Based on how well the Brooklyn Nets have been playing recently, it looks like they’ll be the favorites to come out of the Eastern Conference. The Los Angeles Lakers are banged up right now but should come out of the Western Conference if they get healthy. Both teams have stacked rosters and recently got even better through the buyout market.
In the NBA, the rich tend to get richer. The Lakers have been benefited quite a bit for being a top location for superstars to play for. NBA Hall of Famer Julius Erving had a chance to talk about the Nets’ superteam and appeared to throw some shade at the Lakers in the process.
“It’s reminiscent of how the Yankees used to do it all the time,” Erving said on Inside the Green Room. “They load up – they call it ‘buying a championship.’ The Lakers are known for doing that too.
“They’re getting all these pieces … they don’t know at the end of the season what it’s going to look like or what it’s going to feel like, but they’re going to be formidable. You’ve got a team with six former All-Stars, and three [All-NBA] guys who have been there and succeeded in the playoffs.”
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Lakers Can’t Really Buy a Championship
It’s hard not to look at Erving’s comments as a bit of a dig at the Lakers. Suggesting that they are buying championship takes away from a lot of hard work the team has done. Many of the team’s all-time greats were homegrown. Also, it’s hard to buy a championship in the NBA due to the salary cap.
It’s completely different in baseball as teams can spend whatever they want in free agency in that league. The Lakers can’t spend much more money than other teams. Now, Los Angeles does have a big advantage in free agency. They’ve got an excellent brand and the city is very appealing for players.
Lakers & Nets Could Have Epic Finals Clash
Regardless of the means by which they get there, the Nets and Lakers seem like the likely candidates to face off in the NBA Finals this year. Brooklyn is led by perhaps the most talented big three ever in Kyrie Irving, James Harden and Kevin Durant. They were also able to pick up former All-Stars in Blake Griffin and LaMarcus Aldridge.
The Lakers are led by LeBron James, who is still the best player in the world. It’s easy to forget about Anthony Davis due to his injury issues this season, but he’s also a top-10 player. The Lakers were able to recently sign two-time All-Star Andre Drummond. Both teams have very strong rosters and a Finals clash between them would be one of the most exciting in recent years. What would make the matchup so interesting is that the Nets have completely gone all-in on offense while the Lakers have an elite defense. We would finally be able to settle the debate on if a team with a great offense can overcome a bad defense.