Sans LeBron James and Anthony Davis, the Lakers have taken a nose-dive down the standings in the West, going from (at one point) second in the Conference, to fifth.
And while their lower ranking might be a deal-breaker for other teams in the association, the Lakers might have the unique privilege of not having to worry about it.
According to Shaquille O'Neal, the defending Champs are the only team in the league that do not need a home-court advantage.
“The difference between the Lakers and any other team is that the Lakers don’t need home-court advantage. When you got guys like LeBron and AD, they can steal a game on the opponent’s floor. Utah and (other top 4) teams need home-court advantage. Lakers do not."
With as much playoff experience as LeBron has, he is more than capable of winning games on the road. In fact, he has made it to the Finals as a sub-3 seed before.
As for Anthony Davis -- while his durability may be in question, his performance has always been consistent, as we saw in the 2020 playoffs last year. He has already prone his ability to step up in the most important moments.
But whether or not they'll find similar success this year as to last year is still anyone's guess. Things right now are certainly not what they were a year ago.