The 2019-20 NBA season tips off in 51 days and in the spiriting of the upcoming season, ESPN’s experts made a few predictions for that might not make Lakers fans as mad as some of the predictions they’ve made in previous years.
For starters, ESPN voted James as the third-most likely player to win MVP next season behind reigning league MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo and two-time league MVP Steph Curry. Anthony Davis also received a healthy amount of votes, putting him ahead of Nikola Jokic and Kawhi Leonard but behind Joel Embiid.
Additionally, the Lakers received the fourth-most votes to win the NBA title, trailing the Philadelphia 76ers, Milwaukee Bucks and LA Clippers, who received 54.5 percent of the first place votes. For context, the Lakers received less than six percent.
Lakers fans might not be too happy with having the fourth-best odds (especially if the Clippers have better odds), but it’s probably a fair spot to have a team with a new head coach and basically an entirely new roster. Meanwhile, the 76ers, Bucks and Clippers have some continuity with their players and coaching staff, and, most importantly, recent success.
Fourth-best odds to win MVP and two top-five candidates: Not so bad, right? Well, there was more.
The experts at ESPN were asked the percentage that James will win a title with the Lakers and 51.5 percent of them voted no. James is under contract for at least two more year and will have Davis at his for at least of them.
Starting Oct. 22, James, Davis and the Lakers will have the chance to prove their detractors — including the kind people at ESPN — wrong.