The Los Angeles Lakers started the season winning 24 out of their 27 games—one their best starts in franchise history
By Nicole Ganglani | Photo from Lakers/Twitter
With 27 games into the season, it’s fair to say that the Los Angeles Lakers have never looked this dominant for so long. They’re currently tied with the Milkwaukee Bucks for the best record in the league and are on top of the western conference with a record of 24-3. It’s as if they have come full circle after a disastrous season last year. If you asked what changed, well of course there’s the addition of Anthony Davis—who can do practically anything on the court. Then there’s the new coaching staff, lethal shooters, and more veterans like Danny Green and Dwight Howard on the team.
The thing with all these key additions is that they take time to blend in all together. But the Lakers have somehow worked together (thanks to Lebron James and Anthony Davis’s superior leadership) to let everything flow smoothly. The purple and gold have only lost to three title contenders this season: the Los Angeles Clippers, Toronto Raptors, and the Dallas Mavericks. Their longest winning streak this season is 10 straight games and as of writing, they are currently on a 14-game road winning streak. That’s by far the most impressive since 1971-1972 Lakers who won the championship.
The Lakers are looking very much like a championship caliber team early in the season. They’re dubbed as one of, if not the best defensive teams in the league and their offense does justice to that, too. It’s not hard to figure out why this is so, especially when the current best basketball player in the game and the defensive player of the year candidate are on the same team. Aside from James and Davis, here’s what’s most impressive about the Lakers so far:
The Roster Around AD and LBJ
No one deserves more credit than Lakers’ general manager Rob Pelinka. Before the season started, there were speculations about the players around David and James and if they could at least help this team be a threat to everyone in the league. But with 27 games in, the supporting cast has been nothing but terrific. Alex Caruso has been a huge factor off the bench, Dwight Howard’s redemption year has been everything the Lakers wanted, and scorers like Danny Green, Kyle Kuzma, and Kentavious Carldwell-Pope have had their moments carrying the team. This Lakers roster is arguably the greatest one since 2011.
Avery x AD x KCP
— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) December 15, 2019
Again, this boils down to how Pelinka brought the group together. The general manager made sure that every single free agent signed this year would work with James and Davis.
Offense and Defense are Clicking
This could be the impact of head coach Frank Vogel and the system that he’s installed in the team. While the system revolves around Davis and James, a whole lot of opportunities are also given to the supporting cast. The best part about the Lakers is that when they’re having a good shooting night, they’re almost unstoppable. But if their shooting is off, their defense always manages to set the pace of the team. Davis and James have also become the first teammates in NBA history to score 400+ points in their team’s first 15 road games of the season. That stat alone just goes to show how much skill these two superstars bring to the team—how much more when JaValle McGee prevails inside? Or when Avery Bradley and Cardwell Pope are making their shots? Then there’s also Green and Kuzma. Ultimately, this team has enough weapons to get their offense and defense flowing into every game.
I kissed my phone. pic.twitter.com/s8Jn7LmcPm
— Dork Nowitzki (@GotEm_Coach) November 4, 2019
If you watch this video closely, every single player is out hustling on defense. That’s championship basketball at its finest. The key part here is that this defense helps the team create their offense which helps them outperform their opponents.
— SLAM (@SLAMonline) November 30, 2019
Team Chemistry is On Point
This current roster’s chemistry has been off the charts. It helped that the first few games of the Lakers were against teams below .500 because this gave them the opportunity to build a winning culture and momentum early in the season. James is not only an outstanding player but also a great a team captain. It’s evident in how he treats his teammates like brothers, how he and Davis wait for each other after every post-game interview, and the high fives and warm embraces they exchange every game.
This team is a very tight knit group and the best part about it all is that they can coach and correct each other’s mistakes. Normally, it takes a lot of courage to correct superstars like James in the team but this current roster has gotten past that. It seems that they’re very open with each other and are working towards one goal that is the NBA championship.
Are the Lakers the Real Deal?
The Lakers have proven that they’re definitely a championship contender, but that doesn’t mean they’re the best in the league. The purple and gold still have to show they can at least defeat their Staple Center neighbourhoods, specifically the Clippers, the current eastern conference best Bucks, and defending champions Toronto Raptors. There are also a number of teams that are on top of their game, like the Mavericks, Denver Nuggets, Houston Rockets, Boston Celtics, and more. It won’t be long until the Lakers will face all these teams, but right now, it’s fair to say Los Angeles is capable of defeating them all and claim the throne once again.
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