1. Los Angeles Lakers
Kobe Bryant is a shell of his former self and isn’t getting any younger. Andrew Bynum will be an unrestricted free agent come next season, and those max dollars will surely send him packing to another team. Pau Gasol is pretty good, and so is Steve Nash, but those two plus Kobe don’t exactly equal a championship. So really, the Lakers’ pressure doesn’t even come from the fans, the media, or other third party sources. Without Andrew Bynum, this team will get eaten alive in the Western Conference. And, for those of you scoring at home, that gives the Lakers exactly one season to win the title. Of course, Pau Gasol could be traded and Andrew Bynum re-signed. In an ideal world, that is exactly what would happen. But that would take away from the 2012-2013 team, because the Lakers would likely take back expirings and picks as opposed to present assets.
That brings us back full circle, which is championship or bust. The Lakers are beyond all-in at this point, and it’s been two years since the Lakers were championship relevant. Sure, they’ve parlayed a talented roster into a playoff fixture, but little else. Dallas and Oklahoma City have wiped the floor with their rotting carcass in two consecutive years, and that’s no good. Now, will they win the title this coming season? Eh, who knows. There’s a lot of quality teams out there, especially in the West, so that remains to be seen. But if they don’t win, you can expect Kobe to punch Pau Gasol in the face – that rage has been building for years now.
Which NBA team is under the most pressure to win a title now?
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