While Lakers fans should celebrate the joy of seeing their team crowned as NBA champions, they should be just as excited about the expansion of their team’s championship window and the opportunity for another dynasty.
No disrespect to Giannis and the Bucks; Kawhi, PG, and the Clippers; Steph, Klay, and the Warriors; or KD, Kyrie, and the Nets, but LeBron, AD, and the Lakers are the ones poised to dominate over the next five years of the NBA. Underestimated and underappreciated, the Lakers not only survived the loss of fans and home court advantage and rigors of the bubble but thrived on the pressure and clearly proved they were the best team in the league.
The Lakers’ dominating championship run proved this team possesses the five keys that transformed previous Los Angeles title teams into dynasties: best point guard, center, coach, general manager, and owner in the league. LeBron James, Anthony Davis, Frank Vogel, Rob Pelinka, and Jeanie Buss are modern reincarnations of storied Lakers’ Hall of Famers Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Phil Jackson, Jerry West, and Dr. Jerry Buss.
While that might seem preposterous at first glance, the playoffs definitely showed the Lakers not only have the two best superstars and deepest roster in the league but are in a position to make moves to be even better. Quibble all you want, the Lakers dominated every round of the playoffs, beating the Portland Blazers, Houston Rockets, and Denver Nuggets four games to one and the Eastern Conference champs Heat four games to two.
For those who opine the Lakers had an easier path to the Finals because the Clippers and Bucks couldn’t handle the loss of home court advantage and stress of the bubble, remember the Lakers won despite those challenges. But let’s look closer at why LeBron James, Anthony Davis, Frank Vogel, Rob Pelinka, and Jeanie Buss were the keys to the 2020 NBA Championship and why they have the Lakers once again on the verge of another dynasty:
1. LeBron James is still the best player and not slowing down.
After winning his fourth NBA championship and unanimous Finals MVP, there’s no longer any question 35-year old LeBron James is still the best player in the league and is showing no signs of slowing down anytime soon. The level at which LeBron’s been playing leads many analysts to project he could easily continue to play until he is 40-years old, which means the Lakers’ championship window is much wider than originally thought.
LeBron’s on a mission to become the GOAT and now only needs to win two more NBA championships to tie Michael Jordan. As long as he stays healthy, the Lakers will be the unanimous favorites to win more championships.
2. Anthony Davis is now the best center and still not in his prime.
27-year old Anthony Davis’ elite performances during the playoffs have already elevated him to be the second best player in the league and obvious heir apparent as the best player on the planet once LeBron James retires. What’s even scarier for Lakers’ opponents is Davis is not even close to reaching his prime, is an unstoppable offensive player and the league’s best defensive player, and has no equal as the prototype modern NBA center.
Anthony Davis not only gives the Lakers the power of having league’s top two superstars and a bridge to greatness after LeBron retires but also the possibility of becoming an even better team as he reaches his prime.
3. Frank Vogel outcoached everybody with a flawed roster.
Frank Vogel may not have been the Lakers’ first choice as head coach but he’s transformed a flawed roster that lacked a reliable third scorer, second playmaker, and elite 3-point shooting into a dominant championship team. He accomplished that by leveraging the defensive talent of Anthony Davis and LeBron James and getting everybody on the team to totally buy in to a defense first mentality that powered the Lakers’ championship success.
Vogel’s mix of strong interpersonal skills and savvy technical expertise enabled him to gain the trust and confidence of LeBron and AD and give the Lakers a championship caliber foundation, culture, and chemistry.
4. Rob Pelinka built the best roster with options to get better.
Just as Frank Vogel was disrespected in the voting for COY, Rob Pelinka was ignored in the voting for EOY. But the Lakers’ championship has pundits rethinking the importance of Rob Pelinka’s role in the Lakers’ dominance. Pelinka was the not only the architect behind trading for AD but also the savvy builder of a veteran championship roster of unlikely contributors like Rajon Rondo, Dwight Howard, and Markieff Morris on a limited budget.
As reigning NBA champions, Pelinka has the Lakers perfectly positioned not only to make major upgrades to the current roster but also to have cap space after the next season to sign a third superstar to join LeBron and AD.
5. Jeanie Buss showed everybody she knows how to win.
Success or failure in any business or organization starts and ends with the boss and Jeanie Buss has shown with her decision to give the reigns of the Lakers’ franchise to Rob Pelinka she was the right choice to run the Lakers. The collaborative imprint she’s made on entire Lakers’ organization has turned what had been called dysfunction and disarray into competence and confidence and restored the franchise to its rightful place atop the NBA.
Jeanie has a long way to go to match her dad’s legacy as an owner but she shares his total commitment to winning that created the Magic and Kareem and Kobe and Shaq dynasties and could lead to a LeBron and AD dynasty.