Through four games, the new-look Los Angeles Lakers continue proving they could make some noise in the Western Conference playoffs.
When the Los Angeles Lakers didn’t come away with Kyrie Irving or any other “big name” at the NBA Trade Deadline, there was some hesitation and pushback surrounding the moves they made to improve the roster.
After all, Malik Beasley, Jarred Vanderbilt, D’Angelo Russell, Davon Reed, and Mo Bamba don’t exactly inject the same amount of excitement in a fan base that a Kyrie (from a pure basketball standpoint) or Kevin Durant would’ve.
But at least through four games since the NBA Trade Deadline, the Lakers look completely revitalized. The team is 4-1 since their trade deadline moves. Perhaps more importantly, they look like a completely different team than they did before the NBA Trade Deadline. I would even go on to say that this is a team that has the look of one that could potentially play a huge spoiler role in the playoffs.
If the Lakers continue to improve as a unit and if they can remain relatively healthy for the duration of the rest of the season (and you have to keep an eye on LeBron’s foot), this is a team that could make some noise in the Western Conference playoffs.
In the four games since the deadline, it finally feels (and looks) as if LeBron and Anthony Davis finally have enough help around them that their superb performances won’t go in vain. The trio of Russell, Vanderbilt, and Beasley are averaging a combined 36 points, 15 rebounds, and nine assists on solid shooting percentages. Both Russell and Beasley are shooting above 35 percent from 3 in their four games.
For a team that struggled with production from its supporting cast, the team’s additions at the trade deadline have proven to be a big difference-maker. Just looking at the team’s 27-point comeback against the Dallas Mavericks on Sunday, you can see why there is a sudden optimism that wasn’t there before regarding the Lakers.
Is a 27-point comeback something that will ever be replicated by the Lakers? Probably not. That’s one for the team’s history books, but the fact that this team has the potential is something they could feel good about heading the final stretch of the season.
Despite winning four of their last five and three in a row, the Lakers are still sitting in 12 place in the West standings. However, they are just three games out of the fifth seed and 3.5 games back of the fourth seed.
One other thing to keep in mind – the Lakers have the fifth easiest remaining schedule in the NBA. If they can really begin clicking as a team, there’s a chance that Los Angeles could make up some big ground over the next few weeks, leading into the playoffs.
The big question is how much noise can this team possibly make in the postseason (assuming they get there). That still remains left to be answered but if this team is healthy and their supporting cast continues to play at a high level, I’m not sure there’s any top seed that is going to want to face this team in a seven-game series.
All of a sudden, there’s excitement in Los Angeles. The Lakers have a pep in their step. And, perhaps most importantly, some new-found life.