The Los Angeles Lakers are entering the 2019-20 NBA season with their best roster in at least a decade and with a talented roster comes the expectation to perform — even if to some degree they are still being underrated by the NBA media as a whole.
The Lakers are boasting two of the league’s top five players according to ESPN’s NBARank with Anthony Davis and LeBron James. The Lakers are the only team that can boast that fact.
They also have a host of great role players from Danny Green to Avery Bradley to Dwight Howard, and they have veteran leadership from Jared Dudley and Rajon Rondo. All of this makes for an extremely complete roster.
Because of this, the NBA’s annual GM survey expects big things from the Lakers this season. With their All-Star duo and good depth, they’re projected to wind up with the Western Conference’s No. 3 seed when the 2020 NBA playoffs roll around, according to John Schuhmann of NBA.com:
Despite the Lakers being given the highest odds at landing the No. 4 seed, they wound up at No. 3 due to their total votes. And with that being said, some could argue this is still underrating their talent.
It’s clear the Lakers have the most — or at worst second-most — talent of any team in the Western Conference, but for some reason, some refuse to give them that credit.
People will credit James’ load management and Davis’ injury history for the lower seeding, completely neglecting the fact that the former is just one season removed from an 82-game season and the latter played 75 games in two consecutive seasons and was on pace to do the same in a third prior to his trade request.
They will also neglect the fact the Los Angeles Clippers have two players known for missing many games throughout the run of a season. Kawhi Leonard has missed less than 10 games in a season just once in his career, and Paul George is coming off double shoulder surgery and is already guaranteed to miss the first 10 games of the season.
People will continue to doubt the Lakers until they win a championship and likely even then as well. James and Davis simply will have to block out the noise and play their game.