about the prospect of “Showtime Lakers” making a comeback, thanks to the presence of the King and the arrival of the Brow.