To win NBA title, the Lakers need a third scorer behind LeBron and Anthony Davis

The Los Angeles Lakers have stumbled back towards the chasing pack in the Western Conference after making a dominant start to the 2019-20 NBA campaign. The Lakers were 24-3 in the middle of December, but have dropped eight games since to slip back towards their city rivals the Los Angeles Clippers in the second seed.

Frank Vogel’s men still top the Western Conference by a solid margin, although their margin for error has taken a hit. There will be concerns over whether LeBron James can continue to remain at the peak of his powers at the age of 35 down the stretch. The Lakers have relied on his brilliance to lift the team towards the number one seed, while Anthony Davis has also been outstanding.

LeBron, Davis Need More Help

The two players alone can carry the team towards the NBA Championship, which would the first since the franchise last lifted the crown in 2010. LeBron, Davis, and company are the leading contenders in the basketball betting odds to win the title, and it would be fitting for the Lakers to return to the summit of the sport in a year where they lost one of their greatest icons in Kobe Bryant. LeBron will be determined to triumph in Kobe’s memory and it will take something special to stop him and Davis going all the way.

It has been a stark contrast to the last campaign when the Lakers were well off the pace even with LeBron in the line-up. Luke Walton paid the price for a third-straight season without a playoff appearance – extending Los Angeles’ postseason drought to six years. Vogel has made an immediate impact, although he has been aided in his cause by the trade deal to acquire Davis from the New Orleans Pelicans. Few teams in the NBA can match the star power provided by those two elite players on the court with LeBron and Davis.

They’re the ultimate mismatch, both boasting points per game averages of over 25 this term. LeBron was doubled teamed a great deal last term, and although it did not greatly affect his statistics, there was no one else on the court to ease the pressure. Davis has been all that and more, living up to expectations and his production in terms of points has even surpassed his senior partner. LeBron’s assists have increased from 8.3 last season to 10.7 in the current campaign – a league high. As long as the duo remain on the court and operate at their peak then the Lakers will be on course for the NBA Finals.

Kuzma, Caldwell-Pope, or… Dion  Waiters

It’s not a surprise that there are whispers that the Lakers are looking into potentially signing the talented, but troubled Dion Waiters. They need a third wheel threat that can come into the game and provide a scoring punch; a player that can create their own shot off the dribble and allow AD and LeBron to rest an extra 7-9 minutes.

That’s because there have been problems when the two players have not quite been at their best. Wear and tear over the course of the campaign can even take its toll on the truly elite. It may have been the case during the last two months where Davis and LeBron have not been able to dominate. The lack of depth on the Lakers’ roster has then been exposed. Kyle Kuzma should be playing a lot better than he is at the moment given the space available on the court, but he has been underwhelming as have Avery Bradley, Danny Green, and Rajon Rondo.

If Los Angeles are going to win the NBA Championship the supporting cast to the two greats will have to raise the levels of their game. LeBron and Davis can carry them towards the number one seed, but against top teams in the latter stages of the post-season – such as the Milwaukee Bucks or even the Clippers, the Lakers’ will need consistent points from elsewhere on the court. It could be their downfall in the crux of the campaign, especially after their two stars have had to do the heavy lifting throughout the season.

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