I’ve seen numerous mock playoff seedings and NBA champion predictions that all point towards the Los Angeles Lakers. I get it, you guys just signed the greatest player on the planet, so your destined to get better. However, are you going to become the kings of the Western Conference? I don’t think you guys will stand a chance against the Golden State Warriors or the Houston Rockets.
I know, here comes the heat. “LeBron James willed his team to the NBA Finals and yada yada yada.” Yes, James carried the Cleveland Cavaliers through the Eastern Conference to get blasted by the Warriors in four games. This is the Western Conference now, where there are 10 teams fighting for playoff positions.
The common theme I see has been hate between the Nuggets and the Lakers. Lakers fans think Denver is garbage and that it’s an insult that ESPN ranked them one spot higher in the preseason power rankings. Well, let’s dive in and explain why Denver should be considered the better team.
What Los Angeles has over Denver
The Lakers have LeBron James and the Nuggets don’t. It’s as simple as that. James has more NBA hardware than all the Nuggets could ever hope to accomplish. It sounds harsh, but it’s the truth. James is arguably the greatest player this sport has ever seen.
James has willed a number of god-awful Cavaliers teams through the postseason during his time in Cleveland. Many think that it’s just the LeBron effect and that it’ll wear off on Los Angeles this season. Like I said before, they will be better, but are they leaps and bounds ahead of the competition now?
What Denver has on Los Angeles
Even though the Nuggets don’t have a superstar (yet), they do have a well-rounded team of really good players. The core group of Nikola Jokic, Gary Harris and Jamal Murray are all going to be very, very good in the coming years. They have proven year after year that they are capable of growing into a superstar team and that patience is key.
Some fans may argue that Los Angeles young core is better than the Nuggets but let’s really look at this. Yes Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma and Brandon Ingram have potential, but they haven’t proven anything yet. Am I saying that they aren’t good?
Heck no, they are going to be very dangerous here very soon, but they aren’t the supporting cast that Denver has become after three years of maturing.
All in all, I think Los Angeles has a very talented team, but I don’t think they will be cohesive enough to outplay a team like Denver that has a ton of depth at every position. Denver is the better team in my opinion, but that’s the cool thing about professional sports. A team may look better on paper, but things change once these guys get out on the court.
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