After the COVID-19 pandemic brought the sports world to a halt in March of 2021, it would be four months before the NBA would return to action, with the NBA Restart at the Walt Disney World Resort getting underway in late July.
The restart was fittingly marketed as "a whole new game," with 22 teams taking part in the action, playing in front of no fans at Disney's various basketball arenas.
In unprecedented fashion, the timing of play resuming meant that the NBA Finals did not begin until Sept. 30, 2020, with the Los Angeles Lakers claiming their 17th NBA title by earning a 106-93 win over the Miami Heat in Game 6 on Sunday, Oct. 11.
One year ago today .. the @Lakers became 2020 NBA Champs! pic.twitter.com/XdpPKYDoLQ- NBA (@NBA) October 11, 2021
It's a moment that's hard to believe happened just one year ago.
When the Lakers take the floor for opening night for the 2021-22 NBA season on Tuesday, Oct. 19, just 373 days will have passed since they were crowned the champions from two seasons ago. That fact only begins to put into perspective the last 12 months in the Association.
The time-bending reality is a reminder that a lot can happen over the course of a year.
Since Oct. 11, 2020…
- The Lakers opened the 2020-21 NBA season after a 72-day offseason break, tipping off a truncated 72-game NBA season that took place from Dec. 22, 2020 to May 16, 2021
- The NBA has crowned two champions, with the Milwaukee Bucks earning the crown on July 20, 2021, 282 days after the Lakers' title
- Counting the end of 2020 NBA Finals and the beginning of 2021-22 preseason, games from three separate NBA seasons were played in less than 365 days
- With the postponed draft taking place on Nov. 18, 2020, two separate draft classes were introduced to the NBA just 253 days apart
- Only Anthony Davis, LeBron James and Talen Horton-Tucker remain from the Lakers' title roster, while Dwight Howard and Rajon Rondo have returned after leaving in 2020 free agency for stints elsewhere during the 2020-21 season
- Russell Westbrook, who faced the Lakers in the 2020 Western Conference Semifinals as a member of the Houston Rockets, has been traded twice. After getting sent to the Washington Wizards in December 2020, Westbrook was acquired by the Lakers as part of a five-team deal on Aug. 6, 2021.
- Of other notable members of the Lakers' title roster, assistant coach Jason Kidd is now the head coach of the Dallas Mavericks, while reserve forward Jared Dudley is an assistant coach. J.R. Smith, who appeared in 10 playoff games for Los Angeles in 2020, is a freshman on the golf team at NC A&T.
- There have been 13 head coaching changes, with the Indiana Pacers (Nate Bjorkgren to Rick Carlisle) and New Orleans Pelicans (Stan Van Gundy to Willie Green) each making two separate coaching hires in the past year.
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