The second half of the NBA season tipped-off on Wednesday, while the Los Angeles Lakers will be opening their second half of the schedule tonight against the Indiana Pacers.
It’s hard to be critical of a 24-13 start to the season, but it’s also not that hard considering the Lakers’ insane start to their 2019-20 season combined with the fact that they are third in the Western Conference standings after winning the 2020 NBA Finals. The Lakers reloaded with some very tantalizing free agents and acquisitions including Dennis Schröder, Montrezl Harrell, and Marc Gasol, as the team seemed to improve for a prime repeat run. Then, well, Anthony Davis went out. Then Schröder missed time due to health and safety protocols. That, combined with some general laziness from the Lakers (which could actually be exhaustion from the shortened offseason), leaves Lakers fans fair in their “meh” feeling about the first half.
Enough about pointing out what has gone wrong, and what may continue to go wrong for the team. Screw that! Let’s get positive (in feeling and definitely not in COVID-19 diagnosis)!
Here are eight positive affirmations for the second half that I will be trying to manifest for the Lakers to get them number 18 at the end of the season. I hope you will join me.
Anthony Davis will return and will be healthy for the rest of the season/playoffs
AND we won’t utter that capital “A” word again. Yeah, that one!
The Lakers’ three-point shooting will also return
Rob Pelinka and the front office didn’t really do much in the offseason to improve 3-point shooting, an area where the Lakers struggled last season (ranked 21st in terms of 3-point percentage). That didn’t seem to be an issue in the first full month of the season as the Lakers were ranked 10th in the NBA in 3P%, making 37.3% of their attempts in January. But now? A league’s worst February (29.6%) has left the Lakers ranked 24th in the NBA in 3P% (it should be noted that they are currently shooting the same percentage as the 2019-20 season). I’m feeling some improved shooting in the second half from Marc Gasol, Anthony Davis, as well as others including…
We’re getting Playoff (KC)P in the second half
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope had a huge 3-point shooting drop-off that was one of the main reasons for the team’s 3P% as a whole dropping. KCP went from 37.8% in the 2020 Playoffs to an insane 48.6% in December and January of the 2020-21 season on 3.8 attempts per game. Sadly, he followed that up with a 32.1% clip in the month of February.
Playoff KCP came out the gates, and he will come out of the gates of the second half yet again.
MORE BALD EAGLE DUNKS!!!
Does it feel like you haven’t watched Alex Caruso dunk much this season? If you do feel that way (or if you haven’t thought of it because you’re normal unlike me), then the feeling is validated as Caruso doesn’t have as many dunks through half of the season as he did last year. He has only had three (3!!!) dunks so far in this regular season while he had 12 dunks in the 2019-20 regular season (as well as five more dunks in the 2020 Playoffs). Caruso is on pace for a 50% decrease in dunks, and I just don’t vibe with that (even though Caruso dunks don’t really translate to wins).
We’re going to get some more Caruso dunks in the second half, in fact, he WILL get nine dunks in the second half to meet his last season’s total of 12.
Continued struggles for the Celtics
The Celtics went into the break on a four-game winning streak but were 15-17 prior to that as many things were going wrong for them. You’re probably thinking, “Donny, this has nothing to do with the Lakers’ championship hopes.” To that I say, why are you reading this if you don’t want all things bad for the Celtics?
The Lakers will sign BLANK after he’s bought out
Last year, the Lakers signed Markieff Morris around the trade deadline after he was bought out. It was the only thing they did around the deadline as they were rumored in certain trades that never hit the finish line. Morris ended up arguably as one of the best buyouts ever, being a huge rotation player in the playoffs and being a key reason the Lakers were able to play small and dominate.
This year will be even better, as they will sign BLANK who will definitely help LeBron and Davis lift the team to the promised land.
Lakers will lock up Dennis Schröder to an extension
It’s already been rumored, so I’m going to put pen to paper myself by speaking it into existence. Pelinka will give Schröder an extension soon, putting the 2021 free agent to come in the purple and gold for some more seasons.
It would be a wise move for a player who’s in the midst of his prime (27 years old) who has been what he promised to be on offense with an added defensive impact as well that I’m not sure anyone saw coming.
LeBron James is going to be LeBron James
What I know about LeBron James is that when he does the thing where he plays like the best player in the world, the Lakers are hard to beat. He’s probably neck and neck with Joel Embiid in the MVP race right now and I expect that to continue.
Why? It’s the man’s 17th season. He’s been on “continue” mode forever. It would be foolish to bet against him at this point.
Once all these things happen and the Lakers win the 2021 NBA Finals, go ahead and thank me.
All stats via NBA.com