Shaquille O’Neal believes the Lakers don’t need their home-court advantage, unlike the other four teams ahead of them in their conference.
Entering the 2020-2021 season, Los Angeles Lakers looked to be one of the strongest title contenders. Behind the leadership of superstars LeBron James and Anthony Davis, LAL was looking strong to win their second-consecutive title.
Although, the defending champions have been riddled with injuries. With both the All-Stars sidelined, missing many games, it has been a toll over the rest of the team. Despite acquiring the 2-time All-Star Andre Drummond, the Lakers have found themselves in a bit of a struggle over the last couple of weeks.
With the Brooklyn Nets team looking like one of the deadliest teams ever, many analysts and fans have ruled Los Angeles out for winning the title. Amidst all their struggles, Former Lakers legend Shaquille O’Neal refuses to believe the narrative.
According to the Hall-Of-Famer, LBJ and his Lakers have one unique advantage over the remaining four teams above them – the fact that the remaining teams need their home-court advantage and LAL doesn’t:
“The difference between the Lakers and any other team is that the Lakers don’t need home-court advantage. When you got guys like LeBron and AD, they can steal a game on the opponent’s floor. Utah and (other top 4) teams need home-court advantage. Lakers do not.”
The Lakers are 18-10 when on the road, while at home have a 16-11 record
There is absolutely no denying LAL’s ongoing struggles. The team have now dipped down to the 5th spot in the Western Conference, with Portland only 2.5 games behind them. Although, it is a fair point made by the former 15-time All-Star. The top four teams in the West have a better record at home compared to when on the road.
As per Shaq, if the Lakers end up with the top-4 seed, they will be able to dominate the playoffs. With a superstar duo of LeBron and AD, they don’t really need to rely on their home-court advantage.
Both of them have missed quite a few games. They will need a while to get back into the rhythm they were in before being sidelined with injuries.
Till the time the Lakers are without their best players, the team will have to fight to manage to a good finish to the season. Currently, LAL is at 5th seed, probably a little lower than where they expected to be. With a 34-21 record, they have 17 games to make an impact and move up the standings.