The Los Angeles Lakers have been a step ahead of the Western Conference for much of the season and in particular before NBA was shut down. When play resumes at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, they will a 5.5-game lead over the L.A. Clippers for the No. 1 seed in the West.
The team isn’t perfect, as players like Kyle Kuzma have struggled to find their place within the offense. However, LeBron James and Anthony Davis more than make up for that.
James and Davis have been the league’s best duo this season, and not by a small margin. The two have a net rating of 10.3 when they share the court, more than almost every other top tier duo in the league. This — as well as a host of solid and consistent role players — created a winning environment that has put the Lakers at 49-14.
Kuzma, who still needs to figure out exactly what his role is, isn’t so worried about the Lakers championship odds. He believes that the team’s leadership is the thing that will bring them a title, according to ESPN’s Dave McMenamin:
Marc asked Kyle why the Lakers will be the champs. Kuzma: "Our leadership." https://t.co/19e3NDsHDv
— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) June 9, 2020
Leadership means several different aspects of this Lakers teams. Mainly it refers to James and Davis, who have been incredible leaders for this team off the court. Not only do they help the team win games, they helped the team stay connected during this hiatus.
This could also mean from the coaching staff, led by head coach Frank Vogel. He has been better than anyone expected for the Lakers this season, as he brought in a style that emphasized defense on the court and allowed for players to be decision makers off of it.
Because of this, the Lakers are top five in both offensive and defensive rating. The Clippers are the only other team to hold such a distinction this year.
The leadership Kuzma talked about could also come all the way from the top, with owner Jeanie Buss and vice president of basketball operations Rob Pelinka. The pairing of Pelinka and Buss had fans skeptical at first, but they have proven to be solid leaders for this franchise, and have done a great job leading in what has been an immensely difficult year.
The Lakers are overflowing with great leadership in all phases. And Kuzma believes that this will be what separates them from the competition when the postseason eventually comes around in August.
Have you subscribed to our YouTube channel? It’s the best way to watch player interviews, exclusive coverage from events, participate in live shows, and more!