The new NBA season has only just begun, but with a few games in the books, we are starting to see an early indication of each team’s potential after an offseason full of player movement.
The Los Angeles Lakers made some big changes to a roster that won an NBA championship just a few months ago, adding guard Dennis Schröder and big men Montrezl Harrell and Marc Gasol. Following a loss on ring night to the Clippers, the Lakers have rebounded with two stellar offensive performances in blowout wins over the Mavericks and Timberwolves.
What are other experts and analysts saying about the Lakers early in the season? Here’s a rundown of the Lakers’ standing in several power rankings released by major outlets this week:
The Lakers topped ESPN's power rankings in the preseason, and remain in the No. 1 overall position despite an opening night loss. According to ESPN's Zach Lowe, the Lakers are in a "tier of their own" ahead of his next tier of teams, which includes the Clippers, Bucks, Heat, Nets and Nuggets. Via ESPN:
"Dennis Schroder provides needed perimeter shot creation. Schroder and Montrezl Harrell will wreck opposing bench units, and prop up the offense when Davis and James need breaks during a compressed season. The Lakers won't be as reliant on Harrell as the Clippers were if they run into a postseason matchup that troubles him. Given how last season's alleged co-favorites fell on their faces, no one else deserves membership here. Those teams crumbled under postseason pressure and the strangeness of the bubble. The Lakers rose up."
The Ringer: 1st
The Ringer lauded the addition of Dennis Schroder, whom analyst Kevin O'Connor compared to a version of Playoff Rondo the Lakers can rely upon the whole year. Via The Ringer:
"Lakers head coach Frank Vogel is going 11 deep into his rotation to find playing time for Talen Horton-Tucker, and he’s limiting minutes for veterans while experimenting with lineups. These first few games feel like an extended preseason for the Lakers, but having a player like Schröder helps them win games even as they try things out."
Bleacher Report: 1st
via Bleacher Report:
"The bigger concern in Laker land is Anthony Davis, who missed their game against the Minnesota Timberwolves with a calf injury. This is why the Lakers went to great lengths to strengthen their bench, but it’s not something they wanted to test out this early. Overall, they are still the best team as long as they don’t take their foot off the pedal."
CBS Sports: 1st
Via CBS Sports:
"The Lakers are clearly taking a cautious approach with superstars LeBron James and Anthony Davis to start the season, but they still looked good in the first week with wins over the Mavericks and Wolves after an opening-night loss to the Clippers."
Hoops Habit: 1st
Via Hoops Habit:
"The outcome against the Dallas Mavericks was not in doubt early in the second quarter. Anthony Davis looked to be staking his claim as the new best player in the league. Dennis Schroder and Montrezl Harrell were noticeably more comfortable in their second game with the team. If the biggest issue the team has at the moment is Marc Gasol finding his way, that says it all. The depth behind LA’s top two stars is overwhelming."