Season Preview: Denver Nuggets
Quietly, the Denver Nuggets have turned into an offensive juggernaut led by a budding superstar in center Nikola Jokic.
The Los Angeles Lakers are the team to watch this upcoming season because they have the best player in the game, LeBron James on the the roster. But that won't be enough to make it to the Western Conference Finals.
A topic that has always followed James is that he plays in the weaker Eastern Conference. Now, he will play in a much better Western Conference and competition is much better. The race for playoff seeding usually comes down to the last game in the season. There won't be any days off if James wants home court.
Home court will be hard to attain because the Golden State Warriors and the Houston Rockets will most likely get the top two seeds. The Lakers will most likely get a top four seed and even that isn't guaranteed at this point. After the first round the Lakers won't have home court advantage and they will face much better competition.
My prediction is that the Lakers will get the third seed and the Rockets will get the second seed. They will play each other in the second round and the Rockets will beat them in a close series. There won't be any player that can guard James but the same goes for James Harden. He will score a lot of points and it will be a scoring game and the Rockets rarely lose those.
What will hurt the Lakers is the lack of a great shot blocker. They will need stops to beat the Rockets and they won't get them. Harden specialized in threes and free throws and that will give them enough points down the line to win.
Nobody expects James and the Lakers to win it all in his first year with the Lakers. But next year, the Lakers will have high expectations and the pressure to win it all will hang on the team. The upcoming season is more of a measurement of where the Lakers are.
The plan all along has been to acquire two superstars and make a run. They got James and will try again next summer to land that second superstar. Anthony Davis and Kevin Durant have been two names mentioned and they'll need either of them to compete with the Warriors and the Rockets, something they can't do right now.