NBA First Half Awards
With the season just over halfway done, let's look at the major awards. Feel free to disagree but it's James Hardens world right now and we're just living in it.
Everybody is excited about the new-look Los Angeles Lakers. They acquired the best player in the world, LeBron James and that has improved the team and makes them front runners to make a deep playoff run. How far can this team go?
James was not the only new player added to the roster. The Lakers also acquired Rajan Rondo, Lance Stephenson, Javale McGee and Michael Beasley. That is a lot of rings between the new players. Experience is a key factor in making a deep playoff run and the Lakers have more than enough.
Nobody knows what to expect from the new Lakers. Will they shoot a lot of threes or play more in the most. James is only getting older and while he hasn’t slowed down, he will want to conserve himself so he can keep himself in peak form for a few more years.
Yes, the Lakers have the clock working against them. That may rush them towards acquiring another superstar during the season if they want to make the deep run they think they can next year. James has made it to eight straight NBA Finals. He will try to carry the Lakers to another one but this may be his most difficult task yet because he is in the much more competitive Western Conference.
In the West, the fight for a playoff spot is demanding because there are about 10 teams that are playoff contenders. It usually comes down to the last game of the season to determine the the playoff match-ups. Can James keep the Lakers in the playoff mix?
That will have to be seen. Playing the Golden State Warriors and the Houston Rockets eight times a year will be grueling and I don’t expect the Lakers to win those match-ups. However, James tends to stay in games against the better teams because the opposing teams can’t stop James.
Los Angeles has the potential to make a deep run because you don’t underestimate James. That will depend on what seed the Lakers have come playoff times. If they have to play the Warriors or Rockets, they will have an early exit. If the Lakers can somehow get the fourth or fifth seed, they can make a deep run.
Getting a top four seed means that your team has to have been good to achieve that. But it doesn’t always work that way. The Portland Trailblazers were swept last year in the playoffs by the New Orleans Pelicans even though they were the 3rd seed. Home court is important but defense is more important because getting stops against teams that are known to score a lot can determine the outcome of the game.
Will the lakers play defense or will they be bad at it? Last year, the Lakers showed potential on the defensive end. If they can capitalize on that and improve on it, they may be able to make the playoffs and become a dominant powerhouse in the West.
Anything is possible with LeBron James on your roster. Next year is going to be fun to watch because we will get to see James play the better teams in the NBA more often. And if you like basketball, seeing these match-ups is why we fell in love with the NBA in the first place.