After their run to the title in the most unusual season October, the Los Angeles Lakers are hot news at the moment. Most experts and fans believing that they’ll retain the title in the next season.
Ending the Title Drought
The last few years have not been the best for the Lakers. They have always been a team that’s been synonymous with victory – ask anyone abroad to name one of the biggest basketball teams or famous players, and they’d likely say Lakers and reel off names like LeBron James. But for ten long years, Los Angeles had been without a title. However, it was only a matter of time before they found their winning form. And it was amidst tragedy, as we lost one of the world’s greatest players, Kobe Bryant.
The last time Los Angeles won a title was in 2010 and it was Bryant that led the charge. It’s almost fitting that his squad found inspiration in his sudden passing and found the way to win their 17th NBA championship.
Perhaps now is the time for LeBron to shine. He did do in the final as the MVP, landing a ‘triple-double’ and helping out with ten assists. It’s good to see him claim his fourth overall title and break new records, namely being the first player named Finals MVP with three different teams (the other ones being the Cleveland Cavaliers and Miami Heat). With LeBron leading the charge, surely the Lakers are now even more reinvigorated to continue their winning streak into the next season?
Only Going to be Stronger
With the victory behind them, this momentum will push the Lakers to do their best. And with champion players like LeBron James and Anthony Davis as two pillars of the team, we can expect that momentum to keep going. This could prove to be the beginning of a fruitful partnership, with Davis only moving to Lakers last year from the New Orleans Pelicans. But he’s already proven his worth, picking up 19 points in the final.
Like with any sport, though, business is at the heart of it, and we can fully expect some negotiations to go through. A $28.75 million player option for him is in place, and the Lakers no doubt have every reason to keep him on. They’ve promised him a future of potential, and if they can end the season in what has been one of the worst years in history due to the coronavirus pandemic, things are only set to shine brighter. Exceptionally bright if he becomes another of the Lakers’ greats.
Next Season Starts Right Now
This ethos spurred the Lakers on to winning multiple championships back to back. It’s one that no doubt they’ve returned to. All the bookies seem to agree as well, putting the Lakers at retaining the championship at odds of +400 (closest rivals Los Angeles Clippers are +500). You can see why fans are flocking to US betting sites to place their bets on the Lakers, who are already planning on victory themselves. But what do they need to do? Keeping LeBron James and Anthony Davis and forging a partnership is critical, but a team doesn’t just rely on one. It’s not that episode of Fresh Prince of Bel-Air where everyone just ‘passes to Will.’
The Lakers need to instill some confidence in Kentavious Caldwell-Pope – a player who’s often criticized by fans for not delivering on his game. The less said about the 18/19 campaign, the better. But this season, he gave a consistent performance with his outside shooting. Combine that with his defense capabilities and good finishing; he’s got a lot of potentials. As long as he opts in and ups his game still more, he can prove to the fans that he’s an integral part of the team.
The same can be said for Rajon Rondo, another Laker who’s been under a lot of fan scrutiny. But this guard is the floor general; his basketball knowledge, experience, and ability to change the pace of the game is integral. He just needs to make sure his hand is fully recovered.
Aside from keeping the winning team in action, the Lakers also need to sign some key players. A young gun that could be the potential replacement for LeBron James as he gets older. Some three-point shooters that have proven themselves to deliver consistent performance. As long as the new Lakers team can play with LeBron and learn as they do, rather than relying on him a la Will style, the team could set the way for back-to-back victories.