Teams will have to go through the Los Angeles Lakers in 2021.
Going into the 2019-2020 season, the Los Angeles Lakers were one of the most slept on and underrated teams in the entire NBA. Many analysts and publications had the Lakers ranked fifth going into last season.
In their defense, the Lakers did not make the playoffs in the previous season, it was not set in stone that the duo of Anthony Davis and LeBron James would mesh as well as they did and there were many question marks on the Lakers bench that would rise to the occasion.
With the 2020-2021 NBA season set to begin later this month, the preseason power rankings are beginning to come out from all major publications. This year appears to look a lot better for the Lakers. ESPN, CBS Sports, NBC Sports, and The Lines all have the Lakers ranked number one on their power rankings.
There are much fewer question marks for the Lakers compared to last year as Davis and James are likely to be the best duo in the NBA once again this season. Over the offseason, the Lakers have made masterful moves to improve their already incredible bench. Along with this, they have made great replacements for the players that they have lost.
It is likely that the Lakers will be one of if not the deepest team in the league. With the acquisition of both the reigning Sixth Man of the Year — Montrezl Harrell — along with the highest bench scorer in the league — Dennis Schröder — the Lakers have only gotten deeper from last season.
The Lakers lost many of their role players from the previous season that played big roles on the team during the regular and postseason. During the offseason, the Lakers either traded or lost out on Rajon Rondo, Avery Bradley, Danny Green, JaVale McGee, and Dwight Howard.
They brought in Schröder, Harrell, Alfonzo McKinnie and Marc Gasol to attempt to retain the elite level of play they expected from their bench last season.
The Los Angeles Lakers are going to be the oldest team in the entire NBA next season with an average age of 28.5. As a result of this, do not be surprised if many players sit multiple games out for rest. The Lakers are tied for the shortest offseason in the league this season with the time from championship to the first game being the shortest in NBA history.
While it would be best for the fans for all players to suit up all of the games they could, it would be boneheaded and irresponsible for some of the team’s older players to do so. With the team not quite having as many players on their bench that would be able to play a big role if they were put in the rotation this year compared to last year, an injury could be detrimental to the team.
The Los Angeles Lakers may not finish the regular season with the best record in the league this season, due to taking rest games. However, do not be surprised if the analysts and publications get it right this season and the Lakers finish as back to back NBA champions.