NBA Analyst Explains Which Western Conference Team Will Threaten Los Angeles Lakers the Most

Published 09/06/2021, 12:30 AM EDT
Feb 4, 2021; Los Angeles, California, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (23) moves to the basket and scores during the first quarter against the Denver Nuggets at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports


With the team that Los Angeles Lakers have assembled, it is tough to think they won’t make it to the finals. With a ‘Big 3’ of Russell Westbrook, LeBron James, and Anthony Davis, they are ready to go. However, we can not write off the other competing teams.

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Notably, the Denver Nuggets could pose as serious threats to the Lakers. With league MVP Nikola Jokic running the show, they have talent at his disposal. NBA insider, Brian Geltzeiler explains why Denver can be the biggest threat to LA this season.

Feb 4, 2021; Los Angeles, California, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward Anthony Davis (3) and Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic (15) battle for a loose ball during the fourth quarter at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports
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Denver too much for Lakers?

The Lakers are coming off a disappointing playoff run. Similarly, Denver also had an unsuccessful post-season, going out to the hands of Phoenix. However, both teams had injuries as a common problem. The biggest names on both squads picked up injuries at the worst time, hurting their chances deeply.

However, with Denver back in full force, Brian believes they are the best team in the West.

He said, “The single biggest threat keeping the Lakers from going to the NBA finals in my opinion, all due respect to the Phoenix Suns who did it last year, is Nikola Jokic and the Denver Nuggets.

“Because if Denver gets Murray back healthy at any point in time before the playoffs, they are the best team in the west even with everything the Lakers did.”

He went on to further explain how despite having several big players, they are not reliable enough to put a stop to Denver. This is because they will only play in half the ball game while Jokic and Murray will barely sit out. The duo has shown in the past what they are capable of and it is not wise to write them off.

Feb 4, 2021; Los Angeles, California, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward Anthony Davis (3) defends against Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic (15) during the second quarter at Staples Center. Davis was called for a foul on the play. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

But with the Lakers, they have even matchups on Denvers’ two best players. While they have AD on Jokic, they have two options for Murray – Westbrook as well as LeBron James, who did a great job in 2020. But if they do face off, can Denver pull it off?

Is Denver the Best Team in the West?

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Last season, the Nuggets missed out big time on guard, Jamal Murray. He is still battling through his injury but can return at some point during this season. However, are Jokic and Murray enough to stop the star-studded Lakers team?

Sep 24, 2020; Lake Buena Vista, Florida, USA; Denver Nuggets guard Jamal Murray (27) dribbles the ball around Los Angeles Lakers forward Markieff Morris (88) during the second half in game four of the Western Conference Finals of the 2020 NBA Playoffs at AdventHealth Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Denver shows no quit till the last moment. They proved that in 2020, as they came back from two 3-1 deficits in a row. However, they went on to lose to the Lakers in the conference finals. Murray took the spot as the top scorer for them, averaging 26 points per game. He also had several 50 point performances in the playoffs. Moreover, they have the best passing big man in Nikola Jokic who can also score big.

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But the point remains that LeBron and Davis at complete strength were enough to take care of Denver fully healthy. And now, the Lakers have added one of the great playmakers in Russell Westbrook, who also averages over 20 points per game. Hence, it will need a mammoth effort for Denver to dethrone the Lakers as the best team in the West.

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Anuj Talwalkar

276 articles

Anuj Talwalkar is an NBA writer at EssentiallySports. He is a student studying at NM College in Mumbai, aspiring to pursue sports management to follow his love for sports. Anuj started following the NBA last year, and he loves to combine his passion for writing with his understanding of basketball.

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