The Western Conference has historically been stacked with some of the best players to play throughout the history of the league. It is notoriously hard for teams to make it to the NBA Finals out of the West, and next season promises to be no different. As the Lakers try to bounce back into contention after a season that failed to meet fan expectations, it's going to be tough on them.
Their reported pursuit of Kyrie Irving has been a hot topic this summer, with reports suggesting that the price for the Nets star has been set. It seems like a very real possibility that Irving might still join the Lakers and his reuniting with LeBron James, if it happens, is expected to push the Lakers back into contending status.
But despite the star power that the Lakers would boast following a trade for Kyrie Irving going through, NBA analyst Zach Lowe doesn't think that it would make them favorites for the title at all. And he used the strength of the Western Conference to back up his point regarding the same.
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"Clippers are loaded for bear, the Warriors just won the championship, Memphis isn’t going anywhere," Lowe said. "The Nuggets are reloaded. It would make the Lakers dangerous for sure, but favorites? Right now, that's a fiction."
The Western Conference is loaded with top talent, even without considering the threat of the teams that Lowe mentioned, like the Warriors, Grizzlies, and Clippers, Luka Doncic and the Mavericks are always a threat. The Timberwolves added Rudy Gobert, the Suns are coming back after a season when they were the NBA's top seed, and New Orleans will have a returning Zion Williamson.
There is very little way to predict what will happen next season, but nobody would take a firm bet on who is coming out of the West at this juncture. Kyrie Irving's addition would undoubtedly make the Lakers very dangerous, but it is far from a certainty that it would make them favorites.