LA Lakers Report Card: With Anthony Davis addition, title a possibility

Sitting at 34-9 and first place in the Western Conference, the LA Lakers are looking good at the midway point of the season.

Before the season, the LA Lakers were expected to be an elite team and be in title contention throughout. Now that we’re at the midseason point, I think it’s fair to say that the Lakers exceeded expectations, and then some.

Currently, the Lakers sit at the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference with a 34-9 record. Many are surprised with the way the Lakers have achieved expectations due to their chemistry being already so good so early.

During the off-season, they needed to find a co-star for LeBron James. They obviously addressed that by giving up multiple young players and picks to acquire star big man Anthony Davis.

Davis has had an impressive year to say the least, as he’s been averaging 26.6 points, 9.2 rebounds, 1.5 steals, and 2.4 blocks. At this point of the season, Davis has probably emerged himself as the front-runner for the Defensive Player of the Year award, and is also in the Most Valuable Player award conversation.

With Davis, the Lakers needed to address shooting. By picking up shooters like Danny Green, Avery Bradley, Quinn Cook, Troy Daniels, and Jared Dudley, they did just that.

The Lakers started off slowly from behind the arc to begin the season, however, with their recent dominance from downtown, they’ve jumped up all the way to No. 11 in team three-point percentage.

The biggest and most underrated acquisition for this Lakers squad has been Dwight Howard. Howard has definitely redeemed himself from that disappointing 2012-13 season he had with the Lakers.

Off the bench, Howard has been averaging 7.7 points, 7.6 rebounds, and 1.4 blocks per game. Stats ain’t everything though. Howard’s impact on the game is so much greater than numbers. Energy, hustle, grit, defense, and teamwork. With him, the Lakers have become even greater than we had originally anticipated. Welcome back Dwight.

As for our returning players, James has continued to establish himself as one of the best, if not the best, player in the world. With him leading the way by averaging 25.2 points, 7.6 rebounds, and 11 assists per game, we start wondering when he’ll start slowing down.

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope had a horrific start to the season in all honesty. It had seemed that he couldn’t even buy a bucket, even if he wanted to. But he has great teammates around him who encourage him to keep shooting as his confidence level remains high, and because of that, he’s bounced back nicely.

The only “issue” the Lakers have right now is the entire Kyle Kuzma situation. Some games he plays extremely well, and some games he plays poorly. It’s a matter of inconsistency with Kuzma, and once he’s able to get his flow again, this team will be at full strength.

34-9 record, top five in offensive rating and defensive rating, best record in the Western Conference, best road record in the entire league. Honestly, this sounds like a championship team to me.

The grade I’d probably give the Lakers is an “A-“. There are still issues they need address. I think they need to add a scoring point guard like Darren Collison, to help bolster the point guard position. They definitely need to implement Kuzma into the system more.

I also believe that they just need more grit. Against the Clippers, they can’t play passive or soft. They need to match their intensity if they want to beat them in a seven game series.

At this point of the season, the biggest concern for this team is health. Like other teams, health will be the most important factor come playoff time. If this Laker squad remains healthy, I don’t know who can knock them off in the playoffs. The only team that can beat the Lakers in the playoffs are themselves. No joke.

Midseason Grade: A-