As the two-time defending champions with the top seven players returning, it was expected that the Los Angeles Lakers would be at or near the top of the league this season. They did nothing to disprove that in their first week, winning all three games. As such, the Lakers firmly hold the top spot in the NBA power rankings on SB Nation. Per Christopher Clark:
As SB Nation's resident Lakers blogger, I should have a pretty good handle on Kobe Bryant's band of merry men. And merry is exactly what they are, with the Miami Heat stealing all the headlines and a fair share of the envy/vitriol which would otherwise have been reserved for the two time defending champs. The Lakers quietly but emphatically improved the back end of their roster, and those upgrades have played a starring role in the Lakers' 3-0 start. It's early yet (aren't small sample sizes great), but this year's Lakers squad looks to be miles ahead of last year's version in outside shooting and ball movement, the two key offensive areas in which the champs struggled in early 2010.
I must admit to being pleasantly surprised that the Lakers made it through three games undefeated. An opening night victory against the Houston Rockets which required late game heroics from newcomer Steve Blake, and a road win against the Phoenix Suns, which saw L.A. do just enough to keep the Suns at arms length all night long, show that the Lakers are already in mid-season form. 100-percent effort won't make many appearances at Staples Center during the regular season, and I personally guarantee the Lakers will go through a slide that will lose them control of this prestigious spot in the power rankings at least once this season, but until then, these guys will still beat a majority of the association without red-lining, especially since they've gotten more adept at winning lazy.
This week, the Lakers have three home games, against Memphis, Toronto, and Portland, with a road game mixed in Wednesday night at Sacramento.
For more information, be sure to read the SB Nation blog Silver Screen and Roll.