The Los Angeles Lakers were finally able to get healthy before the 2020-21 season wrapped up, with LeBron James and Anthony Davis, in particular, looking like themselves.
Injuries were the bane of the Lakers’ existence as they almost never had their full lineup available, though that changed with the last couple games of the season. In wins against the Indiana Pacers and New Orleans Pelicans, Los Angeles was dominant for stretches and looked more like the championship team fans have been accustomed to watching.
Anthony Davis noted that the team viewed the end of the season as a way to get back in the swing of things. “That’s what it was about just finding rhythm,” Davis said. “These last two games was getting everyone healthy, getting everyone on the floor. Dudz got his appearance. We were missing him out of the Big 3. He got healthy, got some time.
“It was about all of us getting healthy and finding our rhythm again as a team. Get a chance to see what it looks like on the floor. We haven’t seen that since the beginning of the season, so it was great for us to go out there and get that rhythm. Good for Bron to start to find himself these past couple games heading into the playoffs. We feel good, we feel confident about our team.”
While the Lakers finished with a respectable record, Davis would not call the season a success. “We’re not happy where we are. We know we could be better. Injuries took a toll on us this season. Me and Bron missing a lot of games this year with our injuries. When we’re healthy, we saw what we can be. When we’re not healthy, this is the position we’re in.
“We won’t call this successful until we raise a banner, but we’re in a position to do something special no matter what seed we’re in. It’s only unsuccessful if we don’t win it all. That’s how I view every year that I’ve been in the league. You can be first in the league or first in the West whatever … if you don’t win it all, you didn’t accomplish your main goal. That’s what I look at as a successful season.”
Los Angeles has always had a “championship-or-bust” mentality and Davis is simply reiterating that the team expects to win it all despite their seeding. Even though they have a daunting Play-In Game against the Golden State Warriors on Wednesday, Davis and the rest of the Lakers should be prepared to mount their title defense.
Lakers still favorites to come out of Western Conference
Despite presumably entering the playoffs as the seventh seed, the Purple and Gold are widely considered to be the favorites to come out of the Western Conference. The team got healthy at the right time and if they are able to play up to their level then there is no team that can hang with them in a seven-game series.
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