Over the last four games, the Lakers did not impress. We must ask the question, what has to change? Does anything need to change? We will discuss it all right here.
The Lakers went 1-3 over this last stretch. With one game left in bubble play against the Sacramento Kings, the Lakers are currently 3-4, looking to end the eight game stretch with a 4-4 record. This is not what was expected of our Lakers, however, they did clinch the number seed going into playoff play.
LA dropped games recently to the Oklahoma City Thunder (105-86), Houston Rockets (113-97), and Indiana Pacers (116-111). They won their most recent matchup against the Denver Nuggets (124-121).
The best possible news we can gather from this four game stretch is the fact that the Lakers have already clinched the number one playoff seed. What better news than that? With the playoff race for the eighth seed underway between the Memphis Grizzlies, Portland Trailblazers, San Antonio Spurs, and Phoenix Suns, the Blazers pose the biggest threat to LA. Damian Lillard is HOT right now and an end to that heat wave isn’t in sight.
The offensive and defensive play of Kyle Kuzma has been nothing short of incredible. He’s been confident and he’s been knocking down shots, including a game winning three against the Nuggets. Against the Rockets, Kuzma ended with 21 points along with 2 steals and 2 blocks. Against the Pacers, he had 3 steals and a block and finally, against the Nuggets, he had 25 points, 6 rebounds, and 2 steals.
LeBron James is finally starting to look back to his dominate self, averaging 26.3 points, 7.7 assists, and 6.7 rebounds over three games. James also caught fire from deep in the Lakers last game against the Nuggets, firing in five triples. When LeBron’s knocking down threes like that, nobody can stop him.
We saw some weaknesses out of Anthony Davis over the last few games. One of the major weaknesses we noticed was the fact that he likes to shoot, even when his shots aren’t falling. Davis went 0-8 from deep through three games (he didn’t attempt a three one game). AD plays best when he’s at center. That’s what the Lakers need from him. They need him to play great D in a post spot and grab rebounds. He needs to be a sensational two-way threat in order for the Lakers to hang another banner in Staples Center.
The Lakers are about to enter the playoffs in a very inconsistent rhythm. We didn’t see the domination we expected to in this bubble play, but maybe they weren’t trying to dominate. Maybe they wanted just enough to lock in the first seed and save their big play for the playoffs, beginning on August 17th.
We expect the Lakers to end bubble season with a record of 8-8 and play the Portland Trailblazers in the first round of the playoffs. Expect to see more Anthony Davis running center. We also expect to see Kuzma get more looks as a starter and the third option as his confidence continues to rise.
To answer the questions at the start of the article, yes, there needs to be a change. The Lakers need to start playing with a sense of urgency and adjust to what has been fitting best. This being starting Kyle Kuzma and running Davis at center. We are confident there will be a banner raised in Staples Center this year, and no, it won’t be for the other LA team.
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