After the acquisition of Anthony Davis, the Lakers' expectations for the upcoming season skyrocketed, as did excitement for the things to come.
Apparently, ESPN has them ranked a little lower than the rest, setting the bar as low as 5th in the Western Conference.
Western Conference standings
Continuity wins in the West, as the Nuggets retained their core while adding a nice piece in Jerami Grant, though they held off the Clippers by only a fraction of a win. Then it's a tight playoff race all the way down to Sacramento at No. 12. Even if teams take time working in new additions, the Western Conference will be loaded.
1. Denver Nuggets: 54-28
2. LA Clippers: 54-28
3. Houston Rockets: 53-29
4. Utah Jazz: 52-30
5. Los Angeles Lakers: 51-31
6. Golden State Warriors: 49-33
7. Portland Trail Blazers: 47-35
8. San Antonio Spurs: 43-39
The Nuggets, Clippers, Rockets, and Jazz all have a case for being where they are. This upcoming season, they will only be looking to build upon the performance they had last year.
As for the Lakers, the acquisition of new parts and a question about the health and downslide of LeBron James is drawing significant doubt from the community.
But 5th place? That seems a little low, especially for a team as stacked as the Lakers. No doubt, they will be intent on proving ESPN wrong this upcoming season.