Top 3 NBA Teams That Can Contend With Lakers For 2021 Championship

By  //  November 11, 2020

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LeBron James finally won the championship to cement his legacy as one of the top-3 basketball players to ever play the game. The 2020 championship, won by the Los Angeles Lakers, was capped off by a MVP-like performance, but can he lead the team to a repeat title in 2021?

James will have some stiff competition if the league resumes play amid the pandemic. Key players Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, and Kevin Durant will be fully healthy this time around. The Western Conference owns some of the best individual talent in the world. When it comes to dethroning the King and the Lakers, these three teams pose the best threat.

No. 3: Brooklyn Nets

Among the NBA picks for the best, the Nets slide in as number three, but would be higher if Durant played last year. Durant set out the entire season after an Achilles injury in the 2019 NBA Finals. With Durant, Kyrie Irving, and Caris Lavert as a powerful scoring trio, the Nets will be a heavy favorite to come out of the Eastern Conference.

However, what really makes this team interesting is the coaching staff. The Nets took a chance on Steve Nash, but the former MVP is surrounding himself with qualified assistant coaches.

Nash immediately kept Jacques Vaugh, who led the team to a postseason appearance after the Nets fired Kenny Atkinson. Then, he hired his former teammate Amar’e Stoudemire just weeks later.

This week, Nash was able to bring in his former head coach, and ex-Rockets head coach, Mike D’Antoni, and highly regarded Philadelphia 76ers assistant coach Ime Udoka. Nash is surrounding himself with some of the best basketball minds in the game, and he already has the talent on the floor.

No. 2: Milwaukee Bucks

Even though the Bucks were eliminated by the Miami Heat of the second round of the playoffs, nobody should count this team out as long as Giannis Antetokounmpo is healthy.

The two-time MVP is entering the final year of his contract, so the Bucks are going to be feeling the urgency. There is a chance that Giannis could leave the team, so the Bucks will do whatever it takes to win.

On paper, the Bucks still have a formidable squad with Khris Middleton, Eric Bledsoe, and Brook Lopez. There’s no reason to think that the Bucks won’t be a top team in the east again.

No. 1: Golden State Warriors

The Warriors own the No. 2 pick in the draft and could very well be a top-2 team in the Western Conference. With Steph, Klay, and Draymond Green still a core of that team, it would not be right to keep the Warriors out of the mix. That doesn’t even include what will happen with this team in the next couple of months.

The Warriors could look to package the No. 2 pick with Andrew Wiggins and try to land a player like Bradley Beal. There’s also a chance the team could keep Wiggins, who is an All-Star caliber player, and use the top selection on a talent like James Wiseman. Either way, the Warriors are back to full strength, and will be a competitive force once again.