There is perhaps no team more polarizing in the playoffs this season than the Los Angeles Lakers. The Lakers saw their fortunes change seemingly overnight after a trade deadline for the ages. The Lakers went on to go 15-7 after the All-Star break, rising from the 13th seed to the 7th seed. With an overhauled roster and two solidified superstars, the Lakers could very well see themselves in contention for a title in June.

Health is wealth

Health is the name of the game for the Lakers, and it has been for the last season and a half. This is extremely pivotal for this season due to the supporting cast around Anthony Davis and LeBron James being the best it has been since the 2020 championship team. James and Davis have only played 55 and 56 games this season respectively, James in particular missed a chunk of time during a critical juncture in the season as the Lakers were still trying to gain chemistry with the new additions. Since coming back however, James has looked just as good as always averaging 25 points, 6.1 assists, and 8.1 rebounds a game in the six games he has played since returning from injury.

Chemistry

As touched on previously, the Lakers roster went through an overhaul at the trade deadline. Adding former All-Star guard D’Angelo Russell, defensive stall worth Jarred Vanderbilt, and 3-point specialist Malik Beasley. There were very limited opportunities for the new core to get adjusted to James and Davis as injuries kept guys like D’Angelo Russell out for a few games throughout the back end of the season. Though on court chemistry has only seen a smaller sample size, the team was still able to dig themselves out of a hole and secure a playoff spot. However, in the post season, there does need to be a level of chemistry that can put teams over the top. Looking at teams like the Boston Celtics, Golden State Warriors, and Milwaukee Bucks, their main pieces have been together for a number of seasons which has made them extremely successful in the post season.

What are the real chances?

In the past, it has been extremely hard to bet against LeBron James, even without the supporting cast. Now that James has a co-star who recently won Western Conference player of the month in Anthony Davis and one of the deepest rosters in the Association, it becomes even harder to bet against James. Looking at the field, there are a limited number of teams who can truly go out and beat this roster four out of seven times. This post-season for the Lakers will come down to health, chemistry, matchups, and maybe even a little bit of luck. With the west wide open, banner #18 could very well be in play for the city of angels, but the magic of the post-season is that spectators like us can simply sit back and watch the game of basketball played at its highest level. 

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