Lakers News: Stephen A. Smith Remains All Aboard LA Hype Train

The ubiquitous ESPN analyst is all-in on the new-look Lake Show.

Your 29-32 Los Angeles Lakers may not have the record to feel like world-beaters, but Stephen A. Smith of ESPN at least believes that they’re capable of getting to that level in the playoffs.

The team has been vastly improved since team vice president of basketball operations Rob Pelinka began adeptly balancing its roster, starting with the trade that shipped out Kendrick Nunn for catch-and-shoot combo forward option Rui Hachimura in January, and culminating in the acquisition of D’Angelo Russell, Malik Beasley, Jarred Vanderbilt and Mo Bamba in the final 24 hours leading up to this year’s February 9th trade deadline.

LA is coming off a three-game winning streak with its new pieces aboard, and most recently came back from a 27-point deficit to the Dallas Mavericks to nab a crucial win on Sunday.

Smith spoke on ESPN’s “Get Up” program today about LA’s postseason chances.

“I think they look very, very dangerous,” Smith said of LA. “When you saw them elevate their level of intensity, they really attacked the Dallas Mavericks, neutralized them offensively. And obviously Dallas is challenged defensively, particularly on their front line… Don’t tell me that a healthy Lakers squad… can’t go 15-6 over the next 21 games, which is what people surmise would be enable them to attack, to get the sixth seed.”

“You’ve got Utah in there, they’re going to fade in my opinion, because obviously they’re building for the future. You’ve obviously got the Dallas Mavericks in there, they’re questionable, they’re trying to figure things out, offensively and defensively they’re incredibly challenged. You’ve got the Pelicans and the Minnesota Timberwolves. You see what’s been happening to them. Don’t tell me that the Lakers can’t move up and potentially grab a sixth seed.”

LA is also just 3.5 games behind the fourth-seeded Phoenix Suns! Whenever Kevin Durant does return to the floor for the Suns, however, you’d expect Phoenix to go on a bit of a run and separate itself from the pack. 

That said, Russell Westbrook’s fifth-seeded Los Angeles Clippers (losers of two straight) are just three games ahead of the Lakers in the West standings. The world is their oyster, provided LeBron James and Anthony Davis stay healthy.

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