The current NBA season is on hold for now due to the coronavirus, but the Los Angeles Lakers are still on top of the Western Conference and Pacific Division. In a season that has seen the Golden State Warriors struggle, the Lakers have blossomed.
The Lakers have occupied the top spot since the early weeks of the season. Los Angeles has an impressive 49-14 win-loss record in what has been an incredible and fantastic season for them so far. The 16-time NBA Champions have been perhaps the second-best team behind the Milwaukee Bucks this season in the NBA. In Head Coach Frank Vogel’s first season in charge, the Lakers have run rough shot over most of their opponents this season with ease and have wowed fans with explosive, fast-paced and exhilarating displays on the court. The Lakers are also one of the favorites for the NBA title this season. The Los Angeles Lakers will be looking to secure a seventeenth title this season and a first in 10 years since winning their last title back in 2010. It is hard to bet against the Lakers to win the NBA title this season, considering the quality and depth of the team.
It is essential to take a look at some of the factors behind the Los Angeles Lakers’ successes this season.
The LeBron James-Anthony Davis Partnership
The signing of LeBron James last season created a sense of optimism amongst the Los Angeles Lakers team, who were hopeful that the arrival of one of the greatest players of all time could steer them to a title triumph and end their trophy duck. LeBron came with a big reputation as a serial winner. He was a three-time NBA Champion, four-time NBA MVP, three-time NBA Finals MVP, and a 15-time NBA All-Star before his move to the Los Angeles Lakers. He was the perfect signing, and the big star the Lakers needed to return to the top. However, the Lakers failed to make the playoffs for the sixth consecutive season after finishing 10th in the Western Conference with a 37-45 win-loss record. The disappointment of missing the playoffs cost Head Coach Luke Walton his job.
After last season, it became clear to see that LeBron could not carry the team on his shoulders alone. As a result, the Lakers needed to get LeBron a productive partner who could complement his style of play and form the best partnership upfront. In the summer trade, the Lakers and LeBron James identified Power Forward Anthony Davis as the ideal target. In turn, the Lakers traded the trio of Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, and Josh Hart to the Pelicans.
The decision to bring in Anthony Davis from the New Orleans Pelicans as the ideal partner for LeBron James has paid off this season. The 7-time NBA All-Star has not taken much longer to settle in his new surroundings and has already formed a formidable partnership with LeBron James this season. The two players have been the most influential in the team and have each produced staggering numbers this season.
LeBron James has averaged 25.7 points per game, 7.9 rebounds per game and 10.6 assists per game in 60 games. LeBron’s average assists per game figure are the highest by any player in the NBA this season. In total, LeBron James has recorded 1544 points, 473 rebounds, and 636 assists.
Anthony Davis has also averaged 26.7 points per game, 9.4 rebounds per game and 3.1 assists per game. In total, Davis has contributed 1467 points, 517 rebounds, 172 assists, and 134 blocks this season. Davis’ numbers for averaged points per game this season so far is an improvement on his averaged points per game last season (25.9).
These numbers prove how the partnership between the two players has been beneficial and impactful on each other’s game. It is fair to say the two get the best out of each other and the Lakers. The Lakers would not be in their current position without the two men who have carried the team all season.
Consistent Winning Runs
The primary strength of the Lakers team this season has been their ability to go on long winning runs. The Lakers have gone on multiple consecutive winning runs this season. After losing 112-102 at the Los Angeles Clippers in their first game of the season, the Lakers went on a 7-game winning run before losing to the Raptors. After the defeat to the Raptors, they then went ten consecutive games without a loss. They have also gone on 8, and 9 winning runs as well. The only blemish on their season so far was their four-game losing streak in the middle of December. The winning runs are a reflection of the mental toughness of the team and the ambition of the Lakers roster.
Impressive Away Record
The Lakers have lost fewer games on the road (6) in comparison to their losses at home. The Lakers have also claimed more victories from the 32 matches they have played away from home (26) as well. The Lakers have nine away games remaining when the season resumes and would be looking to extend that run.
Massive wins against some of this season’s top sides
This season, the Lakers have gotten the better of their fellow big sides. The Los Angeles Lakers own two victories over Utah Jazz in their two encounters. They have also beaten the likes of Miami Heat, Oklahoma City Thunder, Denver Nuggets, Houston Rockets, Boston Celtics and Milwaukee Bucks. These wins have been crucial and have tightened the Lakers’ firm grip on the top spot of both the Western Conference and Pacific Division.