The LA Lakers are back in title contention after a number of years from being out of it. Everyone hoped last season with James coming to the city of stars that they already got what they needed. But failing to qualify for the playoffs meant that they needed another season of development.
It usually takes a year for King James to get used to a new situation and it seems that it was true this time around. At 35 years of age, LeBron is once again playing the best basketball of his career and MVP chants are in the air.
The Lakers also added a key piece in Anthony Davis who greatly helped James in turning things around for the franchise.
The playoffs are a month away and the LA Lakers are sitting comfortably on top of the Western Conference. But what are the weaknesses that they have to address?
Improved Back Court
The front-court has clicked superbly for the Lakers this season with both James and Davis providing the bulk of the offense. They have even gotten great games out of McGee and Howard. But the part that seems to be not clicking is the back-court.
The Lakers can’t expect James to do both the scoring and ball-handling in the playoffs. They have to start getting some production and quality minutes from their guards. Rondo has not been a good option but they should start to expect more from Bradley and Danny Green, who should also provide better shooting.
More Scoring from the Bench
With two legitimate stars like LeBron James and Anthony Davis on the roster, it is no wonder why the Lakers have no third option in their midst. Even though the power duo is doing a pretty good job both on offense and defense, the bench has to start producing more.
Guys like Avery Bradley, Kentavius Caldwell-Pope and even Alex Caruso have shown flashes from time to time. But more is needed. Who everybody is looking at is Kyle Kuzma, who is projected on being the third scoring option on the team. He is the one that should advance his playing abilities come playoffs.
Newcomers Markieff Morris and Dion Waiters have been brought on for that reason. While Morris is still not been able to show any production, everyone is hoping that Waiters can provide long-range shooting that he was known for in Miami.
The Lakers have clicked defensively in various parameters of the game. Particularly in the paint where they have dominant rim protectors in Davis, Howard, and McGee. And let’s not forget James with his chase-down blocks and overall hustle. However, there is one aspect of the defense that the Lakers have a lot of problems with – transition defense.
The Lakers are one of the worst teams in the league when it comes to allowing fast-break points. This was the most imminent in their loss against the Toronto Raptors where they conceded 32 fast-break points in the entire game. The team needs to start showing some hustle if they are to compete. Improved 3-point shooting has been key in preventing fast-paced points. As long as the guards surrounding LeBron start shooing better and benefiting from his passes the Lakers will be good to go.