The Los Angeles Lakers have more than enough talent to win the West this season. With LeBron James, Anthony Davis, Russell Westbrook, and a deep lineup of talented role-players, it's no wonder why they're favored to win the West.
Still, they will have some tough opponents to beat along the way -- including the Utah Jazz, who will be looking for revenge following last season's Western Conference Semi-Finals loss.
According to basketball legend Shaquille O'Neal, the Jazz are L.A.'s biggest threat to the Lakers.
“Utah,” O’Neal responded when asked who he believes the biggest threat to the Los Angeles Lakers will be in the Western Conference. “I won’t be so hard on Rudy this year. Rudy [is] coming with a vengeance,” Shaq said. “Rudy is coming this year.”
It's obviously a controversial take by Shaq, but he's not the only one to see Utah as a major threat this upcoming season.
“I love Donovan Mitchell‘s progression as a star player in the league,” leaugue analyst Amin Elhassen said on SiriusXM NBA Radio. “I look at Utah as a team that looks towards the mirror like, ‘To hell with that. We was the best team last year, and we didn’t get it done’. And now they’re going to come back with a vengeance to show everybody this wasn’t a fluke.”
As a team, Utah prides themselves on their tough and superior defense, which has helped earn their big man, Rudy Gobert, major recognition over the years.
Really, it's Donovan Mitchell who is the key to their success. Is he ready to take the next step as a true superstar in this league?
Last season was his best as a pro with averages of 26.4 points, 5.2 assists, and 4.4 rebounds per game on 43% shooting. If he can continue to improve and enhance his game, it could be all that Utah needs to take a leg up in the West and finally accomplish their goal.
Beating the Lakers, however, will prove challenging.