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#pounditWednesday, January 19, 2022

Iman Shumpert thinks 2016 Cavs would easily beat 2020 Lakers

Iman Shumpert

Iman Shumpert thinks that LeBron James’ last championship team is clearly superior to his new one.

The ex-NBA guard appeared this week on Complex’s “Load Management.” During the episode, Shumpert agreed with a co-host’s claim that the 2016 Cleveland Cavaliers would beat the 2020 Los Angeles Lakers in five games.

“For sure, you f–king serious?” replied Shumpert.

The 30-year-old also said that Timofey Mozgov could guard Anthony Davis and noted that the 2016 Cavs had “the real JR Smith.”

It is definitely an interesting hypothetical. Mozgov’s role in Cleveland was diminished by 2016, especially against the small-ball Golden State Warriors. That would leave Kevin Love (a sweet-shooting big man who could give the Lakers trouble like Kelly Olynyk did in the Finals) and Tristan Thompson, a strong rebounder. But both would likely be undersized and overpowered by the Lakers’ Davis-led frontline.

Elsewhere, Kyrie Irving would be a handful for the Lakers. But they did find success slowing dynamic scoring guards like Damian Lillard, James Harden, and Jamal Murray in this season’s playoffs. Then there is obviously LeBron James, who was more athletic in 2016 but probably had a better IQ in 2020.

Shumpert was part of the 2016 Cavs, so there is, of course, some inherent bias. But this year’s Lakers recently broke one record set by that Cavs team. Thus, Shumpert may feel a need to command respect for his 2016 squad.

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