Lakers coach downplays team's title chances despite big offseason moves

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The reloaded Los Angeles Lakers are going to be among the favorites to win the NBA championship during the 2021-20 season, but one assistant coach isn’t making the team a lock just yet.

The Lakers are expected to have a healthy LeBron James and Anthony Davis along with the signing of veterans Carmelo Anthony and Dwight Howard and the big trade for Russell Westbrook.

Phil Handy, who is an assistant for the Lakers and was one for the Cleveland Cavaliers and Toronto Raptors, told SiriusXM NBA Radio on Sunday the team still has work to do to compete for a championship.

“Paper doesn’t win championships for us. Those names that are on that paper, are some phenomenal names. … We gotta do our work and make sure we gel. Do we fit? These guys, they gotta figure out ways to play with each other and sacrifice, and let their names take over,” Handy said. 

“You know, you look at that piece of paper and say, Lakers are loaded, automatic championship. Nah man, we got a lot of work to do in terms of just gelling, finding our rhythm and being able to be cohesive as a unit.”

The Lakers won the title in the coronavirus-impacted shortened season. The team managed to barely get into the playoffs, needing to beat the Golden State Warriors in a play-in game. 

Los Angeles was eventually ousted by the conference champion Phoenix Suns.

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