NBA Exec: 'Nobody Is Safe in This Environment' After LeBron James, Lakers Losses

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistAugust 9, 2020

Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James pauses during the first quarter of the team's NBA basketball game against the Indiana Pacers on Saturday, Aug. 8, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (Kim Klement/Pool Photo via AP)
Kim Klement/Associated Press

Playoff upsets are rare in the NBA compared to other sports, but this season could be different because teams are playing inside the bubble in Orlando, Florida.

"Nobody is safe in this environment—period," one Western Conference executive said, per Joe Vardon of The Athletic. "Everyone can be beaten."

The Los Angeles Lakers seem especially vulnerable after three straight losses and a 2-4 record since the NBA's restart. They have already clinched the No. 1 seed in the West, but LeBron James and Anthony Davis have struggled to put together big games at the same time.

Without home-court advantage in the playoffs, we could see a heavy favorite like the Lakers go down early. Notably, James has complained about the different conditions of games.

"For me personally, I just think I'm getting more comfortable playing in an empty gym," he said Saturday.

Only three times has a No. 8 seed beaten a No. 1 team since first-round playoff matchups became a best-of-seven series in 2003. However, Los Angeles has to be concerned about matching up against a proven postseason squad like the Portland Trail Blazers or San Antonio Spurs in Round 1.