Can the Lakers Defend Their Crown?

Can the Lakers Defend Their Crown?
Can the Lakers Defend Their Crown?

There has been little time for the LA Lakers to rest on their laurels and bask in the glory of their NBA Finals victory over the Miami Heat back in October of last year.

The longest season in NBA history was followed by the shortest offseason in the sports’ history, but that doesn’t seem to have affected the Lakers too much. Read on to find out if the LA team can repeat their exploits from 2020 and make 2021 a successful year.

The Current State of Play

Ahead of the start of the NBA season, the Lakers were the overwhelming favourites to retain their crown, with most betters backing them over other teams.

Despite a somewhat patchy start to the season, the Lakers remain the favourites with the bookmakers – you can check the latest NBA odds here.

The Brooklyn Nets and the Los Angeles Clippers remain second and third favourites respectively, but according to the bookmakers, a lot would need to go wrong for the Lakers not to retain their crown. Read on to find out why everyone is so confident of a repeat for the Lakers.

Anthony Davis

Last season Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks scooped the MVP award for the second season running, but after the season was continued, it was hard to argue that there was anyone better in the NBA than Anthony Davis.

For some reason though, his name was never seriously linked with the MVP running despite his masterful performances on the court. It is not just recently that Davis has been such an influential player either, he’s been performing at the top of the game for a number of years now.

In one season at Kentucky, he led his team to a national championship and was named the Most Outstanding Player of the 2012 NCAA tournament – becoming only the fourth freshman in history to receive that honor.

For such a long-time, Davis has been performing at the top of his game and that appears to have continued this season too. LeBron James might quite rightly steal the headlines, but Davis is just as integral to the Lakers’ success as James.

He came up big for his team on numerous occasions last season and the consistency of his performances throughout his career highlights his importance for the Lakers in the coming weeks and months.

If he plays well, the whole team plays well and that can only bode well for the Lakers. Which was proved last season when the Lakers carved out a reputation as one of the most defensively disciplined sides in NBA history.

Frank Vogel has called on his players to repeat that defensive stinginess and the early signs so far look good.

The Lakers Great Offseason

There is no better place to improve than from a position of strength, and that is exactly what the Lakers did in the offseason. They completed some very astute business by snagging Montrezl Harrell away from their rivals, the Clippers, with what looks like a savvy $19 million contract.

He already looks to have added some extra aggression on scoring around the rim and rebounding which has helped to take some of the weight off Anthony Davis’ shoulders.

In addition to that the Lakers brought in some great experience with the additions of former All-Star Marc Gasol and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope.

One of the best incomings was Dennis Schroder, the speedy German point guard from Oklahoma City Thunder. Schroder averaged 18.9 PPG last season which helped his side to beat the heavily tipped Houston Rockets in the first-round of the playoffs.

All in all, the Lakers have added serious experience and quality to their squad in the offseason meaning they should be able to handle the worst imaginable injury crisis if it were to arise. No other team in the NBA this season can boast the same level of depth and quality as the Lakers.

(If the Lakers needed added flair, they have gotten it in the form of Dennis Schroder.)

History

No matter what sport you follow, you will always hear coaches, players and pundits talking about that unquantifiable aspect of sport – history.

There are teams that never win on certain courts, no matter how many changes are made to their playing or coaching staff. And there are teams that ride the coattails of history to glory and the Lakers are one of them.

The last three times the Lakers won NBA Championships, they went back-to-back. It seems to be a trait of the great Lakers teams that they not only dominate the league and win the playoffs, but they do it consecutively.

That weight of history is inspiring the current roster as they look to write their names into Lakers folklore and join the ranks of the great teams of Magic Johnson, Shaquille O’Neal, and Kobe Bryant.

It also plays into the fear factor that other teams will have when they come up against the Lakers in this season’s playoffs. Not only will they be attempting to beat the best team in the NBA, but also the weight of history.

It’s hardly a hot take to say that the Lakers will repeat their heroics from last season and win the playoffs again, but thanks to the quality of Frank Vogel’s team, there is no need for NBA hot takes.

The Lakers have the best team, they have the greatest squad depth and they have the experience and motivation to go again. Now, can they go for a threepeat? That’s another question altogether…

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