The Los Angeles Lakers are still the team to beat in the NBA

Mar 2, 2021; Los Angeles, California, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (23) moves to the basket ahead of Phoenix Suns forward Dario Saric (20) during the second half at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 2, 2021; Los Angeles, California, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (23) moves to the basket ahead of Phoenix Suns forward Dario Saric (20) during the second half at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports /

I know there are so many out there that started doubting the Los Angeles Lakers when Anthony Davis went down. They are the same people that looked at them and saw that they had lost a few games in a row and had put them in the coffin, six feet deep.

Those people, that flip flop on their opinions such as Stephan A. Smith, who always seems to be blabbing his opinion no matter what, are all going to be sorry and eat their words, and retrieve their doubted feelings because the Lakers are still one of the deepest rosters in the NBA as well the team to beat.

Comparing the Los Angeles Lakers to the Western Conference:

In the West, we already know there are a few teams playing well. The Utah Jazz and the Phoenix Suns are looking quite good at the moment. The Los Angeles Clippers on the other hand haven’t played as well as everyone else thought they would this season. Even though they are currently the number four seed, much more was expected out of them.

Below them, are a few teams that are either on the bubble or who have been struggling to stay afloat all season. The Portland Trail Blazers aren’t scaring anyone. Ok, they have Damian Lillard but what else? CJ McCollum is great… when he plays (He has only appeared in 13 games this season).

I would have thought that the Denver Nuggets would have been much better this season. For it was last year that they seemed to be turning the corner. Not so much the case this year.

Ok, Nikola Jokic is playing well and they have a really good point guard in Jamal Murray, but they are in second place in their division, one game above Portland. The San Antonio Spurs and the Dallas Mavericks aren’t scaring anyone either, especially not the Los Angeles Lakers.

Comparing the Los Angeles Lakers to the Eastern Conference:

The East is sort of wide open, as always. In Brooklyn, the Nets have been playing rather well. They have their own big three in Durant, Harden, and Irving. That being said, how many games have the three of them all missed and when are they on the court all together at once?

Durant has missed 21 games. Irving has missed 11, and Harden has missed 14. They also lack depth from the bench.

Milwaukee is playing solid but let’s face it, that’s Giannis Antetokounmpo’s team. They do have a nice roster of talent but he is the main spark plug who seems to do everything.

The Philadelphia 76ers are playing great. However, we saw them break down in the playoffs last season so my question is, just how serious are they?

The Hawks, Knicks, and Celtics don’t seem to be going anywhere. Charlotte has improved this season, but I highly doubt they will challenge anyone for the crown. The Miami Heat has been struggling all year but seems to be going in the right direction but I wonder if it is somewhat too late?

The Los Angeles Lakers could possibly go into the playoffs as a possible second, third or fourth seed the way it looks right now. To be honest, I don’t think it would matter. If things go well, Anthony Davis, whom the Lakers have been keeping a strict eye on with his healing, will be back and it will be at the right time. I think we all can agree that we would rather have him back toward the end of the season where he is healed up and ready for more important matchups.

We also have yet to see the Lakers make some sort of a deal for another player. It could possibly happen as it would help bolster the roster, depending on who it is they add. Hopefully, it will be another big man who can defend around the basket.

The regular season is always important until it comes to an end and in that time, there will be teams with perhaps not the best record, but who are gearing up, hitting their stride, getting hot, or have experience. That’s where the Lakers have the advantage above all the others.

They were there last year and know what it is going to take to do it again. The key pieces in LeBron, Davis, Caruso, Caldwell-Pope, Kuzma, and Morris are there from last season. We know that when it comes down to it, LeBron James is much of the deciding factor in most games and as the season goes on, we shall see how much so many others are contributing such as Montrezl Harrell, Dennis Schroder, and Kyle Kuzma who has been playing his best basketball all season recently.

The Lakers are actually scoring a few fewer points than they did last year (113.4 last season, 111.6 this season). They are also giving up fewer points than they did last year (107.6 last season, 105.9 this season).

Their road record of 14-5 is the best in the league. The Lakers are sixth in NBA field goal percentage with 48.4 and are eighth place in rebounding, both of which are better than last season.

Kyle Kuzma has been the difference for the team during this tough time and if he continues to play the way he has been, it will only make things far better of course, especially when Anthony Davis comes back. Kuzma has been shown to not only score but to be a solid rebounder as well.  We all know we have been waiting for him to shine as he has all the talent in the world.

The second half of the season is off to a good start as the Los Angeles Lakers have won two in a row. They will face the Phoenix Suns, Los Angeles Clippers, and the Utah Jazz two times apiece with their upcoming schedule.

Everyone will have their eye’s on those dates. Even if they split each of those series and do it without Davis, it will be in their favor because it will show they are able to beat solid teams without one of their key pieces.

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There is that old and wonderful saying that goes, “If you want to be the man, you have to beat the man.” Well, the Lakers are the man, and they don’t seem to be willing to give up that title just anytime yet. I don’t care what records and stats say at the end of the regular season. Everything goes through the purple and gold in LA.