The Lakers had LeBron James and Anthony Davis on the court, and they still lost to a Trail Blazers team who’d just traded CJ McCollum and didn’t have Damian Lillard in the lineup.
Some teams are going to get it together, while others should just sit this one out
By Mo Hussain, Contributor
The NBA season has essentially reached its midway point with the trade deadline and all-star weekend past us. This time of the year is when fans usually get an idea of who’s in the running for MVP, NBA Finals favourites, and which teams have a shot at making the playoffs. Here are some predictions fans can keep in the back of their minds for the rest of the season.
The Lakers might bounce back
This one is quite a hot take given how the Lakers have performed this year. As of February 11, the team’s lost seven of their last 10 games and are currently ninth in the Western Conference. They’ve been losing some games they shouldn’t be losing like the February 9 matchup against the Portland Trail Blazers. The Lakers had LeBron James and Anthony Davis on the court, and they still lost to a Trail Blazers team who’d just traded CJ McCollum and didn’t have Damian Lillard in the lineup.
With all that being said, the team is still led by LeBron James and has Anthony Davis, arguably two of the five best players in the world. James’s also been in this situation before with an arguably worse 2018 team, and he took that squad to the finals. He’s averaging the most points since the 2007-08 season and is the type of guy to help rally his squad when they need him most. It’s not necessarily going to win them a championship, but James isn’t going to allow the Lakers to have to be in the play-in tournament either.
The Nets will bounce back
People should also look forward to the Brooklyn Nets climbing back up the rankings after the recent move they made. The team was the talk of the trade deadline after trading away James Harden and Paul Millsap in exchange for Ben Simmons, Seth Curry, Andre Drummond, and two first-round picks.
Not only does the team get a lot of value from the recent trade with an elite point guard, a shooter, and some size in the frontcourt, but they also have Kevin Durant coming back from injury in a couple of weeks. As of February 11, the team’s lost their last 10 games which placed them in the eighth seed. But with the assets from the trade, and Kevin Durant’s health getting better, they should have no trouble climbing back up the Eastern Conference standings.
Kawhi Leonard isn’t coming back
Los Angeles Clipper fans hoping for a miraculous return from Kawhi Leonard shouldn’t get their hopes up. Leonard’s been sidelined with an ACL injury since June last year and isn’t showing any signs of coming back this season. Clippers Head Coach Tyronn Lou even said in a February 3 press conference that Kawhi’s “probably not gonna come back.” And why would he? The Golden State Warriors and Phoenix Suns are dominating the Western Conference right now, and the Clippers are in the eighth seed as of February 11.
Combine this with the fact that Paul George is dealing with his injury issues, and there isn’t really a reason for Kawhi to rush coming back. Even if the Clippers make the playoffs, the odds of them making a meaningful run to the championship is low. He could sit out this year and fully recover alongside George and make a healthy comeback next year.