Without a doubt, the Los Angeles Lakers and Brooklyn Nets are the two best teams in the NBA. The Milwaukee Bucks and Phoenix Suns both made the NBA Finals last year, but neither has the historical talent that Los Angeles and Brooklyn have at this moment. LeBron James, Anthony Davis, Russell Westbrook, Kevin Durant, James Harden, and Kyrie Irving are all major names in American sports right now and they all reside on two teams.
There are also former All-Stars such as LaMarcus Aldridge, Paul Millsap, Blake Griffin, and DeAndre Jordan who will play valuable minutes for both squads. Stacked rosters and “superteams” is the latest craze in the league, and no teams can truly compete with the Lakers and Nets in that regard. But which team has the edge? The Lakers and Nets are expected to meet in the NBA Finals in 2022, and it is time to complete the full comparison between both squads by analyzing the starters, bench, coaching, and team strengths.
There are a total of 6 superstars competing for an NBA title in a 7-game series should the two teams meet in the NBA Finals. The Lakers have 3 and Brooklyn has 3, making this a very close matchup on paper. The difference here is that Kevin Durant, James Harden, and Kyrie Irving are much more efficient than the Lakers trio. James is 36 years old, Davis is often hobbled, and efficiency is not the strongest attribute of Russell Westbrook. Of course, LeBron James, Anthony Davis, and Russell Westbrook can easily have a couple of games where they outshine the Brooklyn trio, but this is very unlikely over a long 7-game series.
LeBron James, Anthony Davis, Kevin Durant, and James Harden are all arguably top-5 players in the world. Irving, when playing at his best, is top-10. As great as Westbrook is, he is not quite on that level and has an argument for “only” being in the top-15. This means that the Brooklyn trio can have a bit more fire on offense than the Lakers duo, and they are also younger and more explosive than an aging LeBron James and injury-prone Anthony Davis. Not to mention, Kevin Durant is now recognized as the best player in the world.
Advantage: Brooklyn Nets
Lakers Bench: Kendrick Nunn, Rajon Rondo, Talen Horton-Tucker, Malik Monk, Trevor Ariza, Kent Bazemore, Carmelo Anthony, Dwight Howard, Marc Gasol
Nets Bench: Patrick Mills, Jevon Carter, Bruce Brown, Cam Thomas, James Johnson, Paul Millsap, Sekou Doumbouya, LaMarcus Aldridge, Nic Claxton
If there is one area that the Lakers have a massive advantage over other teams, it is their bench. The Lakers are incredibly deep, completely refreshing the talent on the roster this offseason. Carmelo Anthony is 36 years old, but he can still average double digits in scoring while Dwight Howard and Rajon Rondo return to the team after helping the Lakers win the title in 2020.
DeAndre Jordan, former All-Star center, is also a Los Angeles Laker and brings size and defense to a stacked roster. Otherwise; Kendrick Nunn, Malik Monk, Talen Horton-Tucker, and Kent Bazemore bring youth and offensive ability for the Lakers. Other big names including Trevor Ariza and Marc Gasol bring valuable veteran experience.
On the other end, the Nets have Patty Mills, Bruce Brown, LaMarcus Aldridge, and Paul Millsap are all valuable role players. But Millsap is nowhere near the same player he used to be while Aldridge just came back after retiring due to heart murmurs. The Lakers have more quality players off the bench playing at a higher level and have the overall edge in that regard.
Advantage: Los Angeles Lakers
Coach: Frank Vogel vs. Steve Nash
Frank Vogel deserves a ton of credit for leading the Los Angeles Lakers to the NBA title in 2020. Vogel was an unpopular choice at first but his defensive schemes and locker room leadership were pivotal for the Lakers last season. There are zero doubts about Vogel’s ability to guide a championship team like the Lakers, and he has the best leader in the NBA in LeBron James by his side. Losing Jason Kidd in the coaching staff hurts, but the Lakers will be one of the best-coached teams in the league.
Brooklyn did very well last year despite the host of injuries they had to endure under a rookie head coach. Steve Nash has a year under his belt and has an extremely talented team to field every game. He simply does not have the NBA Finals experience that Vogel has and that gives the Lakers an edge.
Advantage: Los Angeles Lakers
Lakers Have An Edge In Depth And Championship Experience
The Los Angeles Lakers got the job done 2 years ago and that will not leave the team, especially with the likes of Rajon Rondo and Dwight Howard coming back. The championship core is fully there, although it is bolstered with the talents of Russell Westbrook among others. But the key advantage the Lakers have is their depth. Carmelo Anthony, DeAndre Jordan, Marc Gasol, and Trevor Ariza all join Rondo and Howard as veteran leaders in the dressing room. Their young guns are also very capable, with Kendrick Nunn and Malik Monk averaging 14.6 PPG and 11.7 PPG last year respectively. Both guys can come in and score with ease, and future Hall of Famer Carmelo Anthony averaged 13.4 PPG last season as well. Los Angeles have the formula for championship success in veteran leaders, a superstar trio, and championship experience.
The Brooklyn Nets Have The Most Talented Trio In NBA History
Talent wins games and wins championships in the NBA, no matter what the circumstances are. The team with the most talent often wins the most games if they can keep healthy and get along with each other, something the Nets have already shown they can do. Kevin Durant is truly a special player and is arguably one of the top-15 players who have ever played the game. At this stage, he is the best player in the world. Pairing him with a top-10 player in Kyrie Irving and one of the best isolation players ever in James Harden is enough to give Brooklyn an edge over any team.
The Nets also have some big names to help out in Paul Millsap, LaMarcus Aldridge, and Blake Griffin while Patty Mills and Bruce Brown can be trusted to play big minutes when needed. The Nets do not have depth like the Lakers have, but they have enough to provide support to their Big Three. The fact that their 3 best players are in their prime is their biggest advantage over any team in the NBA including the Lakers.
In conclusion, this series should go to 7 games. The Lakers have a massive edge in their bench, but the Nets will most likely capture the NBA title in 7 games to end the 2021-2022 season. Superstars control the outcome of games in the postseason, and the Nets happen to have the cream of the crop.
LeBron James, one of the greatest athletes to have ever lived, is talented and dominant enough to make up that difference due to his age, but he would need to play at an inhuman level for 7 straight games alongside Anthony Davis. Russell Westbrook would also have to play at a controlled pace because his inefficiency is the only thing in his way from taking his game to an entirely different level. But James cannot fight being 37 years old, Davis will never be 100% healthy, and Westbrook will never change.
On the other end, Kevin Durant is the best player in the NBA right now with 2 unstoppable scorers in their prime beside him. Without injuries and all other factors equal, the Nets are the better team because their Big Three is completely unstoppable.
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