Kentavious Caldwell-Pope says 2020 Lakers were better than current team

Peter Dewey
3 Min Read

Former Los Angeles Lakers guard and current Denver Nuggets starter Kentavious Caldwell-Pope believes that the 2019-20 Lakers team that won the NBA Finals was better than the 2022-23 season’s team.

“Ooooh, I’m going with us,” Caldwell-Pope said when asked which team is better. “For sure.”

Caldwell-Pope and the Nuggets are currently matched up with the Lakers in the Western Conference Finals. Los Angeles has made a Cinderella run in the Western Conference after earning the No. 7 seed.

Meanwhile, Denver is the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference and has home-court advantage for this series.

It’s not a surprise that Caldwell-Pope thinks the 2019-20 Lakers were better, as that team rolled through the Western Conference, winning the first round, second round and conference finals in just five games each.

That season, Los Angeles faced Denver in the Western Conference Finals in the NBA’s Orlando, Fla. bubble. The Lakers went on to beat the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals in six games.

Now, the former first-round pick is on the other side of this matchup, hoping to lead Denver to its first NBA title in franchise history.

The veteran guard came up big against his former team in Game 1 of this season’s series. Caldwell-Pope scored 21 points on 9-of-17 shooting (3-of-8 from beyond the arc) and added two rebounds, three assists, two steals and a block for Denver in its Game 1 win.

The Nuggets, who are 9-3 in the playoffs this season, are now a perfect 7-0 when they play at Ball Arena in the postseason.

The Lakers are still very talented this season, featuring the likes of LeBron James, Anthony Daivs, D’Angelo Russell, Austin Reaves and others. However, Caldwell-Pope could help put to bed any comparison to the 2019-20 team if Denver wins this series.

The only way the current Lakers could surpass the 2019-20 squad is if they came away with an NBA title this season.

There is still plenty of time for Los Angeles to do that, and the team showed some fight at the end of Game 1, erasing a major deficit to eventually lose by just six points. If the Lakers can steal Game 2 in Denver, they’ll be in a good spot to upset the Nuggets.

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Peter is a graduate of Quinnipiac University where he covered the MAAC and college basketball for three years. He has worked for NBC Sports, the Connecticut Sun and the Meriden Record-Journal covering basketball and other major sports. Follow him on Twitter @peterdewey2.