This offseason has seen a lot of teams in the NBA strengthen and hope to make a serious playoff push. The two teams most fans want to see come together in the finals are the Los Angeles Lakers and the Brooklyn Nets.
Most NBA betting sites have the Lakers and the Nets as rightful favorites to win it all and it’s hard to disagree.
The Golden State Warriors are going to be making a big playoff push with the return of Klay Thompson and have had some decent additions to the roster. However, it’s hard to see them beating the Lakers in a seven-game series if they met in the postseason.
The most threatening team to the Lakers in the West has to be the Los Angeles Clippers. Although with Kawhi Leonard injured and with an uncertain return date they may not be as threatening to the Lakers as they have been the last two seasons.
Also, the Clippers haven’t made any notable improvements to their roster, although Eric Bledsoe may prove a lot of people wrong and become a valuable addition to the team.
What will be the key factor in this year’s playoffs? Staying healthy.
Can the Lakers and Nets Stay Healthy?
Of course, credit needs to be given to the NBA Champions, the Milwaukee Bucks. The Bucks and Giannis Antetokounmpo had a great season and postseason.
The Lakers had a regular season scarred with injuries and didn’t have much time together as a team. Anthony Davis was also injured during the Pheonix Suns series.
When both Lakers and Nets teams are healthy it’s hard to see much standing in their way, although the Clippers will be a tough match-up.
For the Nets especially, when their full team is healthy it’s hard to see them having trouble with the Bucks or Sixers. The Miami Heat look strong this year so maybe they can give them a good series but the Nets are just so stacked it’s hard to see them losing when healthy.
A key concern for the Lakers is Anthony Davis. Can he stay healthy after a poor season full of injuries?
Of course, LeBron James is the best player on the Lakers. However, Davis is the player that no team really has an answer for. Especially the Nets.
Defense Wins Championships
The typical saying, defense wins championships. In the past two seasons, the Lakers have arguably played the best defense in the NBA.
One of these seasons resulted in a championship, the other was put to an end in the first round.
All of last season the Nets’ main criticism was on their defense, but they showed in the playoffs they can get timely stops and play hard.
This doesn’t change the fact that their rim protection isn’t particularly good. James, Davis, and Russell Westbrook may thrive in a match-up with the Nets.
They also still have Anthony Davis of course, so the Lakers should be expected to be a strong defensive team. The deciding factor in a potential match-up between the two teams will probably be team chemistry.
Will the New Lakers Team Work?
The biggest question over who should be the favorites for this season is whether the new Lakers team will work together. They have a full season to build their team chemistry and the championship may depend on how Westbrook fits with Davis and James.
The Lakers roster has changed significantly from last year and could lose one of the few players from last year’s roster in Marc Gasol.
The Nets’ ‘big three’ works, we found that out in the few games they played together this season. In fact, James Harden joining the team arguably led to Irving playing the best basketball in his career.
A full season with Harden as his point guard could see Irving have another great season. He is now able to focus more on just scoring, and few people in the NBA are better scorers than him.
Don’t let Irving’s scoring make you think that’s all he brings on the court, he is a more than capable facilitator and will do when needed.
Not much needs to be said about Kevin Durant. Arguably the best scorer in the NBA, and arguably in the history of the game.
They have one of the best playmakers and scorers in James Harden controlling the offense. The Nets’ ‘big three’ is in sync, which is quite impressive considering their lack of games.
With more time playing together they could get even better as a team. Adding LaMarcus Aldridge back makes their offense even better.
With the Lakers, their offense is still unknown. Russell Westbrook could turn out to be the best signing of the offseason.
There is also equally a chance that the Lakers’ ‘big three’ doesn’t work. It’s fair to say overall the Lakers have the better roster, but the offense of Harden, Irving, and Durant can overpower well-rounded rosters.
Due to the strength of the Nets’ ‘big three’, it’s fair to expect them to win the NBA championship before the season. begins if they can stay healthy.
The Lakers may surprise people with how well their ‘big three’ plays with each other but just need to see it as it’s not the most natural fit due to Westbrook’s lack of three-point shooting.
Time will tell if the Lakers can prove people wrong and make this ‘big three’ work at a high level.
It’s now official that the Lakers and the Nets will play each other on Christmas day. This highlight anticipated match-up will possibly share some light on how the teams will match up together.
This NBA season looks to be one of the most exciting years in recent time, hopefully, we will see fewer injuries in the season and see the top teams go head to head.
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