After some great Christmas Day basketball, we are starting to learn things about some teams. The Lakers started the year on fire, but everyone knows the league waits till after the Super Bowl to schedule their tougher games, so what do we make of their hot start? The Bucks have been running through teams, but aren’t they built to demolish sub-par regular season teams?
Check out which team’s stock has been rising/falling:
Philadelphia 76ers: The 76ers are currently 23-10 but it feels like they have been worse than that. They’ve lost a few games they had no business losing, and they have let some terrible teams hang around. However, solely based on their win over the Bucks on Christmas Day, their stock is rising.
A lot of the win had to do with hot shooting, but what they showed in this game is that despite underwhelming play thus far, their peak is still just as high as we originally thought coming into the season. The Bucks had been the best regular season team and the 76ers shut them down. Joel Embiid was a monster defending Giannis. The average-to-slightly above average shooters were knocking down shots. Ben Simmons was distributing and playing great defense. The Sixers proved the potential on this team is through the roof, and that’s all we needed to see from them.
Los Angeles Lakers: After starting the year 24-3, the Lakers have lost four in a row to the Pacers, Bucks, Nuggets, and Clippers. Yes, the Lakers had injury issues in these games, LeBron James and Anthony Davis each missed one individual game, and both appeared to not be 100% against the Clippers, but that is not an excuse for going 0-4. The Lakers only have two to three quality wins on the season, and they had a chance to pick up a few more during this stretch, yet they failed.
The Lakers’ lack of another reliable perimeter player was exposed during this stretch. Teams with length on defense like the Bucks and Clippers have the ability to contain LeBron on the perimeter and to help on AD when he’s posting up, which is very effective at limiting what the two can do. The Lakers desperately need another ball-handler who can attack closeouts when LeBron and AD are seeing extra attention, and they also need another reliable shooter who can knock down open threes off the same looks; ideally, this player would be able to do both.