Heading into the year, the Los Angeles Lakers were seen as the clear favorites to repeat as NBA champions. As the season has gone on — and since the James Harden trade — more and more people have begun to see the Brooklyn Nets as in the same tier of team as the purple and gold.
That’s reflected in our latest SB Nation Reacts poll, where we asked NBA Fans from around all of our team communities “Who will win the 2021 NBA Finals?”
The Lakers and Nets were exactly tied in the percentage of people who picked them (42%):
Interestingly, this actually might be more confidence than Lakers fans themselves seem to have in the team as of right now. It should be noted that both of these polls were gathered during the All-Star break — and thus don’t take the Lakers’ Friday night win over the Pacers into account — but Lakers fans’ confidence in the team dropped from 93% of people saying they were confident, to 88% this week:
Now, we should note that 88% is still pretty high — for context, 0% of New Orleans Pelicans fans responded that they felt confident in their team’s direction this week — but it is interesting that the national consensus still seems to see the Lakers as equal co-favorites with Brooklyn, while their own fanbase during the same period had their confidence slightly drop.
Lakers fans are obviously going to know their team and where it’s at better than a national audience of NBA fans, but it’s also worth remembering that sometimes we can get so in the weeds here that we lose the forest for the trees. All things considered, the Lakers are still in a really good spot, and have a chance to get even better at the trade deadline and in the buyout market. Maybe a nice win to start the second half of the season and a reminder of how much fear other fanbases have of this team can help all of us see things a little more positively this weekend.
Want to be part of our Reacts poll next week? Sign up here to make your voice heard, and for more Lakers talk, subscribe to the Silver Screen and Roll podcast feed on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher or Google Podcasts. You can follow Harrison on Twitter at @hmfaigen.