The 2021-22 NBA preseason is now underway, and the world has its eyes on two teams this season - the Los Angeles Lakers and Brooklyn Nets. Both teams had a phenomenal offseason and strengthened their teams in hopes of taking home the 2022 NBA trophy.
The two sides exchanged punches for the first time on Sunday, albeit in the preseason. Behind a strong fourth quarter, the Nets blew away the Lakers and sealed the victory with a score of 123-97.
While this was just a preseason game, fans were excited to see the two teams in action for the first time this season. After all, most believe that the Lakers and Nets matchup is expected to be the biggest rivalry next season and will most likely play in the 2022 NBA Finals.
That might be the consensus, but the Lakers' new center DeAndre Jordan believes people are looking beyond the Phoenix Suns and Milwaukee Bucks.
"I got love for a lot of those guys over there, but at the end of the day, in the West you got to go through Phoenix and in the East you got to go through Milwaukee, regardless of what everybody else wants to say. Obviously both teams have championship aspirations, so I’m not going to say that we don’t want to be playing late in June for a title."
Jordan continued, "But it’s going to take 82 games for us to be able to get and get ready and I’m sure the same for those guys. But we can’t look at tomorrow as a Finals prediction. If it happens, it happens, but I think we’re just trying to focus on us and us being healthy and us figuring out a way to be able to be there in June."
As the former Nets player said, it is still too early to predict favorites to play in the finals. Moreover, overlooking last year's two finalists might be a very costly mistake.
Even if the Lakers and the Nets are the two powerhouse teams in the league, they have their own issues to figure out. The most prominent one is making sure the roster is healthy and at its peak when the postseason begins.
If there is anything certain, it is that this season, it will be a very close competition to represent the West and East conference after the season is done and dusted.