The Los Angeles Lakers signed LeBron James in 2018 NBA free agency and that still wasn’t enough to end a playoff drought that has now reached six seasons.
As a result, this led to drastic measures in the 2019 NBA offseason. General manager Rob Pelinka and company traded almost the entire young core they had spent years developing to trade for Anthony Davis and then added a host of great role players on two-year deals in order to give the Lakers some long sought after consistency.
They also completely revamped the coaching staff with former Indiana Pacers head coach Frank Vogel leading the way.
Now, with both a brand new and a championship-contending team, the Lakers are bound to be the talk of the league regardless of how the 2019-20 NBA season starts or ends. It’s because of this they found themselves towards the top of almost every category for ESPN’s Summer Forecast.
The Lakers were voted second for the team most likely to experience turmoil in the upcoming season, via ESPN:
Which team will deal with the most drama and angst this season? It’s a close vote between three squads that added major pieces over the summer (Russell Westbrook in Houston, Anthony Davis in Los Angeles and Kyrie Irving plus Kevin Durant in Brooklyn).
1. Houston Rockets: 69 points (21.2% first-place votes)
2. Los Angeles Lakers: 67 points (27.3% first-place votes)
3. Brooklyn Nets: 64 points (27.3% first-place votes)
4. Philadelphia 76ers: 31 points (31% first-place votes)
5. Washington Wizards: 25 points (2% first-place votes)
6. Miami Heat: 6 points (3% first-place votes)
Others receiving votes: Thunder, Bulls, Knicks, Warriors, Blazers
The panel of experts also voted on which team will have the best turnaround from last season — a category in which the Lakers dominated. It stands to reason as any time a 37-win team adds a top-five player, it’s huge news:
After finishing with 37 wins in 2018-19 then acquiring Anthony Davis, the Lakers rank No. 1 here and No. 2 for team turmoil. On the other end of the AD trade, the Pelicans are the next pick by our panel for team turnaround now that they have Zion Williamson and a deep roster.
1. Los Angeles Lakers: 95 points (42.4% first-place votes)
2. New Orleans Pelicans: 72 points (21.2% first-place votes)
3. LA Clippers: 43 points (18.2% first-place votes)
4. Dallas Mavericks: 33 points (6.1% first-place votes)
5. Brooklyn Nets: 13 points (3% first-place votes)
6. Indiana Pacers: 11 points (3% first-place votes)
Others receiving votes: Heat, Jazz, Suns, Celtics, Timberwolves, Hawks
For the turmoil category, it makes complete sense the Houston Rockets would top the list. The Rockets have struggled to make any noise in the playoffs despite James Harden‘s ridiculous scoring abilities. They recently traded Chris Paul for Russell Westbrook, putting two of the most ball-dominant players in league history on the same team.
The Lakers likely received votes for turmoil because of the amount of new players they’ll have to deal with. Luckily, for the most part, all the new is good, which means more wins and perhaps ending their six-year playoff drought.