L.A. Lakers News: Stephen A. Smith says Lakers are favorites heading into the 19-20 season; argues that LeBron James is still the NBA's best player 

Stephen A. Smith has backed LeBron James to steer the Los Angeles Lakers a championship
Stephen A. Smith has backed LeBron James to steer the Los Angeles Lakers a championship
Tristan Elliott

What's the rumor?

LeBron James' arrival in Los Angeles last summer didn't yield a return to the playoffs as expected, although ESPN's Stephen A. Smith is confident that the superstar will be able to steer the team to a championship this season:

I’m on the mindset that the Los Angeles Lakers should be favorite. I do think that the Clippers have the better team, but I just look at LeBron James and Anthony Davis and I’m like how can actually be able to upset that team?.. LeBron James is that dude.

In case you didn't know...

After departing the Cleveland Cavaliers last summer, James signed a four-year deal with the Lakers. Following his much-anticipated arrival, Magic Johnson quickly surrounded James with several veterans, although Los Angeles' strong start to the season quickly flickered out after James suffered the worst injury of his career. The team eventually finished 10th in the Western Conference standings with a disappointing 37-45 record.

The heart of the matter

The Lakers head into the season as one of the favorites to advance to the West Finals, although the Clippers appear formidable thanks to the All-Star pairing of Paul George and Kawhi Leonard.

However, as Smith points out, James will be motivated to reclaim his crown as the NBA's best player, while Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins could also be huge contributors. A monumental postseason showdown between the two Los Angeles sides is likely, although the Lakers will be hoping that additional depth will give them the advantage.

What's next?

The Lakers still have a vacant roster spot for the 19-20 season, and Frank Vogel's team continues to be linked with the likes of Andre Iguodala and Carmelo Anthony. Meanwhile, James continues to film scenes to the highly anticipated sequel to Space Jam.

Edited by Sai Teja
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