Since their recent acquisition of Pau Gasol the LA Lakers are 16-3. Prior to the trade, the Lakers were an above average 29-16, but with the recent surge they are now 45-19 and have taken control of the Western Conference lead.
In his first 18 games as a Los Angeles Laker, Pau Gasol has averaged 19.9 points per game, an amazing 58% from the field, and most importantly brought an important presence to the middle for the Lakers that had been missed since Andrew Bynum was playing in January. But not everything in the team's turnaround has to do with Gasol. Kobe Bryant has scored more than 30 points in ten of the Laker's past twenty games and Lamar Odom has had a double-double in most of the team's games since February 1st. It just kind of goes to show you that not everything is about stats, as Kobe Bryant has had better numbers in past years. Kobe has always scored plenty of points, but numerous times in the past month he has put this team on his shoulders and scored when it's been needed, making him a major competitor for this year's MVP award. The Lakers are coming up on a very tough part of their schedule with six of the next seven against other playoff-type teams in the powerful Western Conference, five of which are on the road. The team needs to stay focused throughout this stretch and not get dismantled if they lose a few in a row. To the doubters out there, realize that the Los Angeles Lakers aren't even at full strength yet and soon center Andrew Bynum and forward Trevor Ariza will be back on the court.
Outlook & Predictions: The LA Lakers have gotten good. I say they end the season 57-25 as the Western Conference's #2 Seed and I definitely can see this team getting to the Western Conference Finals.