The Lakers seem to have made all the right calls in the offseason as the 2019-2020 season looks to be something special. Last season, LeBron James’ injury struggles curtailed any run of form. This season, the King is back and he is dominating the NBA once again. He has now scored a triple double against all 30 NBA teams, and looks in championship winning mood.
The Lakers form this season is not just linked to James. Lakers head coach Frank Vogel is known for creating strong defensive teams, and this season he’s already transformed the Lakers into one of the best defensive team in the NBA. Together with the coaching staff, Vogel has created a tangible chemistry amongst the Lakers roster.
The Lakers recruitment has also been excellent. The arrival of All-Star Anthony Davis has proved to be the missing cog in the Lakers roster. He is currently the Lakers leading scorer, as well as leading the league in blocks per game. Dwight Howard’s contentious return to the Lakers has also been a masterstroke. He seems to be focussed on the team and is adding tremendous experience and value in defense.
There is certainly reason for optimism amongst Lakers fans. The current six year playoff drought, the longest in the franchise’s history, looks set to end this season. They are the top team in the NBA power rankings, and don’t look to be slowing down any time soon. The Lakers are certainly back to their winning ways.
One of the standout achievements for Vogel so far in his Laker tenure is how they have rapidly improved defensively. By the end of the 2018-2019 season, the Lakers had the 21st best defense in the league in terms of points allowed. This season, they are battling it out for the top spot with the Jazz.
A key contributor to their defensive improvements has been Anthony Davis. He is currently leading the league in blocks. As a team, the Davis-inspired Lakers are also currently at the top of the league in terms of blocks per team.
Much was made of Davis’ trade from the Pelicans. Now that the dust has settled, you can see the value he brings to the Lakers roster. Davis joins an impressive list of All-Defensive players. Howard, Green, Bradley and Rondo all have the ability to keep teams at bay. Defense could be an all-important factor when grinding out wins in the playoffs.
At the moment, Davis looks on course to be a nominee for NBA Defensive Player of the Year. What makes him so dangerous is his scoring ability on the other end of the court.
LeBron James and Anthony Davis are too players you would dread playing against individually as opposition, let alone in the same team. James has shown that he wants to set up Davis where possible. James is currently leading the NBA stats for assists, while posting consistent 25 point games.
Davis is making the passes count. Against the Thunder he posted 34 points and the passing between Davis and James has looked seasons in the making. They are certainly reading each other well, which only bodes well for the Lakers. If Davis’ shoulders don’t pose too much of a concern, this could become a legendary partnership.
James has looked mercurial at times this season. His injuries last season hampered the Lakers’ rhythm, and even this season he has proved how important he is on the court. James’ impact when on the court is second only to the Celtic’s Jason Tatum. When he’s on the court the Lakers have outscored their opponents by over 100 points, but when he’s off, the Lakers have been outscored.
As a team, the Lakers offense has been topping the points differential standings and in the top three for field goal percentage. They have shown the ability to score from all over the court. Perhaps three-pointers are shots that they could improve on. Already they have more options for three pointers with Green and Davis on the court. All in all, the Lakers have a pretty intimidating offense.
Lakers fans will be very optimistic about this season. As things stand, they look to be heirs to the throne this season. If they can manage to go all the way, they would tie the Celtics for most overall NBA championships (17). With the Celtics only having one NBA since the late 80s, many Lakers fans will feel it well deserved to get championship 17.
The 80’s brought the Showtime era to the Lakers, and the Lakers have been a dominating force ever since. Davis and James , based on their early season form, look set to bring the Showtime to the Staples Center.