Lakers Looking to Repeat
The defending champion Los Angeles Lakers don't seem to be satisfied with coming off a title victory. Lakers General Manager, Rob Pelinka, continues to make a splash this offseason by adding younger talent and skilled veterans. The Lakers lost key players who helped them claim their 17th NBA Championship in Rajon Rondo, Dwight Howard, and Danny Green, tying them with the Boston Celtics for most all-time.
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With Pelinka trading Javale McGee to sign Marc Gasol, brother of one of LA's most beloved figures, Pau Gasol, and already adding Dennis Schröder, Montrez Harrell, and Wesley Matthews, could this new updated roster make a run at back-to-back titles?
Houston is in shambles, Klay Thompson of the Warriors suffered a devastating season-ending Achilles injury. The Clippers, even with Paul George and Kawhi Leonard, still can't get past the second round, and Milwaukee and Philly underperform year in and year out in the playoffs.
That leaves us with the Miami Heat, whom the Lakers just beat in the NBA finals, a young Dallas and Celtics team with rising stars, and Brooklyn. But still, questions arise. How healthy will Kevin Durant be coming off an Achilles injury? Will Kyrie cause friction with his teammates? Not to mention they have a rookie head coach in Steve Nash. Can these other young teams climb over the hump?
Yes, teams like Portland and Denver got better, and the competition will be much more stringent. Throw in improving franchises like Phoenix, Utah, and New Orleans, and the West will again be loaded next year. Still, if you're picking one Western Conference team to reach the Finals, it's hard to argue against the Lakers.
Many uncertainties loom across the league, but one team that doesn't have any question marks around them is the Los Angeles Lakers. This Lakers core spent 100 days in the bubble and left more of a brotherhood than when they entered. The team's biggest question all season was how well their depth could play. They showed that in the playoffs, and now they have a definitive third option with Schröder and a revamped bench.
Since 2000, back-to-back championships have been friendly to the Lakers. They won three straight titles from 2000-2002, and in 2009 and 2010.