The Lakers CHANGED The NBA Again (Ft. LeBron and Anthony Davis)
The Lakers are the 2020 NBA champions, and LeBron and Anthony Davis are changing the NBA. #LeBron #Lakers #Champions
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The Lakers won. The Lakers are your 2020 champions, LeBron got his 4th ring and solidified his place as a top 3 player of all time. AD got his first. But this isn’t about individual accomplishments, well at least not the focus. The Lakers are not the typical makeup of the modern day championship team apart.
It had been 5 years. 5 years of us seeing one type of offense and defense dominating the NBA. We had the rise of Stephen Curry, that unanimous MVP season where we literally saw him do things that we just hadn’t seen before on a day to day basis. And when they ran through the league and won a championship, made the finals, the rest of the league followed and got frustrated. We saw an increase in 3s, off dribble threes, deep threes.
And here are the 2020 Lakers. A weird collection of players and lineups when looking at the recent NBA. They took a chance on Dwight and we had Anthony Davis and Dwight Howard in the starting lineup, two big men, one of which can't space the floor at all. Not only that, but the Lakers didn’t need to take the most threes. They did most of their damage from right inside the paint. But this isn’t typical of a LeBron team.
The Warriors would run teams off the floor if they tried to use a big man. The Death Lineup outscored opponents by 47 points per 100 possessions. It was dominant and we just hadn’t seen it before, especially after seeing forwards and bigs being the MVPs of the league. This was the first point guard driven team that was successful since the Isaih Thomas Pistons in the 90s. So we had teams in the last few years try to build a championship team with the point guard as the focus, like the Celtics with Kyrie. We’ve seen teams try to emulate Warriors basketball with different pieces, we all know the main example, the Rockets. The epitome of small ball. No guy over 6’7”, shooters all around and Westbrook cause uhm (show Westbrook miss) and look what happened to them this playoffs. The Lakers killed them on the inside, but were able to hang with them defensively and their offense. Did the Lakers go a bit smaller? Yeah, they went with one big man instead of 2. But that still kept a massive size advantage and that’s what gave them the edge. No one was able to guard Anthony Davis. The Lakers averaged 13 more rebounds, shot 51% from the field and kept the rockets to 44% from the field. Bully ball prevailed over spread 3 point shooting. The Rockets took advantage of AD on the perimeter, but AD is also one of those demigods we talk about in the NBA.
The Demigod experiment has been a notion in the NBA for years. Throughout the years, we went from 2 shooters on the court to finding big men that can shoot to then finding big men that can shoot and switch onto the perimeter to guard guards to then finding big men who can create their own shot. But we took a detour for Curry’s revolution, where it was all about 3 point shooting, ball movement, shooting off the dribble. And this was put in the background. And now Anthony Davis is bringing that back again. The idea of a do-it-all player capable of guarding 1-5, being a threat from everywhere on the court, too fast for a normal big man, too big for a forward. AD did it on the biggest stage.
The Lakers have traditional positions. Rondo is the traditional point guard that runs an offense, not necessarily a shot creator. Dwight Howard and Javale Mcgee are traditional big men. The grab boards, protect the rim, can’t shoot. Anthony Davis is the power forward center combo. The Lakers have positions that are actually followed and not just a loose guideline. This reminds me of a 2010 Lakers team with Kobe who was the 2 guard with a dedicated point guard in Derek Fisher, a true small forward in Ron Artest, Pau Gasol who played the 4 and had a mid range post game and Bynum who was the typical 5 that could bang. The Lakers are bringing back positions and big men.
So yeah the Lakers are literally changing the NBA again. The NBA is cyclical and so we see different types of players dominante. It went from Bigs in the 60s to the guard in the 90s to big men and guards in the 2000s to forwards and guards in the 2010s to now size. Next year is going to be interesting, the Warriors come back, the Clippers run it back, we have the continued improvement of Anthony Davis, Giannis, and Luka. And we’ll have LeBron running it back, chasing greatness.