While some fans might be quick to assign an asterisk to this year's NBA champions, Houston Rockets guard Austin Rivers feels differently.

The coronavirus pandemic has thrown the sporting world for a loop, including the NBA. League officials are grappling with the best ways to possibly resume and finish the 2019-20 season. Though nothing is finalized, it is certainly possible the league decides to conclude the regular season and begin the playoffs immediately.

Such measure has raised concerns about the legitimacy of winning the 2020 title, but Rivers thinks that should not be the case. During a Facebook Q&A with Rockets commentator Craig Ackerman, Austin explained the team that emerges victorious will actually deserve more credit due to the circumstances (via Ben DuBose of USA TODAY).

“People have been saying, whoever wins, it’s going to have a blip [asterisk] next to it. I personally believe it’s the complete opposite. Whoever wins, this is so much harder,” the Rockets guard said.

“Whoever wins this year really had to go get it and earn it, and had guys who took time off seriously and still stayed in shape, and was able to get back the chemistry, true chemistry. So many things. In my eyes, whoever wins this, it’s going to be the hardest championship ever won.”

Austin Rivers makes a fair point.

Teams around the league were gearing up for the final stretch when the pandemic intervened in mid-March. Instead of preparing for a playoff run, players find themselves cut off from teammates and coaches, and some players do not have access to basketball equipment and proper training facilities.

Fans should also take into account teams will need quite an extensive preparatory process before even stepping on the hardwood, in the event the NBA is cleared to return. Moreover, teams and players around the league are feeling every bit as uncertain as the normal citizen.

As Rivers suggested, the Rockets and the other 29 NBA teams are going to have to grind harder than ever to achieve the ultimate goal of winning an NBA title.