The Los Angeles Lakers were crowned NBA champions this season, after a very strange and shortened season due to the effects of the Covid-19 virus. Among other off-court distractions such as police brutality, players and teams were entirely distracted during a very difficult year.
But next year is shaping up to be very exciting in the world of NBA basketball. Star players are returning with more motivation, and others are returning from their injuries. In fact, next year certain favorites are hungrier than ever to win the NBA championship.
There are a few good teams, but three teams stand out particularly. These three teams all happen to reside in the state of California, which makes the 2021 NBA season a must-watch for fans and media all over the globe.
Here are the 3 California favorites for the NBA title next year.
3. Los Angeles Clippers
The Clippers should use next year as the Revenge Season. The duo of Kawhi Leonard and Paul George failed miserably, mainly due to Paul George's disappearance in the playoffs, and that resulted in the firing of Doc Rivers. Rivers is still one of the best coaches in the NBA, and everyone else needs to look at themselves in the mirror. That includes Paul George and even Kawhi Leonard. PG needs to sort out his personal life and get back to MVP PG because he can help Kawhi deliver an NBA title to Los Angeles.
Kawhi Leonard, although one of the 5 best players in the world, also had a poor Playoff run for his standards and probably wants to prove he is still the best 2-way player in the world.
Ty Lue is expected to sign a massive contract with the Los Angeles Clippers to return as head coach, and that spells good news for the team. Kawhi and PG know Lue very well and can all be on the same page as they fight for a title. Beyond the two stars, guys like Lou Williams and Patrick Beverley want to prove they are still impactful players. Lou made a fool out of his team with the Lemon Pepper fiasco, while Beverley looked silly on the bench as the Clippers choked a 3-1 lead to Denver in the 2nd round.
Add to the fact that Montrezl Harrell, winner of the 6th Man of the Year Award, will most likely re-sign with the Los Angeles Clippers because he had his best seasons there and will be a key player around Kawhi Leonard on the bid for the NBA championship.
Don't sleep on the Clippers because they are coming thanks to rejuvenated players and the greatness of Kawhi Leonard.
2. Golden State Warriors
The Golden State Warriors are back ladies and gentlemen. As of right now, that have Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson healthy alongside Draymond Green and Andrew Wiggins. Steve Kerr is still the head coach for a franchise that knows what it takes to win, which is a positive thing for Warriors fans. Not to mention, the Warriors have the 2nd overall pick in the NBA Draft. This means they are adding one of the best players in the NBA Draft, or possibly pairing that pick with Andrew Wiggins to add another All-Star player. In a nutshell, the Warriors can manage to win it all if they tread carefully.
Stephen Curry, when healthy, is still the best point guard in the NBA and Klay Thompson is the second-best shooter ever. Draymond Green prospers when he is alongside Curry and Klay, which boosts the morale of everyone else. Steve Kerr is a great coach who has employed an excellent system in the team.
The Warriors play the best version of modern basketball by moving the ball, getting open looks, and being defensively capable when locked in. With plenty of options with their 2nd overall pick, the Warriors are clearly one of the top favorites to win it all next season.
1. Los Angeles Lakers
Of course, the Los Angeles Lakers are the number one favorites next season. You are the king until you are dethroned, and the Lakers are taking that on their chest next year. They still have the best player in the world in LeBron James and another top-5 player in the world in Anthony Davis. They looked unbeatable this year, and there is no reason why they won't be again next year. With Frank Vogel at the helm, the Lakers have the best core in the league right now.
Especially if they make a move for a third star by trading Kyle Kuzma, the Lakers can separate themselves from the other 2 dominant California teams. Kuzma has a decent year averaging 12.1 PPG, but he is not an All-Star and is instead a suitable piece for a rebuilding franchise. The Lakers can dangle Kuzma in front of some other teams, and add some other role-players as well.
The Lakers are expected to re-sign key players such as Avery Bradley, Dwight Howard, KCP, and of course Rajon Rondo who all have player options or have made themselves valuable.
LeBron James is still the King of the NBA, and with AD's help, he will lead the charge as the title favorites next year.