Tier 6: The Elite
3. Los Angeles Lakers
Before Avery Bradley opted out, the Lakers would have been second on this list. That shows you how razor-thin the margin is between the two L.A. teams. The Lakers have two of the five best players on the planet in LeBron James and Anthony Davis.
That duo is beyond dominant, and the argument could be made that those two are enough to push the Lakers past the Los Angeles Clippers. But it’s tough to do that when the Lakers perimeter defense takes as big a hit as it will without Bradley.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope is having his best season as a Laker and plays great D in his own right, but the guard depth after Alex Caruso in JR Smith and Dion Waiters isn’t exactly trustworthy. Yes, those two are good shooters but can’t exactly plus defenders. Again, the difference between these two squads is minuscule, but as of right now the Lakers are a smidge behind their little brother.
2. Los Angeles Clippers
Kawhi Leonard must’ve been King Midas in a past life. Everything he touches turns to gold. He’s attempting to win a title with his third different franchise, and believe it or not this is probably his best team yet.
Paul George is as solid a sidekick as it gets, and those two lockdown the floor defensively. The Clippers have the best bench in the league, led by Montrezl Harrell and Lou Williams. And don’t forget: the Clippers added Reggie Jackson right before the hiatus and he was impressive in his nine games for the team.
This roster is deep, battle-tested and well-coached. If there’s any time for the Clips to escape the Lakers’ shadow, it’s now.
1. Milwaukee Bucks
You saw this coming. The Bucks enter the Orlando Bubble as the favorites to win the 2019-20 NBA Title. Led by the presumptive MVP, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee has assembled the perfect roster around his talents.
Filled to the brim with shooting and defense, the Bucks lead the league in points per game, rebounds per game and sport a deep bench. This is a special team, and well-deserving of the top spot ahead of the NBA’s Restart.