The Los Angeles Lakers have always been one of the most popular teams in the NBA, but with all that popularity comes a lot of negative publicity. Many have referred to the Lakers as the New York Yankees of the NBA, as both teams always find ways to acquire players via free agency or trades.
The Lakers just revamped the roster this summer with the additions of Steve Nash and Dwight Howard. In terms of talent, there really isn’t another team that can match the Lakers. From top to bottom, the Lakers have elite players at nearly every position and the team can beat opponents in many different ways.
At this point, there are only two teams that can really thwart the Lakers’ ability to win the franchise’s 17th NBA title. The Oklahoma City Thunder certainly have the ability to keep the Lakers out of the Finals, and the Miami Heat have the firepower to repeat as NBA champions. Still, both the Heat and the Thunder have to pay respect to the great off-season the Lakers’ front-office put together. Heat star Chris Bosh already admitted the Lakers are the best team on paper and the Thunder’s Kevin Durant had to pay homage too.
Durant told Yahoo! Sports that the Lakers are the favorites based on the talent on their roster, but still believes his Thunder can knock off the Pacific Division powerhouse.
“People outside, fans, media, of course they are going to say [the Lakers are the favorites] because on paper they have the best lineup in the league. But you still got to play the games. We respect everybody. We are going to go through the league respecting everybody as well.
The Thunder also have a plethora of talent on the roster with Durant, Russell Westbrook and James Harden leading the way. In addition, Oklahoma City has Serge Ibaka, a player that can cause the Lakers a lot of problems due to his athleticism.
At this point, it looks like a Lakers-Thunder Western Conference Finals is all but guaranteed. No disrespect to the other teams in the conference, but Los Angeles and Oklahoma City are clearly the two best teams in the conference.