The 2019 NBA offseason will most be remembered for the flurry of player movement that resulted in multiple All-Star players changing teams through trades and free agency.
While Los Angeles fell short in their pursuit of Kawhi Leonard, the Lakers still managed to round out their roster with a handful of quality free-agent signings. With an emphasis on three-point shooting and defense, they added the likes of Avery Bradley, Danny Green, and Dwight Howard over the course of the summer.
Now with a revamped roster and heightened expectations in place, NBA general managers believe the Lakers will emerge as the most improved team during the 2019-20 NBA season, according to John Schuhmann of NBA.com:
Which team will be most improved in 2019-20?
1. Los Angeles Lakers — 38%
2. Dallas Mavericks — 21%
3. LA Clippers — 10%
4. Atlanta Hawks — 7%
Brooklyn Nets — 7%
Chicago Bulls — 7%
New Orleans Pelicans — 7%
8. New York Knicks — 4%
Last year: L.A. Lakers — 80%
The Lakers previously placed first in this poll last season following the signing of James during 2018 NBA free agency. While James’ first season in Los Angeles had its moments, a combination of injuries and inconsistencies ultimately prevented them from making the playoffs for a sixth consecutive season.
The hope is that Davis’ presence will elevate the Lakers back into contender status. To no surprise, NBA general managers believe he will make the second-biggest impact among players to change teams this offseason:
Which one player acquisition will make the biggest impact?
1. Kawhi Leonard, LA Clippers — 67%
2. Anthony Davis, L.A. Lakers — 21%
3. Paul George, LA Clippers — 12%
Last year: LeBron James — 97%
Davis was interestingly sandwiched in between a pair of All-Star players that found their way to the Los Angeles Clippers this summer. In addition to ranking first in this poll, the majority of general managers believe Leonard has supplanted James as the NBA’s best small forward heading into the new season.
Both players will face off against each other on Oct. 22 when the Lakers and Clippers meet for a highly-anticipated Opening Night at Staples Center.