Magic Johnson says that the Los Angeles Lakers will the 2021 NBA championship despite James Harden being traded to the Brooklyn Nets.
The Houston Rockets decided to pull the trigger on the James Harden trade after all, and did so merely a couple hours after Harden’s harsh comments towards the Rockets. The Brooklyn Nets received the perennial MVP candidate while the Rockets received 8 FRPs and Victor Oladipo in return.
This trade changes the entirety of the NBA landscape. 538’s Chris Herring claims that before the Harden trade, the Nets were given a 2% chance to win the NBA Finals. Post-Harden trade, they are now up to 16%.
The Nets are currently the favourites to win the East, ahead of the 76ers and the Bucks. However, claiming the Eastern Conference title would be one step closer to facing the favourites to get out of the West: the Los Angeles Lakers.
Magic Johnson picks LeBron James and the Lakers over the Nets
It isn’t really surprise that Lakers legend and 5x NBA champion Magic Johnson would be betting all his chips on the Los Angeles Lakers to win it all once again.
In a tweet following the James Harden trade, Magic said that he is excited to see Harden team u[p with KD and Kyrie, but will ultimately side with the Los Angeles Lakers to win it all.
James Harden getting traded to the Brooklyn Nets to join KD and Kyrie will be special to watch… but I’m still picking the @Lakers to win the Championship 😁
— Earvin Magic Johnson (@MagicJohnson) January 14, 2021
There is no doubt that the Brooklyn Nets will be lethal on offense. Their issue is their defense. With Kevin Durant and Bruce Brown being the Nets’ best defenders, it will interesting to see how much effort they put into the defensive end of the floor.
The Lakers on the other hand, are a team that are capable of being top 5 both on offense and defense throughout a season. LeBron James is statistically being the best on-ball defender this season and AD is a perennial DPOY candidate year in and year out.
The narrative surrounding a potential Lakers-Nets Finals would have to be one for the books: LeBron James vs. Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant.