Following an offseason that saw the Lakers assemble, arguably, the best roster in the NBA, the fans and media couldn't help but react with great enthusiasm.
For their competitors, though, it was no doubt a very different experience watching L.A. pretty much make themselves the overwhelming favorites in the West.
Knowing what he'd have to face, Blazers guard CJ McCollum recently spoke out on L.A.'s offseason moves, speaking honestly about what he expects from them going forward.
“They reloaded. They reloaded, they brought in a lot of veterans, they brought in my guy Melo. I think they’ll be a solid team, obviously good starters, good backups, they have the depth that will allow Bron and AD and Russ and some of those guys to rest some games throughout the season which is probably ideal. But it’s gonna be competitive. I got nothing but respect for the rest of the league, especially the Lakers. It’s gonna be competitive and I’m looking forward to seeing how everyone has improved this upcoming season.”
With LeBron James, Anthony Davis, Russell Westbrook, Dwight Howard, Rajon Rondo, and more, the Lakers are stacked with experience and talent.
It's no surprise that McCollum sees them as a major contender.
Unfortunately, CJ and the Blazers might not have the fire-power to match up. Despite increasing tension between Damian Lillard and the front office, GM Neil Olshey did not acquire any big names in free agency, and instead signed lower-level role players to fill out their bench.
With basically the same team they had a year ago, it's rather obvious to point out that Portland failed to reload and retool in the same way the Lakers did.
Still, so long as they have Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum, the Blazers will always be somewhat relevant, even if not favored in the wild, wild west.