After a season that lasted almost a year, the LA Lakers got crowned as the champions today. The LeBron James-led Lakers dominated teams in the postseason and were not stretched to Game 7 by any of them.
However, en route to their record-tying 17th NBA championship, the LA Lakers had their title credentials questioned by a few prominent NBA analysts and experts. On that note, let's take a look at five such instances.
#1- When the LA Clippers signed Kawhi Leonard and Paul George
That led many NBA experts to favor the LeBron James-led LA Clippers over the LA Lakers for the championship despite the latter trading for Anthony Davis.
'Undisputed' host Skip Bayless had this to say about the trades of the two franchises:
#2 When the LA Lakers lost their season-opener to the LA Clippers
The 2019-20 NBA season started with a mouth-watering clash as city rivals LA Clippers and LeBron James-led LA Lakers locked horns against each other. The Clippers prevailed in that game by beating the LA Lakers 112-102.
That defeat cast doubts over how the LA Lakers could fare during the rest of the season, as NBA analysts 'found' a reason to count the LeBron James-led team out of title contention.
NBA on TNT host Kenny Smith was especially critical of the LA Lakers after that game, and here is what he said in this regard:
#3- When the Milwaukee Bucks defeated the LA Lakers twice in the regular season
The Milwaukee Bucks were one of the strong contenders for the 2019-20 NBA title along with the LA Lakers and Clippers. The Bucks made their case even stronger by defeating Frank Vogel's men twice during the regular season.
After their second loss to the Bucks, a game that the LeBron James-led LA Lakers lost by seven points, experts were quick to point out the 'weaknesses' of the 17-time NBA champions.
Popular media personality Chris Broussard shared his thoughts about the LA Lakers after that game:
Also read: NBA Trade Rumors: How Philadelphia 76ers can get rid of Al Horford's bad contract in exchange for Andrew Wiggins.
#4 When the LA Lakers matched with the Portland Trail Blazers
Despite experts doubting their title credentials, the LeBron James-led LA Lakers finished the regular season as the 1st seed.
The Lakers drew Portland Trail Blazers in the first round of the NBA playoffs, a team that struggled to reach the postseason.
However, with Damian Lillard in MVP-mode in the bubble, experts predicted that the Trail Blazers were capable of upsetting the LA Lakers who were missing guard Avery Bradley as he opted out of the bubble.
'The Herd' host Colin Cowherd was quoted as saying in this regard:
"Nobody wants to face Portland Trail Blazers in the West. They are the greatest 8th seed in NBA history."
#5 When the LA Lakers lost on Christmas day
After losing their season opener, the LA Lakers lost to the LA Clippers again on Christmas day. The Clippers took that fixture 111-106, a result that made many NBA experts to proclaim that the Kawhi Leonard-led team was certainly favored to win the championship over the LeBron James-led LA Lakers.
ESPN expert Seth Greenberg also weighed in on the same when he said:
"The Clippers are the best team in LA because they are the toughest team in LA. It's not LeBron and Kawhi, it's the other guys."
However, with their 17th NBA championship win, the LeBron James-led LA Lakers have emphatically quietened all their doubters. LeBron James and co. will now prepare for next season where they will face stronger opposition in the playoffs. Going by their current form, the LA Lakers and LeBron James could be more than ready for that challenge.