The Los Angeles Lakers made it much further than anyone expected in the 2023 NBA Playoffs. After reinventing the roster at the trade deadline, Los Angeles bulldozed its way into the Western Conference Finals before running into an immovable object in Nikola Jokic.
That was just the beginning for Los Angeles as general manager Rob Pelinka quickly went to work and brought back last season’s core that got LA there in the first place. In addition to retaining key players, Pelinka also brought in several impact role players to give the Lakers an even deeper roster than they had a year ago.
Despite this, the Lake Show still doesn’t have many believers heading into the 2023-24 season. ESPN recently put together a poll and surveyed anonymous NBA coaches, executives, and scouts to get a gauge on the upcoming season. Not a single person surveyed picked the Lakers to reach the NBA Finals, let alone win the whole thing.
The NBA hasn’t learned its lesson and is still disrespecting the Lakers
It was fair for those around the league to doubt the Lakers last season. The Russell Westbrook situation did not get resolved in the offseason and it was unclear whether or not it would get resolved during the season.
But even after Westbrook was dealt there were a lot of questions around the Lakers and whether or not they could hold up and make a playoff run. There weren’t many people who had them beating both the Memphis Grizzlies and Golden State Warriors in the playoffs.
We’ll give the league a pass for that one since last season truly was a special one for the Lakers. But after seeing that last year and seeing the Lakers be one of the final four teams remaining it is a bit silly that not a single person in the survey picked the team to at least make the NBA Finals.
C’mon, there were two people who picked the Warriors to make the NBA Finals. Sure, Golden State has a title under their belt more recently than the Lakers but LA did anything it wanted in that playoff series. To pick Golden State over Los Angeles is crazy.
But hey, this could all be good for the Lakers. Very rarely does chalk hold in the NBA and Darvin Ham can use this as bulletin board material for his team once the season gets going.