Los Angeles Lakers – Lower Expectations
In theory the Suns should be entering the 2023-24 season with the weight of the world on their shoulders. Quite how owner Mat Ishbia managed to get Durant, Beal, Eric Gordon, Yuta Watanabe and six more players to join on minimum deals is astonishing.
Durant cherry-picked this destination after wanting out of the Brooklyn Nets, while Beal waived his no-trade clause to be here. Put simply, the franchise should have a ton of pressure and expectation to roll to 60 wins as the best offensive team in history and win a first championship.
Only… that’s not quite how the Suns are being spoken about. A contender? Sure thing. But they’re not the Lakers, and in this instance, that is no bad thing. They recently added Christian Wood to a roster featuring LeBron James, Anthony Davis and D’Angelo Russell, and you’d swear they had just completed their own “Big 4”.
It doesn’t matter what others do – the Lakers will always be the Lakers – and they have to live with that. LeBron and company currently have the pressure and expectations foisted on them that should be on the Suns. Being able to operate at a lower visibility level than they should is going to work wonders for the Suns when they play the Lakers.
James turns 39-years-old this season, while Davis is often injured. Austin Reeves is a really nice player, but he is spoken about like a regular at the All-Star game. Russell is problematic, and there are no guarantees Wood works out. Any time the Lakers beat the Suns, they’ll have been expected to do so. Any time the Suns beat the Lakers, a 24 hour postmortem will take place.