With the NBA Playoffs just around the corner, the first seeded Lakers are aiming for a title in their first playoff appearance since 2013.
Since the NBA restart, the Lakers have not been playing up to championship standards, with a lackluster 3-5 bubble record, and inconsistent play throughout all 8 games. If they are to get that elusive title, they’re going to need more than just Lebron and AD to carry them to a championship.
Let’s take a look into some key players the Lakers will be counting on this upcoming postseason.
Kuz has been a fan favorite ever since he entered the league a couple of years ago. With this being his first postseason appearance in his career, the Lakers will be counting on him to be that aggressive scorer we all know he can be. After Lebron and AD, Kuz is the 3rd highest scorer on the team with 12.8 points per game. In a deep playoff run, the team is going to need a reliable 3rd option. That man is Kyle Kuzma.
Good news for Laker fans is Kuz has been playing great so far in the bubble, averaging 15.4 points per game and shooting 45% from 3. With him having a ton of confidence since he hit the game-winning shot against the Denver Nuggets, we can look at him to continue that into the playoffs, and help lead the Lakers to a deep run.
One of the newest additions to the team will have a big role this upcoming postseason. Dion Waiters is a light out scorer that can get you buckets anywhere on the floor. People might have forgotten that he averaged 16 points per game in a season, twice in his career. He has also been one that has made big plays down the stretch and hit clutch shots when his team needed it. Aside from being a microwave scorer off the bench for the Lakers, Dion will need to be a reliable ball-handler as well with the absences of Rajon Rondo and Avery Bradley. He is an underrated playmaker that can drive to the basket, attract the defense, and dish it out to open teammates.
In the bubble, Dion has been a solid piece for the Lakers averaging 11.9 points to go along with 2.4 assists. Even if his shooting percentages haven’t been up to standard lately, look for him to be a go-to guy and someone who will get a lot of minutes down the stretch. If the Lakers are going to win a title, they will be needing Dion to be at his very best.
Danny Green has not played well in the bubble. He is supposed to be a reliable 3 and D player, but he has only been shooting 25% from 3 since the restart. That is a far cry from his 3 point shooting averages of 38% throughout the season, and his 40% 3 point shooting average for his career.
His shooting is an important piece to the puzzle because he opens the floor up for Lebron and AD to get to the basket, so hopefully, he will get his rhythm back right in time for the playoffs.
However, if there is one positive for Danny, it is his playoff experience. He has played in the postseason practically every season in his career, and he has played important roles for two championship runs with the Spurs and Raptors respectively. He has shown us before how he can be trusted in the postseason, knocking down big shots and playing excellent defense. Danny Green will play a huge role for the Lakers title hopes this season, so let’s see if he can help bring a title back to Los Angeles.
Featured Image: Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBA.com