They say comparison is the thief of joy. In life, that’s frequently true. In sports, though, comparison is just pure fun. It’s what drives the majority of conversations on social media, radio, podcasts, and TV. So let’s do a little of it right here. Let’s compare the Mavs to other title contenders. (Yes, by saying “other title contenders,” I’m implying that the Mavs are title contenders themselves.) First up, the Los Angeles Lakers!
Best Player: Luka Doncic vs. LeBron James
It’s tough to argue for anyone against LeBron James in a head-to-head battle. The dude is either the second-best or best basketball player to ever walk on this planet, and even though he’s lost a step, he’s still arguably the best player in the game.
But there are a few guys in the same tier as LeBron, and Luka Doncic is one of them. Luka’s ability to control the entire game at his fingertips is very LeBron-esque. Luka has more skill right now, but LeBron’s experience probably gives him a slight edge.
Sidekicks: Kristaps Porzingis and Tim Hardaway Jr. vs Anthony Davis and Russell Westbrook
Well, this section will get depressing if I spend too much time on it, so let’s just make it quick.
Unless the Westbrook experiment turns into a disaster, Anthony Davis and Russell Westbrook are miles and miles ahead of Kristaps Porzingis and Tim Hardaway Jr.
It didn’t take long for that to get sad, so let’s move on.
The Lakers are one of the favorites to win the title, they’re located in Los Angeles, and they have LeBron James. Those three things make them able to fill out their roster with basically whoever they want. Outside of their big three, they have guys like Carmelo Anthony, Trevor Ariza, Wayne Ellington, Marc Gasol, Kent Bazemore, Kendrick Nunn, Rajon Rondo, Malik Monk, Wes Matthews, Dwight Howard, and Talen Horton-Tucker. That makes them one of the deepest teams in the league. Every single one of those guys listed would play meaningful minutes for the Mavericks.
The Mavericks still have some nice depth compared to teams outside of the playoff picture, but compared to contenders, they’re a leg behind.
This is a huge bummer for me because I thought this might be a category that the Mavericks had a chance to steal, but I have to go Lakers.
Russell Westbrook’s fashion. LeBron’s presence. The Staples Center. Celebrities courtside. The absence of Mark Cuban. The Lakers really have it all.
Overall advantage: Lakers
This shouldn’t come as a surprise. The Lakers won the title two years ago and probably would’ve been the favorite this past season if they didn’t have to deal with so many injuries. Who knows what will shake out during the season, but if the Mavs faced off against the Lakers in the playoffs right now, I’d be betting heavily on the Lakers. They have everything it takes to win a title.