Coming into the season, the Los Angeles Lakers and the Brooklyn Nets were two of the biggest favorites to make it to the NBA Finals. With the Lakers already winning a championship with the duo of LeBron James and Anthony Davis, they only added to their firepower on paper with the addition of Russell Westbrook.
The Nets meanwhile were coming off of a Game 7 loss against champions Milwaukee Bucks where they really were playing with a healthy Kevin Durant while Kyrie Irving and James Harden struggled with injuries. But in the limited time they did share the court, the Nets looked like a cohesive unit and rightfully were seen as one of the favorites for the 2021-22 season.
But things certainly took an ugly turn for both the teams, While the Lakers struggled to mesh together with the Westbrook trade proving to be a disaster, the Nets saw conflict among teammates and dissatisfaction from James Harden who was later traded. The Lakers ended up finishing outside the play-in tournament while the Nets were absolutely dismantled by the Celtics.
This was certainly a disheartening season for both teams. Despite being two of the most star-studded teams, the Nets and the Lakers shockingly were nowhere to be found in the post-season. Given the magnitude of their superstars, the wage bill for both teams is massive.
Despite a combined $328.8 million combined payroll for the Nets and Lakers, none of them could win a single game in the playoffs. But given the caliber of the players, both Brooklyn and the Lakers should not be counted out.
While the Purple and Gold might try to stay competitive and add some more complementary role players, the Nets will welcome a player in Ben Simmons who missed the majority of the 2021-22 season. Can we see the Nets and the Lakers put up stronger performances in the upcoming season?