With 82 games to play during the regular season, NBA teams know that they are going to go through peaks and valleys. Right now, the Los Angeles Lakers and Oklahoma City Thunder are both going through a little slump. On Tuesday, the two teams will be playing one another, as reported by ESPN.
The big news in the NBA over the summer was the fact that Kevin Durant decided to leave the Oklahoma City Thunder to join the stacked Golden State Warriors roster in free agency. A team that was already considered one of the most dominant of all time was able to add a former MVP who was still in the prime of his career.
When Kevin Durant revealed to everyone that he was leaving the only NBA franchise that he had ever played for, Russell Westbrook knew that he would need to take things to another level if he wants his team to have even a chance at being competitive this year. Many were looking forward to seeing what he was going to do since he was already one of the best players in the National Basketball Association. Thus far, Westbrook has proven that he can dominate games on his own.
The Los Angeles Lakers currently do not have a player that is going to challenge for the NBA MVP award this season. However, they do have a roster that is stacked with guys who are filled with potential after being awarded so many high draft picks while they were going through some losing seasons during the twilight years of Kobe Bryant’s career.
D’Angelo Russell might become one of the best guards in the NBA because he can score in a variety of ways. Jordan Clarkson can explode off of the bench offensively on any given night. Brandon Ingram might some day be an MVP candidate because he has all the talents in the world. Julius Randle has the skills to be one of the best all around players in basketball.
The Los Angeles Lakers are going to need good effort from D’Angelo Russell, Jordan Clarkson, Brandon Ingram and Julius Randle if they want to have a chance at beating the Oklahoma City Thunder, especially if Russell Westbrook decides to have one of those games that make people wonder if he is a future hall of fame inductee. Westbrook is always a threat to produce an amazing triple double.
Defensively, Luke Walton is going to need to figure something out. In D’Angelo Russell, Jordan Clarkson, Louis Williams and Nick Young, he has four players that could easily go off and score a ton of points. However, none of them put in the same amount of effort on the defensive side of the ball as they do on the offensive side. The team could definitely use a defensive stopper on the roster.
Without lengthy defenders like Kevin Durant and Serge Ibaka around, the Oklahoma City Thunder are going to need to figure out how they are going to contain Julius Randle. The six-foot-nine forward has been learning how to utilize his skills in a variety of ways. Not only can Randle score inside, he can also initiate the offense from the perimeter.
On the flip side, the Los Angeles Lakers are going to need Timofey Mozgov to play up to the level of his contract because Steven Adams provides the Oklahoma City Thunder with plenty of energy at the center position. Adams will be very active when it comes to rebounding, so Mozgov will need to be ready to battle.
[Featured Image by J Pat Carter/Getty Images]