Lakers Are Legit and It’s Time We Give Them Credit

As a basketball fan, you can often appreciate seeing a team you don't necessarily root for playing good again after two or three years of being one of the poorer teams in the league. At the start of the season, the Los Angeles Lakers were on root to being one of those poor teams, as it was mainly LeBron James carrying the load and a guy like Russell Westbrook who was dragging down the team because he simply didn't fit with that group of guys.

However, when the trade deadline hit and the Lakers acquired players like D'Angelo Russell, Malik Beasley, and Jarred Vanderbilt, the franchise turned a corner and now has a real shot to make some noise in the playoffs.

How much better did the Lakers get? Some will say not much better, but they did significantly and if you watch their games, it's blatantly obvious. Even with a loss to a good New York Knicks team Sunday night, the Lakers are still very much in the playoff picture and their schedule plays heavy into their chances of locking down the 7th or 6th seed. When LeBron went down with his injury, it was easy to think they wouldn't stand a chance and they wouldn't have before the trade deadline.

But now with Westbrook gone, the team is being anchored by veteran talent like Russell, Beasley, and Rui Hachimura, who are stretching the floor and defending at an elite level. Shooting was one of the biggest issues for this Lakers team and now that they addressed it, everything seems to be falling into place, boasting one of the best defenses in the NBA since the All-Star Break.

It's remarkable what a couple months can do for a team and the thought of LeBron James coming back after his injury should be enough to scare the Western Conference. It's easy to argue that this team with LeBron still playing at the level he is and Anthony Davis playing one of his best seasons of his career, is better than the team that won a championship in the bubble. The point is the Lakers haven't been this good in awhile and it didn't take someone like me long who isn't a fan of them to notice the good things that are happening.

It feels right for the Lakers to be winning games. They are one of the greatest franchises in the history of sports and an NBA Finals back in L.A. would be quite the fairy tale headline. The final stretch for them will be one to watch and if they do make the playoffs or play-in for that matter, it's not crazy to think they could roll through to the Western Conference Finals. All in all, the Lakers are fun to watch again and I'm here for some purple and gold.

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