Heading into this season, the Lakers were one of, if not the most intriguing team to watch for. Would their young core mesh well with LeBron James? Could they mask their lack of shooting with great finishing around the rim? Could players like Lance Stephenson, Rajon Rondo, and JaVale McGee mentor a young core? Thus far, the answer to most of these questions (I’m not sure about the mentoring situation) has been no.
Their young core in Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma, Brandon Ingram, and Josh Hart have played streaky at times and it doesn’t help they are now playing under the microscope of the entire (NBA) world with LeBron on their team. The defense has been terrible outside of Ball. Even LeBron is checked out on defense most of the time. Currently, the Lakers rank 23rd in points allowed per game. However, this lackluster defense could be masked with some great offense. The only problem is, the Lakers are not a great offensive team. Los Angeles is about the middle of the road in just about every offensive statistic. But they are 10th in points per game which I suppose is slightly above average. Anyway, as you can see, the Lakers are probably a below average team right now. But accounting for how good LeBron is when he wants to be, I think that is enough to bring them to average or maybe slightly above. And the first round is usually where those teams reside in.
Take tonight as an example: The Lakers lost to a good Nuggets team by 32 points. A Nuggets team that will likely make a second-round appearance and if they’re extremely lucky, the conference finals. If Los Angeles can’t even stay competitive against them, there is a very small chance they can do any sort of serious damage in the postseason.
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Grizzlies vs. Raptors
The final score of this game didn’t tell me as much as the game itself. Although they lost, The Grizzlies are a team with an identity. They know their game and they know their roles. However, I don’t want to get too in-depth because this will likely be an article by itself. Anyway, the Raptors are also a very good team. If the playoffs were to start today, I would expect Toronto to cruise into the Finals with not much resistance. But obviously, the playoffs are nowhere near close to starting and Boston still has plenty of time to figure their issues out.
Last Night’s Scores
Raptors- 122, Grizzlies- 114
Knicks- 108, Pistons- 115
Hawks- 115, Heat- 113
Lakers- 85, Nuggets- 117
Pacers- 109, Suns- 104
Hawks @ Hornets (Prediction: Hawks win)
Knicks @ 76ers (Prediction: 76ers win)
Jazz @ Nets (Prediction: Jazz win)
Mavericks @ Rockets (Prediction: Rockets win)
Bulls @ Bucks (Prediction: Bucks win)
Spurs @ Timberwolves (Prediction: Timberwolves win)
Wizards @ Pelicans (Prediction: Pelicans win)
Cavaliers @ Thunder (Prediction: Thunder win)
Magic @ Trail Blazers (Prediction: Blazers win)
Suns @ Clippers (Prediction: Clippers win)