LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers are fresh off their 2020 Championship victory.
With the taste of Champagne still fresh in their mouths, they have taken an early lead in the West standings this season, going 11-4 through the first 15 games.
Despite new threats and rising levels of anxiety from fans, former Lakers big man Shaquille O'Neal insisted that the team was still on track to repeat as Champions, citing that "no team" could beat them in a 7-game series.
Shaq: "I think they do deserve to be the favorites cause they're the Champs. There's a lot of competitive teams out there but I don't think there's any that can beat the Lakers in a seven-game series."
Smith: "What about the Clippers? What about Kawhi?"
Shaq: "That's what we said last year."
Despite being 36 years old, LeBron James doesn't seem to have lost a step. Averaging 23.7 points, 7.9 rebounds, and 7.5 assists per game, he has emerged as an early MVP candidate this season.
Anthony Davis, meanwhile, has stayed healthy and productive, putting up 21.3 points, 9 rebounds, and 1.9 blocks per game on 53% shooting.
All-in-all, between the star-studded duo and a solid supporting cast, things look bright for the Lakeshow this season, as do their chances to hoist that Larry O'Brien trophy for the second straight time.
We'll see soon enough, though, whether or not that optimism is misplaced.