Since the Los Angeles Lakers officially acquired Anthony Davis last month, there have been scores of members of the organization saying that the team’s standard for success this season is winning a championship.
Most notably, Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka told reporters that anything short of a title is “not successful.” Davis said that a championship is his goal as well, and that he thinks L.A. could beat any team in a seven-game series.
Now the Lakers’ other star has spoken up as well, as Alex Caruso — what, you thought I was going to say LeBron James? — told Richard Croome of AggieSports.com that the team is setting their sights on banner No. 17:
“With LeBron James and Anthony Davis, you are going to have a good shot to win,” Caruso said. “If you’re not rebuilding, the goal is to win a championship.”
Caruso is right, and that isn’t to necessarily say that the Lakers’ season should be viewed on the outside as a failure if they don’t win a championship. Every team that’s a contender will of course internally feel as though they should win the title, as the players and staff wouldn’t have been able to rise to the level they’re at if they weren’t extremely competitive.
That said, the Lakers aren’t universally the favorites to win in 2019-20, either. While the team should absolutely be aiming for a chip given the roster they have — and as Caruso noted, the presence of stars like James and Davis — if the last few years have taught us anything, it’s that the Lakers’ fan base and media should temper their expectations, as there is virtually no limit to what can go wrong once the season starts.
This isn’t to say fans shouldn’t hope for a title, or root for one. It’s just a generalized warning to not expect it. Only one team can win a championship, and if anything short of that feels like a failure, this will start to get a lot less fun. It isn’t surprising that the members of the team with something at stake are singlemindedly thinking title, but we should give the team at least a few games to prove themselves before expecting the same.