This season marks the inclusion of the inaugural NBA In-Season Tournament. There were a lot of questions surrounding the purpose of the tournament and how effective it would be but so far it has been exciting to watch.
All of the players believe there is something to be fighting for whether it be the bragging rights of saying they won the tournament or the $500,000 that every player on the roster earns for winning the cup.
Even though every team is a participant, the NBA In-Season tournament provides a playoff teaser. It gives an opportunity for the teams who expect to be in championship contention to see what new role players they can rely on when the postseason comes. This is something that the Lakers have taken full advantage of.
The Lakers have been the best team in the In-Season tournament
The Los Angeles Lakers have gone a perfect 4-0 in the NBA In-Season tournament. Not only are they the first team to go 4-0 in the tournament, they have been by far the best team throughout. One of the new tie-breaker rules is point differential and the Lakers have a league-best plus-74. The only teams in the Western Conference who can take the one seed away are the Kings and Timberwolves, who have a game against each other.
In order for the Kings to catch the Lakers, they would have to win their next two games by a total of 59 points or win by an average of 29.5 points per game. The Timberwolves would have to win by a total of 65 points or win by an average of 32.5 per game. Since they each have a game against each other, one of them has to lose, making it almost impossible to catch the Lakers.
The fact that no other team in the Western Conference has come close to dominating the tournament the way the Lakers have is a very promising sign. The Lakers came into the season with championship expectations and after a 3-5 start it looked very shaky. But they went 6-1 in their last seven games and looked like a championship team.
The most important thing that has come for the Lakers in the tournament is that the role players have played extremely well. Your star players win you championships but how your role players play is just as important. The NBA In-Season tournament has provided the best test to see who LeBron James and Anthony Davis can rely on when it comes to the postseason.
If they are able to win the whole thing, the Lakers can use that as a confidence booster in the playoffs knowing that they have competed with the best teams at the highest level. So overall, the dominance of the Lakers is a very positive sign.