Will the Lakers repeat as NBA Champions?
The Los Angeles Lakers defeated the Miami Heat in six games to win the 2020 NBA championship. As long as the Lakers have Lebron James and Anthony Davis, they will be a force to be reckoned with. Will they be able to win the 2021 championship? Here are 10 teams that could challenge the Lakers.
The Miami Heat gave the Lakers their toughest challenge during these playoffs. Despite having numerous injuries, the Heat were the only team to beat the Lakers multiple times during the postseason. Jimmy Butler and Miami's plethora of young players carried the team to the NBA Finals. With a star player in Jimmy Butler and numerous talented young players such as Bam Adebayo, Tyler Herro, Duncan Robinson, and Kendrick Nunn continuing to improve, the Heat will be even tougher next season.
The Boston Celtics were the only team in the entire league to have three players (Jayson Tatum, Kemba Walker, and Jaylen Brown) average over 20 points per game. If Gordon Heyward, who averaged 17 points per game, never got injured, the Celtics could have represented the Eastern Conference in the NBA Finals. With three first-round picks, the Celtics will have a chance to improve their team. If the Celtics can find some key contributes off the bench to complement their multiple 20 point scorers, they could win the championship next season.
The Denver Nuggets shocked the world by coming back from multiple 3-1 deficits in the playoffs and appearing in the Western Conference Finals. Nikola Jokic has established himself as a star, but the Nuggets need a second all-star if they want to win a championship. Jamal Murray played like an all-star during the playoffs, averaging 26 points per game, but they need that type of production from him over an entire season. Michael Porter Jr. is another young player that could help the Nuggets emerge as a legitimate title contender.
Golden State Warriors:
We can't forget about the Warriors because they've made the NBA finals in five of the past six seasons. With a core of Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, and Andrew Wiggins, the Warriors will be a force to be reckoned with. Their roster could get significantly better if they decide to trade the 2nd overall pick in the upcoming NBA draft for a proven player.
The Bucks have caught the attention of the rest of the NBA by capturing the best regular-season record in each of the past two seasons. If Giannis Antetokounmpo plays in the playoffs like he does the regular season, the Bucks could win the 2021 NBA championship.
The Nets made a splash last summer by acquiring both Kyrie Irving and Durant. After Durant missed the entire season rehabbing from a torn Achilles while Kyrie only appeared in 20 games, the Nets will take the league by storm next season. With Durant and Kyrie, and a collection of good role players in Spencer Dinwiddie, Carris Levert, Joe Harris, and Jarrett Allen, the Nets should be the favorites to win the Eastern Conference if the team stays healthy.
Few duos, if any, can outscore James Harden and Russell Westbrook. After four seasons together, Mike D'antoni and the Rockets have parted ways. Will a coaching change be what launches the Rockets to an NBA championship?
After finishing the regular season as the 6th best team in the Eastern Conference and getting swept in the first round of the NBA playoffs, the 76ers made a wise move by firing Brett Brown. With Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, Tobias Harris, and Al Horford, talent isn't an issue for the 76ers. Will Doc Rivers, a former NBA champion, get this team back on track?
Los Angeles Clippers:
Many people predicted that the Clippers would win this years NBA championship because of Kawhi Leonard, Paul George, and their tremendous bench. However, their tremendous depth could potentially be lost due to the impending free agency of Marcus Morris Sr. and Montrez Harrell. The Clippers remaining a title contender depends on them being able to maintain a good bench and Paul George not underachieving in the playoffs.
We can't ignore the fact that the Toronto Raptors are only one year removed from winning an NBA championship. After finishing with the 3rd best record in the regular season and pushing the Celtics to seven games in the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals, the Raptors proved they are still a force to be reckoned with.
There are numerous talented teams in the league, but the Lakers should be the favorites to win the 2021 championship. The NBA is a superstar driven league, and the Lakers have unquestionably the best duo in the league in Lebron James and Anthony Davis. Additionally, Lebron won a title in his second season with Dwyane Wade and Kyrie Irving respectively. Like Davis, Wade and Kyrie were Lebron's all-star sidekick. Since the 2020-2021 season will be Lebron's second season with Anthony Davis, the Lakers will win another championship if history is going to repeat itself.