After winning the NBA Championship in 2019-20, the Los Angeles Lakers came into the new year as favorites to repeat. Through the first 14 games of the season, they currently boast the league’s best record.
By any objective measure, despite the Talen Horton-Tucker conspiracy theory that seems to be picking up steam online, and aside from a deranged fan issuing an ominous threat to LeBron James, the Lakers are doing extremely well.
This week, Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr spoke to Dieter Kurtenbach of the East Bay Times and gave his honest assessment of this year’s Lakers group.
“I do know that when a team wins a championship, generally they come back the next year with more confidence,” he said. “I imagine that’s what’s happening with the Lakers.”
Still, it’s not just a matter of confidence. James and his group genuinely seem to be playing at a different level than many of their foes.
“They have the [confidence] that comes with winning a championship and they don’t have the fatigue that comes with winning multiple championships,” Kerr continued.
“This is really a sweet spot. It’s where we found ourselves the year we won 73. You come back and it’s almost like a continuation of your championship season. You’re on top of the world. Everybody’s happy. You add some layers to what you already did. [And you have] deeper confidence in what you’re doing.”
The Bucks owner’s daughter decided to bring 2021 in with a bang by stripping all her clothes off. https://t.co/UgzhEEna4o
— Game 7 (@game7__) January 7, 2021
Championship teams sometimes fall into a rut. Players get paid big money in the offseason, they no longer have the same chips on their shoulders as before, and things just kind of fall apart. That doesn’t seem to be happening to this year’s Lakers squad – at least not yet.
The season is a long ways away from being over, but as Kerr said, the Lakers look like an absolute force at this juncture.
Will it culminate with another championship? Time will tell.