1. The Los Angeles Lakers are better than the Golden State Warriors
The Golden State Warriors are in a similar position as the Los Angeles Lakers are their regular-season record has been disappointing. Golden State is currently 3.5 games ahead of the Lakers as the ninth seed in the Western Conference yet is still getting the respect of being a true title contender.
And I get it. They just won the championship last season and have the most experience of any team in the league when it comes to winning the title. But there are still legitimate concerns around this Warriors team that are getting swept under the rug because they are the Warriors.
Stephen Curry’s injuries this season are at the forefront of those concerns. After missing time earlier this season, Curry suffered a leg injury that is going to keep him out past the all-star break. But again, any concerns around Curry’s injuries are equal to concerns around Anthony Davis.
But even when they are fully healthy there are reasons to be concerned about this Warriors team. A big reason why they were so successful last season was their defense and they have lacked that success this year. Trading for Gary Payton II helps, but going from the best team in the league in terms of defensive rating to the 18th team is a big deal.
Jordan Poole is having a less effective season than he had a year ago and the role players in the rotation are not as impactful as they were a year ago. This is not the same Warriors team.
Plus, last year’s Warriors team was not the same as the unbeatable Warriors from previous years. They had a fairly easy playoff path full of inexperienced teams to get to the NBA Finals, where they ran into a Boston Celtics team that simply ran out of gas.
The Los Angeles Lakers traded Thomas Bryant at a premium price and fans can thank DeAndre Jordan for being such a bad backup in Denver.
They certainly deserved to win the title last season but just because they won the title does not mean they are an unstoppable force this year. The Lakers are now better.