Even though the Los Angeles Lakers failed to defend their NBA title, they will head into the 2021-22 season as one of the few legitimate contenders.
Any team with LeBron James and Anthony Davis has to be considered a threat to win a championship, and the Lakers could have very well won the 2021 NBA Championship had injuries not gotten in the way. Los Angeles’s roster was snake-bitten throughout the year as players were constantly in and out of the lineup, forcing head coach Frank Vogel to use rotations and lineups that had spent little time together.
Lakers governor Jeanie Buss perhaps summed it up best when she said she felt like the team never got a chance to catch their breath as they faced several hurdles throughout the year.
However, there are question marks the front office needs to address as over half the roster is set to hit free agency. Even with James and Davis as constants, how vice president of basketball operations Rob Pelinka decides to retool the team remains to be seen. But the Lakers did receive favorable betting odds when it comes to their chances at winning next season’s title:
Opening NBA title odds for the 2021-22 season, according to @betonline_ag:
FAV: Nets – 11/4
— Ryan Ward (@RyanWardLA) July 12, 2021
Like the Lakers, the Brooklyn Nets also suffered injuries at ill-opportune times as James Harden was overcoming a hamstring issue while Kyrie Irving was unable to finish their second-round series against the Milwaukee Bucks due to a sprained ankle. Although the Nets were unable to get to the NBA Finals, it makes sense for them to be the odds-on favorite for next season because of their collective star power.
Fans were robbed of a potential Lakers-Nets Finals matchup, but if both squads are able to stay healthy then they may just get their wish. James and Davis make up a formidable one-two punch, while Kevin Durant, Harden and Irving could go down as the best offensive trio in NBA history. However, things should be clearer once the dust settles after the draft and free agency.
LeBron wants to retire a Laker
Even at 36 years old, James has proven that he can still play at a high level in this league. As long as he is around, the Lakers will always have at least an outside shot of winning a championship and it appears they could be in contention for a while as James expressed a desire to retire in Purple and Gold.
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