The Los Angeles Lakers and New York Knicks have been among the NBA’s most glamorous franchises for decades. They play in two of the country’s biggest cities with large media followings and passionate fan bases.
The Lakers have also been the league’s most successful franchise outside of the Celtics, collecting 11 championships since moving from Minneapolis in 1961. Knicks fans have been thirsting for a title since New York beat the Lakers in the Finals twice in the early ’70s, though they made two trips to the Finals in the ’90s.
It’s hard to believe that a franchise with a winning tradition like the Lakers and a team with the advantage of playing in storied Madison Square Garden like the Knicks could fall on such hard times the past two seasons. Los Angeles won 27 games in 2013/14 and, thanks to Kobe Bryant’s torn rotator cuff, plunged even further into the abyss with a 21-61 mark last season. The Knicks also went from bad to worse, finishing eight games under .500 two seasons ago and then winning just 17 games in last season’s painful campaign marred by Carmelo Anthony’s knee issues, which limited him to a career-low 40 games.
Things appear to be looking up on both Coasts, thanks to trips to the lottery, trades, free agent signings and improving health. The Lakers drafted D’Angelo Russell to be their floor leader, signed free agents Brandon Bass and Louis Williams and traded for center Roy Hibbert. They’ll also have last year’s lottery selection, Julius Randle, back in action after a season-long injury and Bryant on the comeback trail.
The Knicks drafted European big man Kristaps Porzingis, signed free agents Arron Afflalo and Robin Lopez to fill starting roles and retooled their bench. They’ll also have Anthony back to lead the offensive attack while playing in a division that had just one team finish above .500.
Neither club is expected to make the postseason but with the upgrades, they should be much more competitive or, at the very least, watchable. So our question of the day is as follows: Which team will win more games this season, the Lakers or the Knicks?
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