The Los Angeles Lakers will definitely reach the 50-win mark.
As we brace for the beginning of the 2019-20 NBA season, the Lakers were at a projected over/under of 49.5 wins at Westgate as of earlier this week, according to The Action Network, and they have since jumped up to an even 50 wins as of Friday.
While many appear to have mixed feelings regarding the Lakers, it’s absolutely silly to doubt that they’ll win at least 50 games this season.
Whether it’s because of LeBron James’ advanced age, Anthony Davis’ recent thumb injury or just the recent history of the Lakers vastly underachieving, there aren’t many observers who have full-out confidence in this 2019-20 squad.
Here are a few reasons why the Purple and Gold won’t disappoint — and why they’ll hit the 50-win mark.
1. LeBron James and Anthony Davis
These are two of the top players in the game today despite James’ advanced age. Unlike the situation with the Houston Rockets, these two superstars actually complement one another.
While the Rockets have two former MVPs who need the ball in their hands in order to be effective, the Lakers have two selfless superstars who can be effective when they’re not the top options. As has been demonstrated thus far in the preseason, James is more than fine with dishing — and playing a secondary role — to his younger counterpart.
In fact, he did so during the Lakers’ first two preseason games prior to Davis’ injury. While Davis was averaging 19.0 points and 13.0 shot attempts in 21.5 minutes per game, the four-time MVP was averaging 17.5 points and 12.5 shot attempts in 20.5 minutes per game.
Davis even spoke of the benefit of James being able to share the workload with him — a luxury he did not have in New Orleans, via ESPN’s Dave McMenamin:
“It takes a load off me. It feels good knowing that you don’t have to do much. Everybody has a role, and when you have guys all over the board who can score the basketball, you don’t need to do everything every possession.”
While Davis may see a slight decrease in touches at the beginning of the season due to his thumb injury, don’t expect that to be the case for the entirety of the season.
2. The West is Good — But Not That Good
One of the biggest reasons why there are so many detractors of the Lakers is this notion that the Western Conference is so stacked that it’ll push the Lakers out of elite territory.
Let’s take a look at all of these teams.
The flaws of the Rockets have already been noted. In the case of the Nuggets, we’ve seen this story before — they have a hard time matching up against teams that have a lot of offensive firepower and were nearly eliminated in the first round of the playoffs by the San Antonio Spurs.
This was a Spurs squad led by two star players — DeMar DeRozan and LaMarcus Aldridge — who rely entirely on the mid-range for their points. Oh, and they just so happened to be the seventh seed in the Western Conference.
The Clippers are a respectable choice and the Jazz are a nice dark-horse team, but do we really believe the additions of Mike Conley and Bojan Bogdanovic are going to push the Jazz from a first-round team into an elite powerhouse capable of defeating a LeBron and AD-led squad?
Barring a catastrophic injury, this is a Lakers squad that will be a top-three team in the Western Conference — and will undoubtedly win at least 50 games this season.