The Los Angeles Lakers have reason to be confident in their championship potential.
At 40-12 heading into Wednesday’s matchup against the Denver Nuggets, the Lakers have remained comfortably on top of the Western Conference behind the combination of superstars Anthony Davis and LeBron James.
According to the latest odds to win the NBA title provided by Odds Shark, the Lakers are the favorite at +225, ahead of the Bucks (+275) and Clippers (+325).
Unlike some of their fellow contenders, the Lakers stood pat at the trade deadline. That’s something that does not worry for Davis, who believes the team has championship potential as-is.
“We knew that when we put this team together,” Davis said, per Christian Rivas of Silver Screen and Roll. “We felt like we were a championship contender as soon as we put the team together. We still have that confidence in our players. We just have to get back to doing the things we do.”
One of those things that Davis thinks the Lakers do best? Defense.
“Most of the games that we’ve lost or had a hard time winning is because we haven’t played defense, and we’re more than capable of being better defensively. We showed that the first half of the year, so we have to get back to doing that,” Davis said.
LeBron James: Lakers ‘in a Really Good Position’
LeBron James echoed Davis’ sentiments on the Lakers current roster when it comes to the team’s championship promise.
“We’re in the business of winning, and we’re winning more than we’re losing, so I love where we are right now,” James said. “We want to continue to get better, we have an opportunity to get better on Wednesday and take every moment like it’s its own challenge. But to see where we are right now, we’re in a really good position.”
James has looked explosive as ever in Year 17. He’s averaging 24.8 points, 7.7 rebounds and 10.7 assists — a league-best. Davis has added 26.5 points, 9.2 rebounds and 2.38 blocks per game.
Dwight Howard Wants Lakers to ‘Turn Up’
If the Lakers can pick up a win on Wednesday against the Nuggets, they’d head into the All-Star break on a three-game win streak. It be a nice tone-setter to kick off the second half of the season and much to the delight of Lakers center Dwight Howard, who didn’t pull any punches when asked about what the team’s focus going forward.
“It’s really time to turn up,”Howard told reporters. “Second half of the season the season we’ve got to come out and destroy. Destroy has to be our mindset each and every single game, every single practice, shootaround, whatever it may be, we’ve got to be ready to destroy.
“If we have that mindset coming in after All-Star break and we got into the playoffs with that mindset, I don’t see anybody beating us in a seven-game series.”
While the Lakers were stagnant at the trade deadline, there is still a possibility that they add a veteran for a title run. Dion Waiters, Tyler Johnson and J.R. Smith have all been mentioned as possibilities.