Author: Jake Rabbanian
I remember the glory days like they were yesterday. It was 2010, and the Los Angeles Lakers had clinched the first seed in the Western Conference and went on to defeat the Orlando Magic in the 2010 NBA Finals. Players such as Kobe, Pau Gasol, D-Fish, Andrew Bynum, and Ron Artest led the Lakers to a triumphant year. After years of losing most of their talent, the Lakers had gone through an incredibly tough rebuild period. Once Phil Jackson had decided to retire from being Head Coach for the Lakers, the team had fallen apart which caused the Lakers to miss out on the playoffs for several years. As I spent years watching the Lakers suffer during their rebuilding the team period, I always remembered how the Los Angeles Lakers have a tremendous dynasty and that they will bounce back. And after several years, that’s exactly what happened. :)
This past Monday, the Los Angeles Lakers officially clinched the number one seed after a victory against the Utah Jazz. Anthony Davis had led the Lakers scoring 42 points and snagging 12 boards. Even though the Lakers had clinched the first seed in the Western Conference, I am worried about what the future holds for the franchise. Don’t get me wrong, I am beyond ecstatic that the Lakers have finally clinched the first seed, but I am uncertain how they will perform during the playoffs. If there’s one word I can use to describe how the Lakers have been playing in the bubble I would choose the word, sloppy. The Lakers first game in the bubble was against the Los Angeles Clippers who did not have Lou Will or Montrezl Harrell. Even though the Lakers pulled off a victory by only two points, I believe that they clearly shouldn’t have won that game. Anthony Davis had led the Lakers scoring 34 points that game, but if we throw in Lou Will and Trez, the Lakers are not taking that win. Other than the game against the Clippers, the Lakers have lost to the Toronto Raptors and Oklahoma City Thunder. “Bubble Lakers” so far have not impressed me and it makes me question their future.
Not only are the Lakers not playing their best basketball, but there are certain players on the team who need to step up. The top player that is not playing well would be shooting guard, Danny Green. I’ll say it again SHOOTING GUARD, Danny Green. So far Green is just not looking good on the court, and I think he is the number one player on the Lakers who needs to step up. Green has been shooting absolute bricks every game so far; his worst game was easily against the Toronto Raptors where he went 0-7 from the field and 0-6 from three-pointers. The second player that I believe will truly become a deciding factor for the Lakers winning a championship would be small forward, Kyle Kuzma. I like Kuzma, he’s young, can shoot the ball, and is a pretty versatile player, but the biggest issue Kuz faces is that he tries to do too much. For instance, Kuzma is the type of guy to grab a defensive rebound, go coast-to-coast and throw up a horrible shot just because he wants to do everything. Kyle Kuzma needs to understand that he is not that player like Lebron James who is dominant in every aspect of the court. The final player that needs to perform better and I think will be Lebron James. James has been playing okay in the bubble, but the man is 35 years old and nearly had an MVP caliber season.
It’ll be interesting and fascinating to watch the playoffs. In my opinion, the three teams that will take home the trophy would be the Lakers, Clippers, and Bucks. The Lakers need to dig deep and hopefully secure a championship this year.