The NBA dropped a trailer for the upcoming NBA season today, which included the best games from the first few nights, the Christmas Day games, and games played on MLK day. After looking through all of these matchups, I have determined my favorite and most anticipated game of the released schedule to be the 8 PM ET Christmas Day matchup between the Los Angeles Lakers and the defending champion Golden State Warriors taking place on Oakland.
First and foremost, this game will be the new-look Lakers ultimate test. If they can hold their own and have a close game for the full 48 minutes, then these Lakers will really be seen as the “real deal” and not just another team with average players and LeBron James. While this game appears rather early in the season, what rides on this game for the Lakers is to see how their chemistry has developed over the past few months and what they need to work on if they plan to face the Warriors again in the Western Conference Finals.
Next is the most obvious: entertainment. Watching the best team in basketball face off against the new Lakers, comprised of a mix between young, athletic talent and seasoned veterans, will make for one of the most epic showdowns all year long. Lonzo Ball has shown himself to be a force in the league when healthy, and he holds a 3-inch advantage over 3-time champ Steph Curry. Then we’ll see Kyle Kuzma, another young star who had an illustrious season last year, face off against former Defensive Player of the Year Draymond Green. Lance Stephenson, a physical, tenacious, aggressive shooting guard, will match up with Klay Thompson, arguably the game’s best shooter. And the most anticipated matchup will be between Kevin Durant of the Warriors and LeBron James, who will try and show the world that the Lakers are a real team and have a chance to contend for a title.
The Warriors obviously go into this game with the advantage, as this is nearly the same core that has been together for many months. For the Lakers, the team acquired several new players this offseason, so they won’t have as much synergy or chemistry together. That being said, the Lakers do have LeBron James, who has the effect to make players around him simply better. We’ve seen it time and time again; many of LeBron’s former teammates would not be as good as they are now if they didn’t have the privilege to play alongside the 3-time champion.
This game’s main purpose for the Lakers is to show the NBA world just how good they have the potential to be. And for the Warriors, it’s to make a statement that they are still undoubtedly the best team in basketball. Regardless of the outcome, this game is poised to be a great one.
Feature Image via Flikr/Yogma