The Los Angeles Lakers made a truly valiant postseason run, climbing from 13th in the Western Conference at the All-Star break to making it to the Western Conference Finals. With LeBron James and Anthony Davis leading the way, the Lakers fought and clawed to the brink of the NBA Finals but would come up short against the Denver Nuggets.
A sweep at the hands of Denver was not how anyone wanted the season to end, but considering how the season began, it was a truly admirable effort and one that stood out to Lakers legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
Abdul-Jabbar spoke with Dan Woike of the L.A. Times about how most of the Lakers players looked completely exhausted by the end of the postseason although he credited them for the effort they gave:
“At the end of the year, after all that, LeBron and most of the guys looked like they’d been through two seasons, you know? But they still gave it an awesome effort,” Abdul-Jabbar said Monday.
No one could argue that the Lakers ever gave up as even in a sweep they fought to the bitter end, never being blown out by the Nuggets and finding themselves with a chance in all of those games. It was a vast departure from the team who began the season at 2-10.
Because of that awful start, the Lakers had to battle to get into the playoffs, basically having to treat the final stretch of the year as a playoff run in itself. Kareem believes that ultimately gassed them out in the end, but again added that the team should be proud of what they accomplished this season:
“I felt that if they hadn’t started out so bad that they could’ve done a lot better. They seemed like at the end of the season, they were kinda gassed, you know?” Abdul-Jabbar said. “But they really did a great job of finding a new identity and going out and doing very well. They just missed making it to the Finals. They should be proud of that. I think it’s a really neat achievement.”
Obviously the ultimate goal is always to win a championship and the Lakers came up short this season. But that doesn’t mean the year was a failure and the heart this team showed to get where they did should be applauded. Abdul-Jabbar recognized that and gave credit where it was due for a Lakers run no one thought was possible a few months ago.
Adding 3-point shooting a top priority for Lakers this offseason
Now the most important thing for the Lakers is to build off of this run and come back better next season so they can achieve that championship goal. The front office must make the right moves to improve the roster and to the surprise of no one, the franchise is reportedly prioritizing 3-point shooting.
The Lakers were one of the worst 3-point shooting teams all year long, but that spacing is necessary to open up the paint for LeBron James and Anthony Davis. Adding the right pieces could be the difference in the Lakers making an NBA Finals run next season.
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