Lakers Still Title Contenders, But Resurgent Spurs, Revamped East Will Keep L.A. From Three-Peat

Lakers Still Title Contenders, But Resurgent Spurs, Revamped East Will Keep L.A. From Three-Peat Sometimes, it's more of a numbers thing than anything else. When it comes to the Lakers' chances of winning a third consecutive NBA championship, that's certainly the case.

The Lakers have as good a chance as any to make it a three-peat this season, but the odds are stacked against them.

For starters, there are too many good teams vying for Larry O'Brien trophy, a few that could provide problems for the Lakers. The first team that comes to mind would be the Spurs. Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili, Tony Parker and the rest of the San Antonio squad have emerged as an early title favorite, to the surprise of some. They pose some matchup problems for L.A., and if the Spurs keep up their pace, they'll earn that coveted No. 1 seed, earning them homecourt advantage.

If the Lakers are to get through the Spurs, though, things will be just as tough in the Finals, perhaps even tougher. The Celtics — the last team to beat the Lakers in the Finals — will get their initial shot at revenge in the wake of the 2010 NBA Finals on Sunday. Of course, the Lakers were able to come from behind to clinch the repeat last season, but not after the Celtics lost center Kendrick Perkins to an untimely knee injury in Game 6.

While they've been up-and-down for much of the season, the Miami Heat's title chances are still as good as any other team's. If they can stay healthy and achieve some consistency, they could peak at the right time. Watch out for the Bulls, too. If they were to match up with the Lakers, they'd have a better chance than most might think. Derrick Rose is arguably the game's best point guard. Los Angeles is building a deserved reputation for struggling against the game's elite point guards.

The biggest reason the Lakers won't three-peat, though, could be their age. Don't take my word for it, though, take that of NBA Hall of Famer and longtime Laker fixture Jerry West. The man for whom the NBA logo was designed after recently said that the window is closing fast on an aging Lakers team. And he's right.

The Lakers are certainly good enough to three-peat and they have Kobe Bryant to boot. They could win their third straight title. But don't count on it.

Will the Lakers three-peat? Share your thoughts below.