With the Lakers having the third-best winning percentage in NBA history at .556 and even with the Celtics with 17 NBA titles, they are constantly in the mix to win it all. This season is no exception.
Coming off a Western Conference Finals appearance last year, coach Darvin Ham talked during pregame on Thursday about where the Lakers stand compared to the rest of the league heading into the season.
“I’m one that loves competition. I’m a fan first. It’s going to be fun. I look forward to these matchups. I look forward to the potential of seeing some great NBA basketball this year, particularly in the Western Conference,” Ham said. “There are probably about a good eight teams that are legitimate contenders for that ultimate prize. I’m just happy, at this point in time, I like our chances better than anybody’s. It’s going to be a fight. It’s going to be a lot of work that needs to be done. Anything that’s worth having doesn’t come easy. We understand that and plan to put our best foot forward each and every day.”
According to DraftKings, the Lakers are +1200 odds to win the title. That’s the fourth-best odds in the NBA, with only the Milwaukee Bucks, Boston Celtics and Denver Nuggets having better odds. The Phoenix Suns, Golden State Warriors, Philadelphia 76ers and Los Angeles Clippers make up the rest of the top eight contenders.
Keep in mind that the season begins on Tuesday, so a lot can and will change between now and June, but these eight teams seem to be the consensus for contenders in the NBA. All made the playoffs and Phoenix and Milwaukee made the biggest changes, with the Suns adding Bradley Beal and the Bucks making the trade for Damian Lillard. L.A. and Denver took a different approach, essentially running it back with the players that helped both teams reach the conference finals and got the Nuggets to ultimately win their first title.
Ham will be biased towards his team, but experts agree with his assessment of the Lakers being, at minimum, a top-tier team. And with Los Angeles making the Western Conference Finals last season, keeping the nucleus of that roster intact and making noticeable upgrades in the depth chart, it appears that L.A. will play a major factor in who comes out of the West, barring injury.
You can follow Edwin on Twitter at @ECreates88.