The Los Angeles Lakers played four games last week and unfortunately they lost all of them. They looked like two totally different teams in those games. In the first two games against the Denver Nuggets and Houston Rockets the Lakers played like a team ready for the season to be over, but against the Milwaukee Bucks and Cleveland Cavaliers they looked like a team competing for a playoff spot.
As the season nears to a close the Lakers are focused on developing the talent of their young players and it looks like it is starting to pay off. Even though all of them are young they have shown flashes of the players they could become.
Here’s what is trending up and trending down with the Lakers this week.
Nwaba, who was playing on his second 10-day contract with the team, gave the Lakers a great amount of energy off the bench. Even though he does not provide a lot of offense his energy ignited his teammates on the floor. He even had a couple of highlight reel dunks during the week.
Against the Cavs he finished with seven points and five rebounds. He really made an impact on the defensive end because he constantly disrupted passing lanes and made his opposition work for his shot. With his second 10-day contract now expired, Nwaba has to wait and see if the Lakers will keep him for the rest of the season.
Clarkson has been playing much better as of late. He finished with 18 or more points in each one of the Lakers games this past week and has finally shown the improvements Lakers fans had hoped for when the season began.
He still needs to improve on taking care of the ball as he averages about 2.4 turnovers per game. If he can continue his improved play the Lakers might have to make a permanent spot for him in the starting lineup.
The Lakers abysmal play on the defensive end continued this week. They allowed a 125 or more points in three of the four games. If they want to become an elite team in the future they need to find a way to play better defense.
There is no hope if there are no improvements made on that side of the court. I understand that they are a young team but there is no excuse not to give maximum effort on defense night in and night out. Hopefully they focus on playing better defense for the remainder of the season.
Black has gone from starter in recent weeks to sitting on the bench. He played minimally last week including no minutes at all in the last two games. Luke Walton has started rookie Ivica Zubac in favor Black so that Zubac can gain more experience.
Black can still be a valuable presence off the bench if used in the correct lineup. If he is being counted on to score he probably would not live up to those expectations, but if he is asked to play defense and hustle he will make a positive impact.