On July 17th the New Orleans Pelicans agreed to trade their franchise player Anthony Davis to the Los Angeles Lakers. In exchange for the all-star, they received Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart, and three first-round picks. This is a big deal for the city of Los Angeles after an awful postseason drought lasting for over 5 years. Last year, when all the speculation was circulating in the air about this trade possibly happening, it caused the team’s chemistry to fall. Now, since the speculation has turned into reality, the expectation for a trip to the finals has arrived for the team.
This is not a far-fetched prediction because of the window of opportunity currently present in the Western Conference. With a wounded Warriors team being defeated and now looking more vulnerable than ever, only one all-star is left after the previous season, Stephen Curry. Kevin Durant will be out the duration of the season due to a torn Achilles. Who is to say that when he does come back and is cleared to play that he will be able to score, defend, or even play the game of basketball the same as he once could.
Only one person in NBA history has gone through this injury and come back to produce the same amount of skill before the injury took place, and that player is Dominique Wilkins. And with Klay Thompson going down the last game of the finals to an ACL tear, who knows if he will come back at all next season.
In addition to the juggernauts of the West dwindling, the Houston Rockets have had controversy circling their franchise as well; considering that their star point guard Chris Paul has been speculated to be looking to head to another team. Unless they manage to obtain Jimmy Butler in a trade, which is unlikely to happen, they are more than likely out of the conversation. In culmination with this pandemonium, the Denver Nuggets have been performing way above expectations, but still, have not solidified their spot as a legit contender in the Conference.
Now with all this being said, Anthony Davis will be the most talented teammate that LeBron James will have ever played with alongside of him. Not to mention that this upcoming season LeBron will be the most rested he has ever been in over a decade as this is the first playoffs, he has missed in 13 years. So, it is not hard to see why expectations are high for this team as they are looking more than formattable to take the crown in the league next season.