This summer has been a great one for the Lakers.
NBA: The advantage over the field in the West is so obvious that the standings debate heading into camp goes only as high up the food chain as picking the second-best team in the conference. The Lakers are obviously not loved by all, but it has become impossible for even their greatest detractors to disrespect them.
Not only is L.A. the two-time defending champion, with a third Finals appearance preceding that, but the summer moves were one direct hit after another: keeping Jackson, keeping Fisher’s leadership and playoff magic, signing Blake as a safety net if Fisher falters, signing Barnes to address the possibility of Luke Walton missing the entire season with a back injury. The Lakers didn’t just hold the line. They pushed it out even more.
OVERALL GRADE: A