NBA Predictions: Top Five Teams to Compete With the Lakers Next Year
Going into next year, the L.A Lakers are the favorites to win the west again. But there are always other teams who compete with them. Here are the top five teams to compete with the Lakers next year.
5. Utah Jazz
Despite losing players Carlos Boozer, Kyle Korver and Wesley Matthews, I still feel the Jazz will have the same success as they did last year if not more. With the addition of Al Jefferson, who fits perfectly into the Jazz offense and his ability to post up and his contribution to the defensive end being a defensive presence, they could really have a great year.
4. San Antonio Spurs
The Spurs really showed they could compete with the Lakers last year when they beat them at the Staples Center. When they were able to beat the Mavericks in the playoffs, they proved that they were for real until they got swept by the Suns in the next round. San Antonio really has a combination of veterans such as Duncan, Parker, Ginobili, and young talent in Blair, Hill and rookie James Anderson. The Spurs aren't considered to be title contenders next year, but don't count them out.
3. Oklahoma City Thunder
The Thunder are going to be entering the season with huge expectations. They ended their year last year taking the Lakers to 6 games, which is a pretty big accomplishment not being in the playoffs for quite a while. They have young talent with Durant, Westbrook, Green and others but they do lack the experience other teams do in the west. Expect OKC to be the same or a little better next year.
2. Dallas Mavericks
The Mavericks have always been a team that competed with the Lakers in recent years, but they were able to go past them. But with the addition of Tyson Chandler to provide some length and above the rim play, they could be better than their already great season last year.
1. Portland Trail Blazers
Nobody thinks of the Blazers as an elite team in the west, but they are. Despite a season where they only won 50 games after having huge expectations, Portland was not to blame for that because they had too many injuries that overwhelmed them. But next year is a whole different year. They will be healthy and have new guys in Wesley Matthews and Luke Babbitt who will make a solid contributions. Portland has length, depth and experience, all of which a team needs to compete with the Lakers.