The LeBron James-led LA Lakers are arguably the most divisive team in the NBA this season. While there are those, including numerous Lakers fans, who think they are doomed, there are also hordes who believe the Purple and Gold can still win it all. Some of those who still see hope for the Lakers, ironically enough, are non-Laker fans, but just know their basketball.
In the second episode of the KG Certified show, Hall-of-Famer Kevin Garnett and Sixth Man of the Year extraordinaire Jamal Crawford discussed the Lakers' chances this season. Despite the seemingly unending drama and a myriad of issues to fix, the two legends were united in their belief that the Lakers' title contention is not over.
Here’s why Crawford found enough reasons LeBron James and crew can still be bona fide championship contenders:
“First off, LeBron can control a series. You got your coach and he's a different chess player. He's the ultimate chess player so he can control your series. He'll see you enough. He’ll know exactly where you are, where the help’s coming from. He's gonna gravitationally pull everybody else. So you just gotta make shots, because he's the focus. So I think with him, Melo, Russ in a series, they can really lock-in.”
KG and Crawford are confident that a veteran unit like the LA Lakers can be a different beast in a seven-game series. More importantly, the purple and gold team employs arguably the best postseason performer in NBA history. LeBron James can make all the difference the team needs in a long series.
For that to happen, LeBron James and the Lakers will have to fix their most pressing issues and stay healthy. Anthony Davis would also have to play a major part in getting back into the postseason. It doesn’t matter how they get there as long as they get to the playoffs.
“They have pieces, but it’s them getting there. If they get there, they can be problems. They can be tough to deal with. AD, if he’s healthy if he’s rolling, engaged and all that stuff.”
The LA Lakers currently sit in 9th place in the Western Conference and should at least be a shoo-in for the play-in tournament. As long as the Big 3 is available, the Lakers will always have a more than decent chance of advancing.
Can LeBron James and the LA Lakers finally put it together?
LeBron James has been playing out of his mind all season long. But in the last two games, Anthony Davis and Russell Westbrook have shown that they too can still dominate a game. Davis, in just his second game after a knee injury, reminded everyone of his superstar talents against Joel Embiid and the Philadelphia 76ers. Despite the loss, Laker Nation was buzzing with excitement following the big man’s unexpected performance.
Without Anthony Davis and LeBron James in the lineup, it was Russell Westbrook’s turn to dazzle the NBA. The triple-double king played his best game of the season against the Charlotte Hornets. Westbrook dragged the heavily-undermanned Lakers into a big comeback against the Hornets, before falling short in the last few seconds.
Westbrook scored 16 of his game-high 35 points in the fourth quarter and provided the spark that the LA Lakers have not seen from him this season. The Big 3’s individual brilliance is firmly established. It’s how they mesh together that will determine their playoff fate.