So long as the Golden State Warriors exist in their current iteration, it’s hard to consider just about any other team as a title contender, let alone a Los Angeles Lakers, team fresh off a 35-win season, even if they did add LeBron James. So the NBA’s general managers not offering up a single vote for them as the team most likely to win the 2019 NBA Finals shouldn’t really surprise anyone.
Let’s start with how the votes broke down in this year’s NBA GM Survery on NBA.com. Unsurprisingly, Golden State is the far-and-away favorite.
Which team will win the 2019 NBA Finals?
1. Golden State – 87%
2. Boston – 7%
Houston – 7%
To start, I just don’t see it with Houston. Losing the wing depth they did and replacing it with Carmelo Anthony just feels like the antithesis to how you beat the Warriors. But hey, Daryl Morey is beyond reproach unless you want your mentions filled with the hatred of a thousand nerds.
Boston, on the other hand, (and as much as I hate saying this) feels like a legitimate possibility. They’re deep with wings who defend, like Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. Kyrie Irving is an explosive enough scorer that Steph Curry has to care on defense. Al Horford is skilled enough to give some trouble if the Warriors go small, oh and by the way, they’re essentially adding Gordon Hayward to a team that nearly made it to the finals last year.
Okay I feel gross now. Back to the Lakers.
LeBron James is more than capable of carrying just about any team to the playoffs, even in this Western Conference. Of that I am completely certain. Whether he’s good enough to navigate those playoffs with this specific roster remains the question. To this point in his NBA career, though, James has proven one thing: He’s at least earned a wait-and-see approach, even from his doubters.