Every day there seems to be a group of people who are hell-bent on proving that the Los Angeles Lakers are done for and that the championship is out of reach. Now that they have lost a few games, announcers on TV are freaking out.
They claim that the Brooklyn Nets are the team to beat after the Lakers lost to them. That the Utah Jazz are better because they currently hold the number one seed in the West. That, without Anthony Davis, they will wither in the Western Conference and eventually get knocked out in the first round by a six or seven seed.
Sound familiar? Yeah, that is because this is what they all said last season. The press was telling us that L.A. was no longer the Lakers city and that it belonged to Kawhi Leonard and the Los Angeles Clippers. The reign of Lebron James was over and Leonard was coming for the crown. The Clippers even put up billboards saying L.A. was their town and made commercials of Leonard driving around L.A. with a keychain that had a crown on it.
That still makes me laugh to this day, but I digress.
Even when the Lakers finished the season-best in the West and second overall in the league, it was the same criticism. Laker fans were told the team was no match for the wing defenders the Clippers had. They told us Patrick Beverley was going to pester the offense, Paul George was going to channel “Playoff-P” and hit his patented step-back three, and that Leonard could load manage because the regular season means nothing. Even if the Lakers did make it to the Western Conference finals, they would surely be swept by the Clippers.
So, what really happened in the playoffs?
Not only did the Clippers not beat the Lakers in the Western Conference Finals, but they did also not even make it to the Western Conference Finals. They got knocked out in the semifinals by the Denver Nuggets.
That is still hilarious! I will tell you why.
The Clippers had a 3-1 series lead against the Nuggets, and then they lost three games in a row. Patrick Beverley was ineffective, George shot the ball so bad he became known as “Way-off-P” and Leonard was so awful that teammates turned on him and blamed him for the loss.
Oh yeah, the Nuggets only had one player on their roster, Paul Millsap, who had ever been to a conference final. That is the team the Clippers blew a 3-1 series lead to.
Meanwhile, the Lakers destroyed the West with a record of 12-3. They outshot Dame Lillard and the Portland Trail Blazers. They suffocated the offense of James Harden and the Rockets. Finally, Lebron James showed the Nuggets who the real King was and sent them packing too. Then the Lakers dispatched the Miami Heat in six games in the finals, and James reclaimed his throne as NBA champion.
So, you see, there is nothing to worry about this season. If James is healthy, nothing else matters. Not their regular season record, their seed in the playoffs, who their first opponent is. None of that.
King James is on the throne and he does not want to relinquish it any time soon. He will do whatever it takes, whether it is with a healthy team or not.
It is for this reason alone that the Lakers will make the playoffs, win the West and repeat as back-to-back champions.
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Sean (he/him) is a Business Administration major from California. He enjoys playing video games and watching Disney+ in his free time.