The Athletic’s Shams Charania is widely considered one of the most plugged-in NBA analysts on the planet. So when the Athletic released their NBA Staff picks for this coming season, Charania’s pick is one the general public needs to take seriously.
Top NBA Analyst Picks Lakers to Win NBA Championship
Despite playing in a loaded Western Conference featuring juggernaut teams like the Clippers, Jazz, Trail Blazers, Rockets, Nuggets, and many more, Charania feels the Lakers not only have enough to get out of their conference, but bring home the Larry O’Brien trophy.
Fellow NBA analyst Sam Amick was the only other staff writer at the Athletic to pick the Lakers winning the title and no other analysts picked the Lakers to even make it out of the West. The Clippers seem to be a popular choice among analysts and rightfully so. After bringing back the majority of a core that propelled them to a surprising playoff appearance last season, the Clippers added Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard alongside All-NBA superstar Paul George. The mix of elite superstar talent and a battle-tested supporting cast makes them nearly impossible to overlook and is what likely separates them from the Lakers in the eyes of analysts.
However, the duo of James and Davis isn’t one that should be overlooked either and health permitting, it could be one of the greatest duos the league has ever seen. From a talent perspective, both James and Davis are among the league’s five most talented players – a distinction that while Kawhi Leonard can lay claim to, Paul George inarguably does not hold. As a result, it seems Charania and Amick are betting on the Lakers’ talent to overcome the perceived roster depth the Clippers bring to the table – not that the Lakers’ bench is thin by any means.
Lakers Set for Playoff Preview in Season Opener Against Clippers
The Lakers get their first chance to prove Charania and Amick right when they open the season tomorrow night with a “road” game against the Clippers. Though the Clippers will be without Paul George – who is still battling back from his shoulder injury – Kawhi Leonard and their supporting cast should provide more than a stiff enough challenge.
One area the Lakers have a chance to hurt the Clippers in is the frontcourt. While Montrezl Harrell is coming off an excellent year for the Clippers, the only true big man (Harrell is 6’8″) on their roster is former Laker Ivica Zubac. While Zubac showed promise with the Lakers and Clippers last season, he is far from a starting-caliber NBA big man and gives the Laker frontcourt someone to repeatedly target down low.
While Zubac has height, he lacks a frame capable of banging with sturdier players in the low post and doesn’t offer much of a threat in terms of his rim protection. The Lakers found a ton of success in the preseason leaning on their frontcourt to produce so expect the Lakers to go at Zubac early and often as they try to expose what is almost certainly the weak link in the Clippers rotation.