The Los Angeles Lakers are still many people’s pick to represent the Western Conference in the NBA Finals. The purple and gold have to get healthy first, but when healthy, they are absolutely the team to beat in the West.
However, the gap is thinner now than it was before the season began. Part of the reason is some players on the Lakers not living up to expectations, while another part of the reason is that other teams have simply gotten better.
The Lakers finally made an addition in signing recently-bought-out Andre Drummond. Drummond was the biggest post-deadline buyout player and the Lakers landed the former all-star to fill a big roster need. That is huge for the Lakers.
But still, there certainly are threats to dethrone the Lakers for the top spot in the Western Conference. Here are the five biggest threats.
Biggest threats to the Los Angeles Lakers in the Western Conference: 5. Dallas Mavericks
Key additions: JJ Redick, Nicolo Melli
JJ Redick was a nice addition for a team that needed shooting after making a really poor trade of Josh Richardson for Seth Curry in the offseason. Nicolo Melli is good depth in the frontcourt as well that can help the Dallas Mavericks stretch the floor.
Even though they appear in this article, the Mavs are not much of a legitimate threat to the Lakers. It would take Luka Doncic playing at an insane level and Kristaps Porzingis returning to his old form for Dallas to overcome the Lakers in a seven-game playoff series.
However, they do still crack the top five, albeit there is a level dividing them and the rest of the teams that are a threat to the Los Angeles Lakers. The Mavericks are an even matchup if one of LeBron James or Anthony Davis is hurt. At full strength, the Lakers should not be too worried about Dallas.