Could this NBA team make a surprise push in the NBA playoffs?
Ever since the Russell Westbrook experiment, the Lakers have been extremely underwhelming. It was clear that Russell Westbrook was not a fit with the Lakers. After Los Angeles had a very productive trade deadline, their team significantly improved. Could the Los Angeles Lakers make a finals push this season?
Depends On The Health Of Anthony Davis
While every NBA team needs health to make a championship push, it is even more true for Los Angeles. The Lakers can go from a bottom team to a contender depending on Anthony Davis’ play. Davis is the Lakers’ best defender and their only dominant paint presence. Also, he’s their secondary scorer. Davis has played in 36 games in 2020 and 40 games in 2021, and he’s already missed time this season. When Anthony Davis is healthy he’s a top 15 player in the NBA.
While Anthony Davis isn’t the Lakers’ best player, he may be their more important. How good the Lakers are depended on Anthony Davis, and Los Angeles needs him to consistently average over 25 points and double-digit rebounds. Davis has numerous games where he looks passive and doesn’t look to create his shot, and those games are the games where the Lakers lose. Davis has to look for his shot and be aggressive, along with Lebron James they are one of the elite duos in the NBA, and with adequate depth, that team would be a nightmare matchup in the NBA playoffs.
Role Players Need To Step Up
The Lakers have enough talent to make a playoff push, but other role players will need to step up. Lebron James has been consistently great ever since he joined the Lakers. Lebron has shown no sign of regressions averaging 30 points at 38 years old. Players other than Lebron James will need to step up for the Lakers to make a championship push. Lebron in the NBA playoffs is one of the best, and Anthony Davis has been great in the playoffs too.
Other pieces like D’Angelo Russell, Malik Beasley, and Dennis Schroder will need to produce. Especially Russell. D’Angelo Russell is the third scoring punch the Lakers needed. Russell is a very efficient three-point shooter hitting 39% from three, and averaging six assists. Malik Beasley will need to step up from three-point range, as playing with talents like Lebron James and Anthony Davis will generate open looks. Schroder needs to provide another scoring punch off the bench.
After the trade deadline, the Lakers do have enough pieces to make a deep playoff run in the NBA playoffs, but it is all about putting it together. Anthony Davis will need to be the consistent elite scorer that the Lakers hoped he would be when they first got him. A healthy engaged Anthony Davis is very difficult to stop. Along with Anthony Davis and Lebron James, having a good scorer in Russell and having good shooting and a scoring punch off the bench would make the Lakers very difficult to beat.
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